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Past Projects

On March 15, 2010, the Department of Higher Education announced five grants totaling $1,217,014 over a three-year period from the Improving Teacher Quality Grant Program. The funds were used for professional development activities in mathematics and writing to ensure that high school educators have appropriate subject matter knowledge in these academic subjects and an understanding of the current national dialogue around "college readiness" in order to raise student achievement and to enhance students' readiness for the expectations and demands of college mathematics and writing courses. Furthermore, the higher education grantees will apply "lessons learned" from the professional development experience toward a "college-readiness" perspective in their teacher preparation programs

The following partnerships were awarded funding in May 2010 for up to three years of support. These initiatives are focused on College Readiness.

Institution

Project Name

Year 1 Award 2010 Year 2 Award 2011 Year 3 Award 2012
Clark University College Readiness Numbers and Words Project $73,338 $68,338 $68,338
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College of the Holy Cross Foundational Mathematical Concepts for the High School to College Transition $45,000 $75,000 $120,000
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University of Massachusetts Lowell PRIME-A Partnership for Readiness in Math and English $110,000 $112,000 $110,000
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Wellesley College/Mass Bay CC/Cambridge Rindge and Latin Quantitative Reasoning to Engage Students and Prepare Them for College and Life: A Professional Development Workshop $105,000
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Worcester State College Improving Teacher Quality in Mathematics and English in New Bedford and Southbridge $110,000 $110,000 $110,000
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The following partnership was awarded funding in May 2009 for one year of support and will end in April 2010.

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Wellesley College Quantitative Reasoning to Engage Students and Prepare Them for College and Life: A Professional Development Workshop $74,213 - -
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The following partnerships were awarded funding in January 2008 for three years of support and are finishing up in December 2010.

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Institution

Project Name

Year 1 Award 2007 Year 2 Award 2008 Year 3 Award 2009
American International College Physics First! for Teachers $110,000 $110,000 $110,000
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Boston University Improving the Quality of Teachers of Physics $120,000 $120,000 $120,000
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Clark University (Hiatt Center) Main South Curriculum and Knowing Program $64,669 $64,669 $64,669
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College of the Holy Cross Summer Mathematics and Science Teacher Professional Development Workshops $51,084 $49,458 $49,458
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Fitchburg State College Science Content Institutes and Integrating Science Inquiry for Grades 5-12 Teachers $86,694 $87,678 $87,627
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Tufts University Problem Solving with Discrete Mathematics $95,000 $145,000 $145,000
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University of Massachusetts Lowell Enhancing Math Collaboration: School-University Initiative for Professional Development $84,953 $84,948 $84,984
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Urban Ecology Institute Providing In-depth Teacher Preparation in Science Through Content Training, Professional Development, and Access to Inquiry Based Curriculum Resources $90,000 $115,000 $115,000
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Wheelock College Outdoor Science: environmental science Professional development for elementary teachers $72,218 $100,000 $100,000
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Project Descriptions

Institution: Clark University (2010-2012)
Partners: Worcester Public Schools
Project: College Readiness Numbers and Words Project

Description: The College Readiness Numbers and Words Project aims to ensure that Worcester students have the capability and confidence in mathematics and writing to succeed in college without remediation. Joint university-school Math Team and Content-Area Writing Teams in the visual arts, English language arts, history, and the sciences form the heart of the Numbers and Words project. Each led by a teacher and member of the University faculty, the Teams will cycle through a series of activities designed to develop and demonstrate teaching practice which fosters writing development and content-area learning leading to college academic readiness. Activities will include daylong workshops and monthly after-school meetings focused on understanding college readiness, developing practice, and assessing the impact of practice on college readiness by examining samples of student writing and work tied to state curriculum standards. A series of summer institutes (for graduate credit), as well as a "Best Practice Workshop," will round out activity.

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Institution: College of the Holy Cross (2010-2012)
Partners: Worcester Public Schools, the Wachusett Regional School District, and the Diocese of Worcester.
Project: Foundational Mathematical Concepts for the High School to College Transition

Description: The project provides two mini-sessions (year 1) and in years 2 and 3, three full sessions of a three-week course centered on promoting in teachers a deep understanding of concepts that are foundational to several topics in mathematics typically taught at the middle and secondary school levels. Mathematical concepts will be explored by relying on numerical, graphical, formula, and textual representations to emphasize deep and flexible understanding. The project will also include structured opportunities to discuss the following topics: research on the cognitive skills associated with mathematics achievement in college, transformative pedagogies in mathematics, and expectations of students held by college teachers of mathematics. Partners include the Education and Mathematics Departments at the College of the Holy Cross, the Worcester Public Schools, the Wachusett Regional School District, and schools in the Diocese of Worcester. Evaluation will focus on changes in participants’ understanding of college readiness and mathematics content knowledge.

