Deal announces professional learning grants for mathematics and computer science

May 16, 2016

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced seven winners of the Innovation in K-8 Mathematics and/or K-12 Computer Science/Coding Professional Learning Grants. This is the second round of the competitive grant program that supports Local Education Agencies (LEAs), Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs) and individual schools in improving instruction in the areas of mathematics and computer science/coding through the development and implementation of innovative professional learning models. 

“Effective teachers and engaging curriculum are necessary in order to provide every Georgia student with a world-class education,” said Deal. “Skills in mathematics and computer science are increasingly invaluable in the 21st-century workforce, so we must capitalize on innovative methods in the classroom to better prepare our students for future opportunities. As we continue to improve teaching practices and achieve student success, we strengthen our communities and lay the foundation for our future.”

Each grant winner will receive up to $150,000 to support innovative professional learning programs that promote student achievement in mathematics or expand student access to computer science/coding programs. Grant recipients will evaluate the effectiveness of the initiatives and submit their findings to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The state will use these results to determine the best practices in professional learning for mathematics and computer science/coding. 

The grant award winners, along with a description of the funded projects, are listed below. 

Mathematics

Baldwin County Schools
K-2 Mathematicians and Writers focuses on developing conceptual understanding, mathematical reasoning and language, and math literacy through a professional learning community (PLC) of teacher leaders. This innovative professional learning program, supported by a partnership between the Baldwin County School District and Georgia College and State University (GCSU), will focus on creating a PLC with 24 lead teachers from the district’s four elementary schools, two GCSU faculty members from the Department of Mathematics and a faculty member from the Department of Professional Learning and Innovation. The K-2 PLC will provide content and pedagogical professional development and resources in mathematics with literacy integration through children’s literature and key components of literacy.
 
Clarke County School District

This innovative professional learning program will help fifth-grade and sixth-grade mathematics teachers support students in their transition from elementary to middle school mathematics curricula. Teachers involved in this program will participate in a PLC that is supported by ongoing coaching and follow-up targeted professional learning that focuses on three key areas: teachers’ knowledge of content, pedagogy and assessment. Teacher participants will produce model lessons and serve as future coaches and support resources for other math teachers in the district.

Clayton County Public Schools

The focus of this project is to provide professional learning with job-embedded follow-up support for third-grade through fifth-grade mathematics teachers through a partnership with ArtsNow. Content experts and arts-integration coaches will work with 18 mathematics teachers to learn innovative strategies, collaboratively develop arts-based math lessons and vertically align their lessons to scaffold student learning.

Metropolitan RESA 

This innovative program will provide effective professional learning in mathematics that equips teachers with high-quality instructional practices that result in increased student achievement. Improvement in teachers’ mathematics content knowledge, skills and efficacy will lead to more effective teaching practices. Metro Regional Educational Service Agency will provide research-based professional learning opportunities to improve the work of mathematics teachers through the K-5 Mathematics Endorsement and the Mathematics Instructional Academy at each participating school. 

Rockdale County Public Schools
Rockdale County Public Schools’ IMPACT Project will provide fifth through ninth grade mathematics teachers with professional learning and ongoing coaching that supports the use of real-world performance tasks in their classrooms. The IMPACT Project provides a repeatable, sustainable cycle for acting on student work, informing instructional practices and measuring growth. The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative will provide both teachers and administrators with ongoing professional learning on scaffolding instruction to ensure student success on performance tasks and provide teachers with a common understanding about how to implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem-solving. The project utilizes the three stages of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model to monitor teachers’ attitudes toward an initiative, evaluate teachers’ levels of use of new strategies and use a rubric to guide implementation.  
 

Integrated Mathematics and Computer Science/Coding

Thomas County Schools 

Thomas County Schools will create an innovative and sustainable professional learning initiative supported by improved technology and increased opportunities for peer learning. This will ensure that teachers are better prepared to use innovative teaching methods and will allow students to have more hands-on opportunities in STEM subjects, computer science and mathematics. The school system will partner with Project Lead the Way to develop a professional learning system to provide 50 K-12 teachers with learning opportunities in mathematics, science and computer science. The initiative will also develop a system to monitor teacher effectiveness in implementing math, science and computer science in authentic learning tasks.

Computer Science/Coding

Georgia Tech Research Institute

The mission of Teaching Educators Computing and Coding Concepts is to provide 26 middle school teachers from Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools and Atlanta Public Schools with an immersive professional learning environment that includes 60 hours of face-to-face learning and 24 hours of distance learning to support and facilitate student success in middle school and high school computer science courses and related learning opportunities. Teachers will be engaged in computer science, coding, mathematics and computational thinking curriculum classes and experiences working with higher education to apply computer science and math skills and knowledge to local issues. Georgia Tech Research Institute will partner with Savannah State University and Armstrong State University to provide this professional learning experience for teachers.

Click here to learn more about these grants.