Downey Unified School District wanted support for their 3rd through 8th grade teachers as they transitioned to the more demanding requirements of the Common Core State Standards.

Action Plan:

The UCLA Curtis Center collaborated with district leaders on a three-year plan. Each year teachers participated in:

  • a 60-hour summer institute aimed at improving teacher content knowledge through hands-on, interactive lessons that showcase the standards for mathematical practice.
  • In-person support to help teachers write grade-appropriate, mathematically-strong lessons
  • Classroom-based coaching to support teachers participating in a modified Japanese Lesson Study program.


Independent assessors reported that teachers showed large and statistically significant increases in content knowledge. 93% of teachers reported an increase in content knowledge and 95% felt they were provided with new instructional strategies.