Grant Money To Help Palm Beach County Schools, FAU

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com via FAU Press Release) — Florida Atlantic University’s College of Education and Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College have received two $500,000 grants from the Florida Department of Education for an iTeach Geometry Partnership Project and an iTeach US History Partnership Project to be developed and implemented in partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County. The grants will provide funding for comprehensive professional development and teacher education projects with the ultimate goal of increasing student achievement.

The iTeach projects will address the needs of high school geometry and U.S. history teachers with professional development and university coursework designed to strengthen Next Generation Sunshine State Standards-based content knowledge and develop more effective pedagogy to support student learning and achievement. Each teacher will receive 125 hours of graduate level coursework designed by FAU in consultation with the school district’s curriculum specialists. Courses will be offered on FAU’s Jupiter campus and at Palm Beach district lab rooms.

“These grants provide an exceptional opportunity to address the urgent and critical needs of high school geometry and American history teachers,” said Valerie J. Bristor, dean of the College of Education at FAU. “Through high quality, sustained professional development and university coursework, teachers will become even better equipped to support student learning and achievement on the high stakes geometry and U.S. history end-of-course examinations.”

Barbara Ridener, chair and associate professor in the department of Teaching and Learning at FAU, will serve as the FAU project team’s principal investigator for both geometry and U.S. history. Bristor will serve as a co-principal investigator for both projects. Warren McGovern, assistant professor of mathematics in FAU’s Harriet Wilkes Honors College will serve as co-principal investigator for geometry, and Christopher Strain, associate professor of American studies and history in the Honors College, will serve as co-principal investigator for U.S. history.

Each project will provide professional development and teacher education to 26 teachers per year for three years — 20 from high poverty schools and six new or struggling teachers. Student achievement will be continually evaluated and used to make informed decisions and program modifications. Each year, teachers from the project will be selected to serve as lead teachers and mentors who will participate in “train the trainer” activities to strengthen and extend the impact of the programs.

“The grant provides a rare opportunity to promote relationships between university history professors and school district high school history teachers,” said Laurie Cotton, secondary social studies administrator for the School District of Palm Beach County.  “The program was conceived to bolster student achievement on the first United States history end-of course examination, yet it is built on the premise that well-prepared high school students are more likely to persist through high school and succeed later in college. We are very excited about the prospects.”

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