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KCI Develops New FAME Program for 4th & 5th Grade Teachers

May 15, 2018

FAME students making measurements on the floor

KCI has conducted the hands-on, technology infused FAME (Faculty Academy for Mathematics Excellence) program since 2010. In that time, 6th through 10th grade teachers from across the Bay Area, with large
numbers from east side San Jose school districts, have taken advantage of the program to increase their math content knowledge and improve their teaching practice with new technologies and methodologies. In 2016, KCI created the blended FAME course which is partially conducted in person, with the remainder conducted online. Since its inception, over 225 middle and high school math teachers have graduated from the FAME program.

Working with best practices from the existing program, KCI has developed a new program specifically for 4th & 5th grade teachers. We have heard from teachers and districts that the demand is great: students need to improve and solidify their math skills before middle school so they can take the courses necessary to prepare them for high school math and beyond. Called FAME 4-5, this program will address teacher math content knowledge. Not surprisingly, the majority of elementary teachers hold multiple-subject credentials but do not typically hold a math credential. As a result, many elementary teachers are not comfortable teaching math and lack the confidence to move beyond the textbook to make math more interesting and engaging for students.

KCI is fortunate to have FAME graduates who have moved into the KCI instructor ranks, applying their expertise in developing the new blended program. Cristina Bustamante, FAME 2010 graduate and director of the face-to-face program for the last three years, is collaborating with Lindsey Blass, former FAME instructor, to develop the program. FAME 4-5 will be rich with hands-on activities and technologies geared toward student engagement. The program will also focus on math vocabulary and literacy and will be Common Core aligned. FAME 4-5 will be conducted using a blended approach, with 30 hours face-to-face and 30 hours online during the summer. The cohort will return for four follow-up sessions in the academic year to reinforce the training and provide a network of support.

KCI is already reaching out to the school districts with large numbers of FAME graduates to partner in recruiting 4th and 5th grade teachers. So far, these districts are enthusiastic about the new program—and Alum Rock, Oak Grove, and Franklin McKinley districts are actively recruiting teachers. They see the value of the FAME program and its transformative approach to math instruction. Our goal is to run the first year as a pilot with up to 30 educators. Since many districts rely on math coaches and Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) to improve math instruction, those educators will also be accepted in to the program.

Note: Our Math PD has been updated. You may be interested in our STEAM Leadership program, designed for educators who want to grow as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) leaders in their schools, districts, and/or counties. Or, Math Best Practices, focused on classrooms for grades 3-6. If you have questions, reach out to

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