OPS TLA | New Teacher Network

Mentoring New OPS Teachers

Brianna Pinquoch

The New Teacher Network (NTN) is a three-year mentoring and professional development program for new secondary mathematics teachers in the Omaha Public Schools who have fewer than three complete years' teaching experience. Even the most outstanding graduate of a teacher education program is, at best, a well-started beginning teacher. However, a highly motivated new teacher who is a reflective practitioner and who is supported by a well-designed mentoring and graduate education program can make rapid progress on his or her journey to becoming an outstanding master teacher. In order to support the rapid development of Nebraska's most outstanding secondary mathematics teachers, the NebraskaMATH Omaha Public Schools Teacher Leader Academy has created the New Teacher Network.

Benefits and Commitments

Teachers earn 18 credit hours at no cost for tuition and fees from the UNL Department of Mathematics. Courses will be held in Omaha or will be delivered online. As a limited resource, teachers selected for the New Teacher Network must have the support of their principal to participate in the program and must commit to remaining in the OPS district for at least two years after completing the program. In addition, participants are expected to share what they learn with their peers, annually complete three questionnaires used by RMC Research Corporation as part of their evaluation, and provide data requested by the UNL research team studying the impact of the New Teacher Network program.

Springboard to a Master's Degree

Teachers selected for the New Teacher Network have the opportunity over three years to earn up to 18 hours of graduate credit at no cost to the teacher for tuition or fees. Coursework focuses on mathematics and the teaching of mathematics, thus strengthening new teachers' abilities to teach mathematics while making rapid progress on the OPS salary structure. In addition, NTN participants are supported by a strong mentoring program. Teachers chosen for the NTN beginning in Summer 2014 have three summers (2014, 2015 and 2016) to take up to six courses (18 credit hours) with no charge for tuition and fees. All six of the courses must be taken during the summer semesters.

OPS teachers should apply for their degree before earning 18 credit hours.
Read about UNL's Master of Arts for Teachers and download a copy of the application steps here.


NTN teachers have the opportunity to take at least two courses in an academic year, and up to four courses in the summer. We offer two pairs of courses in Omaha, one pair in June and the other in July. Other courses for secondary teachers are offered online or in other cities in Nebraska, during the year. This fall, Math 810T will be offered online.

Course Number Course Title Semester
Math 804T Experimentation, Conjecture and Reasoning Spring 2015
Math 806T Number Theory and Cryptology Summer 2014
Math 810T Algebra for Algebra Teachers Fall 2014, Fall 2015
Math 811T Functions for High School Teachers Summer 2014, Fall 2014
Math 812T Geometry for Geometry Teachers Spring 2015
TEAC 880E Teaching Mathematics with Technology Summer 2014, Spring 2015
TEAC 892 Integrating Mathematics Learning & Teaching Summer 2014

Course Descriptions:

MATH 804T Experimentation, Conjecture & Reasoning focuses on problem solving, reasoning and proof and communicating mathematics. The overall goal for this course is to bring participants to the next level in the development of their mathematical habits of mind: A person who is an effective mathematical thinker has a toolbox of skills and knowledge to experiment, conjecture, reason, and ultimately solve problems.

Math 806T Number Theory and Cryptology focuses on basic number theory results which are needed to understand the number theoretic RSA cryptography algorithm (an encryption algorithm which is in use today to secure information sent via the internet). The course emphasizes connections to middle level mathematics and promotes a deep understanding of the integers and their properties. Elementary methods for encoding and decoding are introduced to elucidate the nature of cryptology. These methods are readily adaptable as enrichment activities in the classroom.

Math 810T Algebra for Algebra Teachers will help Algebra I teachers better understand the conceptual underpinnings of school algebra, and how to leverage that understanding into improved classroom practice. Emphasis is placed on developing the habits of mind of a mathematical thinker.

Math 811T Functions for High School Teachers is a study of functions in the pre-calculus, high school mathematics curriculum from an advanced viewpoint. Functions will be investigated by examining their utility in more advanced courses and applications, enabling teachers to better understand the important aspects and appropriate emphasis of a concept. Content will include polynomial, circular (trig), and exponential functions, and their connections to calculus.

Math 812T Geometry for Geometry Teachers aims to strengthen your mathematical background for teaching Geometry. We will focus on fundamental concepts of Euclidean geometry, with explorations of non-Euclidean geometry for contrast. We will make extensive use of manipulatives and the dynamic geometry software GeoGebra. This course can be paired with TEAC 892: Integrating Geometry Learning and Teaching.

TEAC 880E Teaching Mathematics with Technology focuses on developing skills for using GeoGebra and Excel in the teaching and learning of middle and high school mathematics. Special attention will be given to topics found in Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and Calculus courses. Functions, transformations, conics, data analysis and other mathematics topics will be addressed. Participants will use GeoGebra to develop interactive mathematics applets.

TEAC 892 Integrating Mathematics Learning & Teaching focuses on the learning and teaching of functions and other key ideas in the pre-calculus curriculum with the goal of explicitly applying the advanced mathematics learned to the improvement of classroom instruction. The course employs a modified Lesson Study design that repeatedly cycles through (1) the learning of a concept, (2) the development of an exemplary classroom lesson about the concept, and (3) the improvement of the lesson through reflection. Designed to be taken concurrently with Math 811T.