Panda Path was chosen by Dr. Juanita Copley to enter into a three year long residency during which Dr. Copley worked with teacher to develop their understanding of how students develop mathematical knowledge. Dr. Copley had two criteria that needed to be met before she agreed to work at Panda Path
All teachers needed to be willing to participate in the staff development and change their classroom practices
The director of the building had to support the initiative by providing time during the school day for teachers to meet with Dr. Copley
The initial year consisted of monthly visits from Dr. Copley. She taught a model lesson in a classroom and meet with teachers after school meet to review the lesson and the math skill being taught. The staff development time was used to introduce the National Council Teachers of Mathematics focal points as well as learning path or learning trajectories. Teachers also had time to ask questions and refine their understating of how students develop their mathematical knowledge.
The need for specific math tasks during math time was the focus of the second year of the residency. During this year Dr. Copley created a variety of math tasks that were correlated with:
National Council Teachers of Mathematics Focal Points for Prekindergarten (2006)
Developmental Learning Paths or Trajectories (Clements and Sarama, 2009)
Standards or guidelines as outlined by Texas
These tasks were presented to teachers feedback was given to Dr. Copley based on how the tasks worked in the classroom. This feedback was incorporated into improving each task.
Panda Path teachers began creating staff development units to go along with each task in order to deepen their own learning but also as a way to share this knowledge with other colleagues. With a generous grant from the Spring Branch Education Foundation in 2013-2014 videos were produced to go with each task as well as new booklets to go with each task.
Dr. Copley wrote a book titled –Nita’s PlayBook based on her work with the teachers and students at Panda Path. The books was published by Pearson.