About MATHWEST from Past to Present
MATHWEST, the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Western Massachusetts, is a non-profit organization created to help further Mathematics education. What follows is a brief history of our organization and our mission.
The Five College/Public School Partnership was established in 1984. In 1984, the Partnership offered the first of three cycles of GE/PIMMS Secondary Mathematics Project. The goal of this project was “to provide teachers with an opportunity to be mathematicians and to learn about new developments in mathematics especially those related to the use of computers and graphics.” Participants were expected to provide service to their professional community. Being concerned about the lack of opportunities for professional development for Western Massachusetts’ teachers, the PIMMS Fellows chose to organize a professional organization that they called MATHWEST in the mid-1980s. In an early constitution, its purpose is stated:
- Promote interest in mathematics to encourage effective teaching…
- Promote an on-going relationship between teachers of mathematics on elementary, middle, secondary, and post-secondary levels.
- Provide information as to courses of study and other relevant activities and resources…
The first MATHWEST meeting was held on November 20, 1985 at the Northampton Hilton headed by the first president, Martin Conway. Despite adverse weather, seventy-four math teachers were in attendance! Shortly after its founding, MATHWEST affiliated with NCTM,
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, thus expanding its access to professional resources.
As MATHWEST nears its 30th anniversary, while being proud of its achievements, it is time to look again at our mission. At times and demands change, we strive to be flexible in meeting our goal, that of the original PIMMS founders, namely to enhance the professional development of math teachers in Western Massachusetts. As original PIMMS founding fellow and ex-officio board member Ruth O’Malley stated, "Teachers in Western Massachusetts need to talk to one another, to teachers outside their own school district."