Over $1M in grants aid teacher development
Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:01 am
The Messenger 03.11.09
The Tennessee Department of Education recently announced the award of two Math Science Partnership grants to the University of Tennessee at Martin: Project Institutes of Chemistry and Physics (ICaP) and Project Mathematical Applications, Technology and Content for High School Education Standards (MATCHES).
The MSP program awarded about $250,000 to each project per year for a combined total of more than $1 million to be spent on teacher professional development in West Tennessee over the next three years.
“UT Martin is proud of the working partnerships we have in place with school systems throughout the region and we welcome opportunities such as these to provide vehicles for collaborative efforts,” said Dr. Jerald Ogg, vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Most importantly, these programs will help an entire generation of students prepare for a world in which math and science are becoming increasingly critical.”
Project ICaP represents a partnership between the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences, the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, along with school systems in Union City, Weakley County and Jackson/Madison County. During a three-year period, a total of 60 teachers from grades 5-9 will receive instruction during summer institutes from Dr. Rosemary Effiong, associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Lionel Crews, assistant professor of physics; and Dr. Patricia Hewitt, professor of educational studies. ICaP will offer physical science content knowledge and modeling-guided inquiry instructional methods designed to address the new curriculum standards for science.
According to Effiong, ICaP project director, “…an academically well-prepared faculty is one of the essential components to success in teaching. By using the skills and knowledge that are gained in ICaP, participants will help their students to understand and explore scientific concepts as well as challenge them (students) to inquire and seek answers through scientific investigations.”
Project MATCHES targets mathematics teachers in grades 7-12 and will be led by Dr. Stephanie Kolitsch and Dr. Desiree McCullough, associate professors of mathematics. Content of the summer institutes will focus on problem solving, geometry, probability, data analysis, algebra and applications in the context of Tennessee curriculum standards.
“This is a rare opportunity for meaningful professional development that incorporates technology, training and classroom activities,” said Kolitsch, who recently completed a three-year math grant that targeted middle school teachers. “We hope to strengthen classroom teaching on the high school level by empowering teachers with new ideas for capturing the students’ attention.”
School systems in Huntingdon and Union City partnered with UT Martin on this project and teachers from their districts will receive preference in the application process; teachers from other school districts are encouraged to apply. Participating teachers must make a three-year commitment to the project and will receive computers, calculators, training, materials and, possibly, graduate credit.
UT Martin has traditionally offered teacher professional development to West Tennessee teachers.
“Once again, I am proud that the University of Tennessee at Martin is providing much needed professional development in math and sciences,” said Dr. Mary Lee Hall, dean of College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “This is so critical with the new high school standards under the American Diploma Project and the requirements for more math and science for graduation.”
For more information about either of these programs, contact Effiong at (731) 881-7449 or Kolitsch at 881-7356.