STEPHENVILLE (May 3, 2017) — A $514,707 grant extension has been awarded to Tarleton State University from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to provide professional development for Cross Timbers Region mathematics teachers in grades 4-12.
Part of the THECB’s Teacher Quality Grants Program, a portion initially was awarded to Tarleton in 2016, but the grant has been expanded to include secondary mathematics teachers and those seeking graduate-level mathematics courses in order to teach dual credit classes.
Participating educators will receive books, materials and technology for use in their classrooms, more than 100 hours of continuing professional education credit and a $1,000 stipend for full attendance.
Secondary participants seeking graduate-level mathematics credit in order to meet requirements for teaching dual credit will receive tuition reimbursement for specified mathematics courses, including Summer 2017, Fall 2017 and two courses in Spring 2018. Participants who are teaching dual credit courses will receive professional development hours and will be part of a panel to examine the transition from high school to college.
The professional development workshop will be held Monday through Thursday, June 12-29, from 1 to 5 p.m. in Room 113 of Tarleton’s Mathematics Building. To provide further support to participants, the professional development will continue throughout the academic year, meeting one Saturday each month, from August 2017 through February 2018.
To apply for the LEAPing Across the Gaps Middle School and Dual Credit Cohort program at Tarleton, visit bit.ly/LEAP-math-2017.
The THECB funded 18 projects statewide, according to Professor of Mathematics Dr. Eileen Faulkenberry, and Tarleton is one of four selected to expand the professional development program to include a dual credit component. The professional development will be led by Faulkenberry, Dr. Lesley Leach, Dr. Beth Riggs, Dr. Pam Littleton, Dr. Kathy Smith, Ms. RoseAnn Jackson and Ms. Janice Groseclose.
The grant supports LEAPing Across the Gaps—Learning Experiences for Algebraic Proficiency, which addresses professional development needs identified by Tarleton in conjunction with Stephenville and Dublin Independent School Districts—to better prepare middle school and secondary mathematics teachers to teach content that directly impacts student success in algebra.
According to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s 2008 report, success in algebra correlates highly with successfully completing college. The NMAP recommends that a major goal of K-8 math education should be proficiency with whole and rational numbers, integers and selected topics from geometry and measurement, such as similarity.
Participants in the program will acquire appropriate content knowledge in the targeted mathematical topics, quantitative reasoning, algebraic reasoning and mathematical models, as well as pedagogical knowledge including instructional strategies that improve student achievement, such as incorporating writing, inquiry-based activities, manipulatives and technology into classroom activities.
“The focus for middle school educators will be proportional reasoning and algebraic thinking,” said Faulkenberry, “and the focus for high school will be technology-aided mathematics—how incorporating technology effectively can promote student thinking and learning in mathematics.”
The project will include 35 teachers in grades 4-12 from surrounding school districts, and divide participants into two grade band components—middle and high school.
“The overarching goal of the program is to increase student success in algebra by implementing a problem-solving approach, using multiple representations and eliciting mathematical communication,” Faulkenberry added.
“We will focus on the appropriate use of technology to facilitate learning. The concepts of quantitative and algebraic reasoning will be explored throughout the program, beginning with numbers and operations of whole and rational numbers, continuing through proportional reasoning into algebraic reasoning, and culminating with mathematical modeling of real-word scenarios.”
The program also will have a secondary focus of incorporating content literacy into the math classrooms, Faulkenberry explained. “Content literacy is defined as the ability to use reading and writing in the acquisition of new content within mathematics. We will model research-based strategies and encourage participants to incorporate them into their classrooms, including journaling, word walls and mathematical discourse facilitated through the teacher’s questioning.”
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