SPM teachers to take classes similar to math specialists

Published 10:19 am Friday, June 19, 2015

Third- and fourth-grade mathematics teachers at S.P. Morton Elementary School are set to take advantage of some graduate-level coursework, thanks to a Virginia Department of Education grant.

Funds totaling more than $375,000 were awarded to universities including the College of William and Mary for the Southern Virginia Elementary Mathematics Coalition to Enhance Student Achievement through Teacher Professional Development. Franklin is one of five school divisions in the state to benefit from this VDOE Mathematics and Science Partnership.

“We are elated to be one of the divisions selected for the 2015-2016 MSP grant program designed to provide three years of support and services to schools and teachers,” said Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Willie J. Bell. “Teachers will take graduate math courses on computation and estimation; rational numbers and proportional reasoning; geometry and measurement; functions and algebra; probability and statistics; mathematics instruction and coaching; and assessment and leadership.”

The offerings are included in the required courses that a teacher must take to receive the K-8 Math Specialist Endorsement, if a teacher already has a master’s degree in mathematics, education or a related field.

Teachers from both the third- and fourth-grade were chosen because of where they come in during the educational cycle.

“We are starting with those grade levels to continue the foundation building from kindergarten through the second grade,” Bell said. “This grant opportunity allows Franklin City Public Schools to build the capacity of teachers to deliver rigorous and relevant math instruction to our students at both the algorithmic and conceptual levels.”

This grant is part of a total of $1.6 million being awarded through nine partnerships in Virginia to support student growth through professional development grants for science and mathematics teachers. The program began in March.

The Mathematics and Science Partnership grants will allow public and private colleges and universities to provide high quality, professional development to teachers in an effort to reduce achievement gaps in mathematics and science among student groups while raising achievement of all students.

The program is designed to provide up to three years of support and services to schools and teachers. The competitive grants were given for professional development proposals supporting the implementation of Virginia’s rigorous mathematics and science Standards of Learning.

Grant recipient partnerships were required to include a mathematics, science and/or engineering department from at least one institute of higher education and one or more high-needs schools.

“The professional development provided to teachers through the funded partnerships will not only enhance their subject matter knowledge but also expand their capacity to present it in ways that engage students and inspire critical thinking,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said.