Grant to Provide Professional Development Funding for Area Math Teachers

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 27, 2009 – Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a $421,000 “Improving Teacher Quality Grant” to boost mathematics in the Missouri Bootheel. The project is a collaborative effort among the Southeast Missouri State University College of Education and Department of Mathematics, the Southeast Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) and several area school districts.

The “Boosting Bootheel Mathematics” grant is awarded under the Title II, Part A “Improving Teacher Quality Grant” program operating under the federal legislation known as the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.” Area school districts partnering on the grant are Bernie R-XIII, Gideon 37, Malden R-1, Risco R-II, Scott County Central, Lift for Life Academy, South Pemiscot County R-VI and St. Theresa School.

The Southeast grant proposal was one of only four receiving funding from 16 submitted. The southeast Missouri partners will receive $150,000 in the first year of the grant, which totals more than $400,000 over the next three years. The southeast Missouri proposal was the only one approved for funding over the entire three-year period.

A cohort of fourth-eighth grade area math teachers will receive about 95 hours of professional development each of the three years the grant is funded.

The objectives of the grant are to: • Increase student achievement in algebra, geometry and measurement using Dr. Robert Marzano’s nine instructional strategies as a framework. • Deepen teacher participants’ conceptual understanding of instructional concepts and skills by providing opportunities to use a hands-on, inquiry approach. • Educate teachers on using educational technology with Marzano’s instructional strategies to support instruction, student learning and student motivation. • Educate teachers on designing assessments and using them to guide teacher instruction to meet the needs of all learners. • Improve the preparation of pre-service teachers through improvements in mathematics content and/or pedagogy courses.

Linda Null of the RPDC says, “Research has shown that the greatest influence on student achievement is the teacher. Boosting Bootheel Mathematics will assist teachers in becoming the best they can be as they learn innovative, fun and effective techniques to engage their students in learning.”

Martha Mangels with the Southeast RPDC added, “There is no better way to get today’s tech-savvy students excited about learning than to incorporate the technologies they use daily into the classroom environment.”

Dr. Mary Ann DeLine, assistant professor of middle and secondary education at Southeast, said, “I am very pleased to be part of this grant and the great work that the RPDC is doing in the Southeast University service area.  Our pre-service student teachers will benefit from both the opportunity to participate in summer workshops and the information infused into our middle school curriculum on ways to improve math instruction through the use of technology.  Integration of technology is a high priority in the College of Education. A large percentage of our graduates are hired in the service area; therefore, the successful implementation of this grant funding and programs plays an important and ongoing role for the undergraduates as future teachers as well as those currently teaching in the participating schools.”

The Missouri Department of Higher Education receives approximately $1.2 million in federal funds annually to administer a competitive grants program for K-12 teacher and administrator professional development projects designed to benefit students and members of partnerships, including high-need school districts and higher education institutions. This year, $630,000 was available for new projects, single or multi-year.