Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2013


Great Plains Research 23.2 (Fall 2013), pp. 185-197.


Copyright © 2013 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


In this research article we share our vision of how to improve student mathematics success in rural districts. Good teaching matters. We have found two recurring features that can support teachers' success in effectively teaching students mathematics: high-quality, longitudinal professional development and professional connections. We partner with rural districts and master teachers to offer local high-quality professional development for mathematics teachers to strengthen their mathematical knowledge for teaching. We have substantial evidence that participation in longitudinal, high-quality professional development significantly increases teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching, as well as improves their confidence in teaching. Bringing teachers together for professional development helps teachers develop professional connections. Such connections are necessary for teachers to have regular conversations about mathematics teaching and learning with peers. University-district partnerships can provide infrastructure to allow teachers to develop connections with each other, to collectively support each other, and to collaborate in teaching mathematics more effectively. Investing in professional development for rural teachers and supporting professional connections among teachers will help us achieve the common goal of increasing student success in mathematics.