Natural Science & Math / Teacher education

WOU’s new Elementary Math Specialist program received TSPC approval, first in Oregon

Western Oregon University has just launched its new Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader program (EMIL), which received unanimous approval from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) in March 2014. Last spring, TSPC approved elementary mathematics specialization standards, but WOU’s new curriculum is the first Elementary Mathematics specialization program to receive TSPC approval.

The Elementary Mathematics specialization is similar to the Elementary Reading and Autism Spectrum Disorder specializations already established in elementary schools. During the 2014-15 academic year, full implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Practices for Mathematics (CCSSM) will take place in Oregon schools and will create a pressing need for elementary school teachers to have training and practice in this area. WOU’s EMIL program incorporates not only the Common Core State Standards, but the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) Standards for Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders as well.

“We have long understood the value of having teachers who specialize in the development of reading or who specialize in meeting the needs of children with disabilities.  However, in the era of the Common Core State Standards and increasing emphasis on high stakes assessments, it is critical that Oregon schools be staffed by instructional leaders with advanced study in the teaching and learning of mathematics,” said Dr. Rachel Harrington, associate professor of teacher education. “WOU is excited to be the first university in Oregon to have a TSPC approved program for preparing these leaders.”

The program was a collaborative effort between Drs. Laurie Burton and Cheryl Beaver in WOU’s Mathematics Department, and Harrington in WOU’s Division of Teacher Education. The program requires five mathematics courses and three education courses, including a field based practicum. In order for educators to receive the specialization, they must complete a TSPC approved program. The program is open to non-admit students who want to pursue the specialization on its own, or to WOU graduate students who would like to use EMIL classes to meet their Master of Science in Education elective requirements.  All teachers seeking the specialization must have three years of teaching experience prior to completion of the program.

For more information and to see which terms and academic years the courses will be offered, visit

Interview contacts
Dr. Laurie Burton, professor of mathematics
503-838-8345 or

Dr. Cheryl Beaver, associate professor of mathematics
503-838-8404 or

Dr. Rachel Harrington, associate professor of teacher education
503-838-8831 or

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