Regional Professional Development Center Awarded Improving Teacher Quality Grant

by News Bureau on Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 10, 2013 – The Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded the Southeast Missouri State University Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) with a year of funding in the amount of $195,455.44 for the project, “Making Mathematicians: Learning to Think and Apply.”

The project is slated to receive funds for its second year in the amount of $135,642.59 and for its third year in the amount of $134,276.25. Funding for the second and third years is subject to continued federal funding of this grant.

Cheri Fuemmeler, director of the RPDC, will provide oversight of the award, which is designed to build a solid foundation in mathematics for teachers in grades kindergarten through sixth and to bridge the learning gap in middle school classrooms. Dr. Lori Mueller and Dr. Candide Walton, representing the College of Education, will also be involved with the project.

Through this grant, mathematics will be a tool for modeling real-world situations and applied to all content areas through the art of problem solving and writing. Mathematics is often viewed as a set of fragmented facts, rules and procedures, and this often confuses students. Traditional mathematics instruction focuses on isolated skill and drill with little connection to real life.

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, the expectation is one of student understanding and application in problem solving. Teachers will be better prepared to integrate mathematics through the use of literacy and writing as well as develop an environmental awareness by working with Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center specialists.

Through this project teachers will be provided opportunities to make sense of the content their students are learning so that the students can become successful mathematicians. By focusing on building a strong conceptual foundation in the classroom, students may be better prepared for the transition to middle school mathematics.

In the award letter, Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. David Russell extended his appreciation of Fuemmeler’s “dedication to the improvement of mathematics and science education in Missouri and for her interest in providing high-quality professional development opportunities for teachers in the state.”