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Institution: University of Massachusetts Lowell (2010-2012)
Partners: Lowell Public School and Lawrence Public Schools
Project: PRIME-A Partnership for Readiness in Math and English

Description: The PRIME Project is a collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Lowell Graduate School of Education and Departments of English and Mathematics with Lowell and Lawrence High Schools. The three year professional development project focuses on two critical areas for students to succeed in higher education, reading and writing in the content areas, particularly math and English, and college readiness knowledge and skills. Summer institutes, follow up full day workshops, after school study sessions and online communication are the principal activities that will comprise the PRIME Project. To expand the project’s reach, four teachers will be chosen at the conclusion of year one to train as teacher leaders and mentors to other teachers in their school. Click here for information about recruitment for this program.

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Institution: Wellesley College/Mass bay Community College/Cambridge Rindge and Latin (2010)
Partners: New Bedford Public Schools and Fall River Public Schools
Project: Quantitative Reasoning to Engage Students and Prepare Them for College and Life: A Professional Development Workshop

Description: Our instructional team will provide a two-week professional development workshop, designed to help additional secondary school mathematics teachers better understand what entering college students are expected to know and be able to do to apply math, logic, and statistics in their coursework. Participants will learn about the Acculpacer exam and various math and QR assessments that colleges use in placing students. They will partake in a trimmed-down version of Wellesley College’s first-year QR course and will work on developing QR materials that fit their grades’ curricular needs and are applicable and engaging for their own students. We will also hold two one-day follow-up sessions, one in the fall and one in the spring. Our long-term objective is to enhance the mathematical preparation for high school students, via a QR approach, so that a smaller percentage of college-bound students will require remediation in mathematics when they get to college.

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Institution: Worcester State College (2010-2012)
Partners: New Bedford Public Schools and Southbridge Public Schools
Project: Improving Teacher Quality in Mathematics and English in New Bedford and Southbridge

Description: Worcester State College partners with New Bedford and Southbridge Public School Districts to increase academic achievement of students in Mathematics and English by improving teacher quality and seeking to identify and address the gaps in achievement of students preparing for college. Our objectives are for teachers to gain a better understanding of college bound students’ needs, to share with faculty their perceptions of the gaps that exist and how they can be addressed, to strengthen their knowledge and pedagogical strategies related to college course expectations; and to strengthen students’ knowledge and success in college-reducing the need for remedial instruction. Program activities include a seven-day workshop in August and three Saturday workshops during the academic year. Pre- and post testing and survey will be done with teachers to measure an increase in understanding, and students performance will be tracked through Accuplacer tests, SAT and ACT scores to measure increase in preparedness.

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Institution: Wellesley College/Mass Bay Community College/Cambridge Rindge and Latin (2009)
Partners: New Bedford Public Schools and Fall River Public Schools
Project: Quantitative Reasoning to Engage Students and Prepare Them for College and Life: A Professional Development Workshop

Description: To help secondary school mathematics teachers better understand what entering college students are expected to know and be able to do to apply math, logic, and statistics in their coursework, we offer a two-week summer workshop and fall follow-up sessions for teachers in New Bedford and Fall River. The workshop exposes teachers to math and QR assessments used in placing incoming college students. Participants engage in a trimmed-down version of Wellesley College’s first-year QR course and work on developing QR materials that fit their grades' curricular needs and are applicable and engaging for their own students.

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Institution: American International College (2008-2010)
Partners: Springfield Public Schools
Project: Physics First! for Teachers

Description: Springfield Public Schools will require incoming 9th graders to take conceptual physics and there are currently only two high school teachers in the system Highly Qualified to teach physics. This project will provide content and instructional support (summer and academic year) for teachers to prepare for the physics MTEL and for the new courses they will teach.

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Institution: Boston University (2008-2010)
Partners: Boston Public Schools and Chicopee Comprehensive HS
Project: Improving the Quality of Teachers of Physics

Description: This project’s objective is to improve the performance of Massachusetts students in physics by improving the preparation of their teachers. The principal target audience is teachers of physics who are licensed in fields other than physics, as well as licensed physics teachers who want to improve their command of physics and physics education. All physics teachers are welcome, but special emphasis is placed on working with teachers in the Boston Public Schools. To extend our geographical range, the courses offered will be a blend of online and in-person work, with the instructors traveling to western Massachusetts as needed.

