Campus: Chico -- October 31, 2007

CSU, Chico Awarded $944,415 Grant for Improving Teacher Quality Grant

The Mathematics Project at California State University, Chico has won funding for a new professional development project to improve math instruction in kindergarten through second grade. The California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) awarded a four-year grant of $944,415 to the University in a statewide competition.

The project, titled “Mathematics in the Early Grades,” is a partnership between the University, the Red Bluff Union Elementary School District, Orland Unified School District, Cascade Union School District, and the Tehama County Department of Education.

Jorgen Bergland, director of the Mathematics Project at CSU, Chico, will direct the project, and Lynne Bercaw, Department of Education, will be the co-director. The leadership team includes Sharon Ross and Matt Ciancetta from the Department of Mathematics, Lisa Sandberg from the Tehama County Department of Education and JoAnn Stephens from Orland Unified School District. Rachelle Hackett from the University of the Pacific will provide outside research and evaluation.

Twenty-seven teachers from partnering rural school districts, including special education resource teachers, will participate in summer institutes and then receive coaching and follow-up training during the school years. Selected teachers will also work in summer academies with students. The goal is that all teachers will strengthen their ability to teach mathematics to primary grade students and build learning communities with other educators in the region.

“Receiving the new CPEC grant is very exciting,” said Berglund. “It will allow us to provide substantive professional development and support for teachers from three districts, one each in Glenn, Tehama and Shasta counties. Given the size of the grant and the quality of the leadership team, we anticipate having a very positive impact on the teachers, students and schools involved.”

While the professional development provided by the grants is vital, the research component is also important, according to CPEC Executive Director Murray Haberman. “Being required to demonstrate the impact of the professional development on student achievement, not just on teacher practice, is critical and supports CPEC’s overall commitment to accountability in educational programs,” said Haberman. Olivia Singh, chair of the CPEC, says the grants play an important role in making sure every student has a highly qualified teacher. “The program has had a long-term impact on helping teachers strengthen their content knowledge and their understanding of effective teaching strategies—key elements of education reform,” said Singh. “CSU, Chico and its partner schools should be proud of the quality of their proposal and its potential for improving teaching and learning in the upper Sacramento Valley.”

The California Postsecondary Education Commission advises the governor and Legislature on higher education policy and fiscal issues. Its primary focus is to ensure that the state’s educational resources are used effectively to provide Californians with postsecondary education opportunities. More information about the commission and its work can be found on its Web site at www.cpec.ca.gov. For more information about the state program, contact Karen Humphrey, administrator, Improving Teacher Quality Program, at 916-445-1504 or khumphrey@cpec.ca.gov. For information on the Mathematics Project at CSU, Chico, contact Jorgen Berglund at 530-898-5350 or jjberglund@csuchico.edu.

The CSU, Chico Research Foundation provides general and fiscal management for the “Mathematics in the Early Grades Project. The nonprofit foundation, incorporated in 1997 as an auxiliary to the University, manages more than 850 projects each year, many staffed by student and faculty researchers.


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