Friday, May 12, 2017

University of New Orleans Faculty Awarded $475,000 to Provide Professional Development Experience for Local K-8 Teachers

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Three University of New Orleans faculty members were awarded nearly a half million dollars from the Louisiana Board of Regents to conduct professional development institutes for K-8 teachers from the greater New Orleans area. Professor emerita Yvelyne Germain-McCarthy, associate professor Ivan Gill and assistant professor Thomas Wright will lead these efforts to enrich teacher preparation in math and science.

The grants were awarded competitively through the Louisiana Board of Regents’ Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program (LaSIP), which funds university-based professional development projects for elementary and high school teachers. Grant recipients from UNO are curriculum and instruction experts from the College of Liberal Arts, Education and Human Development.

A proposal from Germain-McCarthy and Wright garnered $223,000 for a partnership with the UNO Department of Mathematics, resulting in a series of workshops focused on integrating culturally relevant and engaging problems into math instruction for grade levels 3-8. An initial 10-day-long workshop takes place July 10-21, and additional workshops follow during the summer and fall of 2018. A review panel ranked this proposal first among 17 received.

A proposal from Germain-McCarthy and Gill received $252,000 for a partnership with the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering focused on teaching environmental literacy in grades K-8. This project includes an initial workshop July 5-18, and additional workshops during the summer and fall of 2018. The content and techniques introduced will use a “STEAM” approach (encompassing science, technology, engineering, art and math) and will be based on the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, an international science and education program launched in the U.S. in 1995. This proposal was ranked first among science proposals.

Both projects aim to maximize impact by recruiting teachers who work in low performing schools or with students who have failed to meet performance standards over multiple years. Each grant is expected to accommodate training for about 35 teachers. The grants provide hourly stipends for participating teachers as well as funds for classroom supplies and course materials to ensure the new lessons can be implemented in future classes. Participants might also be able to earn graduate-level college credit for participating.

Teachers interested in participating in the professional development opportunities in mathematics or science should contact Thomas Wright, co-director for both projects. A recommendation from the teacher’s principal is required for participation.