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Institution: Clark University, Hiatt Center for Urban Education (2008-2010)
Partners: Worcester Public Schools
Project: Main South Curriculum and Knowing Program

Description:The Main South Curriculum and Knowing Program serves primarily the schools and students of Main South, a highly diverse and impoverished area in Worcester. The program joins together the expertise of liberal arts and sciences, education faculty and classroom teachers in support of three interrelated activities—curriculum teams, a summer institute program and a ‘Best Practice’ Workshop in core academic areas. We aim to enable participants to demonstrate in depth what constitutes good content understanding, what indicates student understanding of how knowledge develops in a particular discipline, and how to demonstrate ways to achieve those goals in classroom learning.

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Institution: College of the Holy Cross (2008-2010)
Partners: Worcester Public Schools
Project: Summer Mathematics and Science Teacher Professional Development Workshops

Description: Holy Cross and the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) will collaborate in a series of summer professional development workshops designed to strengthen teachers’ abilities to improve their students’ mathematics skills in contexts linked to science. WPS teachers will come to the Holy Cross campus for three, 4-day weeks to work with Holy Cross mathematics and science faculty in order to develop teachers’ skills in using computational methods and approaches in science education. Special attention will be paid to topics that reference the mathematics and science curriculum frameworks at the middle school level and to project-based approaches to teaching mathematics and science.

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Institution: Fitchburg State College (2008-2010)
Partners: Fitchburg Public Schools; Leominster Public Schools; and The Theodore Sizer Teachers’ Center
Project: Science Content Institutes and Integrating Science Inquiry for Grades 5-12 Teachers

Description: Fitchburg State College and the Sizer Teachers’ Center are partnering with the Fitchburg and Leominster Public School Districts to: A) Survey and assess content strengths and weaknesses of faculty and students in Science and Technology; B) Design and deliver two Science Content Institutes each year to address gaps in Science and Technology preparation and create measurable improvement in faculty content knowledge; C) Provide professional development for Integrating Science Inquiry into the 5-12 curriculum through summer workshops, monthly meetings and in-service professional development to science and education faculty to positively impact Science and Technology curricula and student learning.

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Institution: Tufts University (2008-2010)
Partners: Boston Public Schools
Project: Problem Solving with Discrete Mathematics

Description: The Problem Solving with Discrete Mathematics (PSDM) Partnership evolved from a workshop for teachers designed by Rutgers University that has been supported at Tufts by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education since 2002. We have revised the Rutgers curriculum and adapted it to better serve Massachusetts teachers' needs, based on discussions among participating teachers, districts, and workshop organizers. The goal of the workshops is to help teachers develop their understanding and pedagogical application of the ideas of discrete mathematics, which teaches fundamental principles through problem solving. Studies show that struggling students often respond well to having familiar concepts presented in the framework of discrete math, and the workshops give teachers helpful tools and techniques to integrate these into the classroom.

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Institution: University of Massachusetts Lowell (2008-2010)
Partners: Bartlett School, Lowell
Project: Enhancing Math Collaboration: School-University Initiative for Professional Development

Description: This project will provide intensive teacher professional development that will result in raising student achievement in mathematics by strengthening teacher content knowledge and the application of content to the classroom at the Bartlett PreK-8 School in Lowell. We will provide school personnel with standards-based, high-quality professional development that is tied to the Massachusetts Mathematics Frameworks, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards, and the Department of Education’s Guidelines for the Effective Professional Development.

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Institution: Urban Ecology Institute (2008-2010)
Partners: Boston Public Schools and Revere Public Schools
Project: Providing In-depth Teacher Preparation in Science through Content Training, Professional Development, and Access to Inquiry Based Curriculum Resources

Description: This project provides Boston and Revere teachers with opportunities to develop science knowledge and skills and to broaden their teaching approaches, so they can create better learning opportunities for students. The Urban Ecology Institute, in partnership with Boston College-Lynch School of Education will align and integrate urban ecology field study curriculum and professional development opportunities into existing science curriculum and training opportunities offered to middle school and high school teachers in these districts.

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Institution: Wheelock College (2008-2010)
Partners: Boston Public Schools
Project: Outdoor Science: Environmental Science Professional Development for Elementary Teachers

Description: The project will provide two cohorts of teachers with high quality, inquiry-based courses in environmental science during the summer. These experiences will be paired with an intensive year long science education course focused on strategies for teaching environmental science, and how to connect the theory in the science courses to the practice in the classroom and the district science curriculum. Both scientists and science educators will provide on-site support as needed. Two teachers from each cohort will be identified as leaders and will develop skills to lead future efforts. A yearly environmental education conference will highlight classroom work.

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