By Morgan Lyles
Two College of Education projects that provide professional development to teachers in school districts in Southeastern Ohio have received combined grants of more than $270,000 from the Ohio Board of Regents.
The funding comes from the federal Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program and is administered by the state board. Awards under this program support partnerships between higher education institutions and "high-needs" school districts.
Awarded $152,096, the "Better Mathematics Through Literacy" project offers a weeklong summer workshop to local elementary school teachers. Teachers who participate in the training learn about non-traditional approaches for teaching mathematics to young children. By experiencing a blend of children's literature, communication, reasoning, hands-on materials, and active problem solving, young learners come to see mathematics as naturally engaging and as a way to make sense of the world.
Including this year, the Board of Regents has funded the program for three years.
Another College of Education project, Mathematics and Science Coordination Teams (MaSCoT), has received a grant of $119,525. The program consists of a weeklong summer professional development program designed to assist middle and secondary school teachers in analyzing and improving student performance on the Ohio Graduation Test.
The program targets school districts in Appalachian Ohio that have been identified as "high-needs" by the regents. Teams of teachers from participating schools are taught to integrate effective strategies into their instruction of students with differing needs.
"The building teams are a key feature of the program, affording teachers the opportunity to collaborate and begin to tackle common problems of practice," said Danielle Dani, an assistant professor and one of the project's coordinators.
Each team consists of a mathematics teacher, a science teacher and an intervention specialist.
MaSCoT does not end with the conclusion of the weeklong summer program. Participating teams of teachers continue their practice-based conversations on mathematics and science teaching through the online portion of the program during the academic year. Among other things, teachers discuss MaSCoT-relevant readings and data, develop inquiry-based lessons and lesson plans, share and resolve implementation problems, and provide each other with professional support.
The Board of Regents has funded the program for two consecutive years.