Southeast Awarded Grant to Provide Summer Workshops for Math, Science Teachers from Rural School Districts



March 9, 2006 – Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a $153,540 grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE)to improve math and science teaching and learning in at least three rural school districts in southeast Missouri.

The grant, called “Making Connections in Math and Science,” will provide professional development opportunities in the form of a two-week summer institute at Southeast for middle school (grades 5 to 8) math and science teachers from Charleston R-I, South Pemiscot County R-V and Bernie R-XIII, and other rural school districts in Southeast Missouri. Southeast’s Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) will spearhead the institute in late July and early August.

Participating teachers will earn graduate credit for their involvement in the institute and Southeast is waiving tuition for these teachers.  The grant monies will fund teacher stipends, teaching tools for participant classrooms, participant travel expenses, and administrator incentive funds to be used for the improvement of math and science education in partner school districts. 

The institute is being designed to help teachers address the new Expanded MAP Grade-Level Assessments, the Grade Level Expectations and the Model Curriculum in Math and Science. Southeast officials say the grant program was developed in response to middle school teachers who have expressed a need for increased content knowledge and enhanced teaching strategies to keep pace with external expectations of their students’ knowledge and understanding.  The institute will emphasize cooperative learning strategies and a review of the latest developments in brain research, as well as focused sessions in both math and science content.

The grant also will cover two six-hour follow-up sessions – one in October and another in March 2007 — and monthly coaching visits by University instructors and Southeast RPDC content specialists in the teachers’ actual classrooms.

The one-year project is a partnership among Southeast Missouri State University, Mineral Area College, the three participating school districts and the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).

The grant is among $1.9 million in federal funds the Missouri Department of Higher Education has awarded to 10 new science and mathematics professional development projects in high-need areas around the state. In addition, $543,000 has been allocated to renew four professional development projects from the previous funding period.

Funding for the MDHE Improving Teacher Quality Grant program is obtained from the US Department of Education Title II, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The program supports partnerships between higher education and K-12 school districts for teacher professional development. The primary objectives of these projects are to improve student learning and to improve teacher quality through high quality professional development activities. Professional development activities are linked to improvements in instruction so that students have the opportunity to achieve at higher levels. The science and mathematics focus of the MDHE Improving Teacher Quality Grant program is in alignment with Gov. Matt Blunt’s priority for these disciplines. By providing avenues for Missouri’s teachers to increase their content knowledge and understanding of new pedagogies, increased proficiency in math and science by Missouri students is expected.

Teachers interested in participating in the “Making Connections in Math and Science” summer institute at Southeast are asked to call Cheri Fuemmeler in the Regional Professional Development Center at (573) 651-5161.