Grants Aim to Improve Teacher Development

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INDIANAPOLIS -

The Indiana Commission for High Education has awarded more than $900,000 in an effort to boost teacher professional development. The funding, which is part of the federal Improving Teacher Quality Partnership program, will go to four Indiana colleges and nine school districts.

The two-year grants match colleges with "high-need" school districts. The ultimate goal, according to the commission, is to increase student academic achievement.

"Having an engaged and effective teacher in the classroom is one of the strongest factors in ensuring our students are successful in school and in life," said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. "This grant gives current Indiana teachers the opportunity to work closely with our colleges to expand their skill set and bring new and innovative practices into the classroom."

The recipients and their projects, according to the ICHE, include:

  • Ball State University - partnering with Randolph Central School Corp. and Yorktown Community Schools to increase scientifically-based reading instruction and strengthen its alignment to Indiana’s Academic Standards in English, Language Arts and Social Studies. They will also help teachers improve student achievement in these content areas by supporting assessment-driven instruction and an online assessment resource portal that will be available to all teachers. Finally, they will develop methods to help teachers measure and document the quality of their instruction.
  • The Butler University Reading, Writing and Mathematics Workshop Project will support K – 8 classroom teachers in Indianapolis Public Schools with a focus on improving student achievement in English, Language Arts and Mathematics. Butler’s College of Education and English Department, along with the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers, will collaborate to create continuous professional development opportunities based on the Teachers Colleges Reading and Writing Project model at Columbia University. This program places a priority on the professional development of pre-service and early to mid-career minority teachers.
  • Indiana University will work with the Edinburgh Community School Corp. and Brown County Schools to support teachers as they use literacy to foster students’ scientific reasoning abilities. The Science the “Write” Way project will extend the development and mobilization of a comprehensive support network of teachers, science education experts, literacy experts, and local rural community resources to aid teachers in making necessary curricular changes to meet the new Indiana Academic Science Standards.
  • The University of Notre Dame will provide support to schools who are growing their Advanced Placement (AP) Math, Science and English programs. The program will focus on four high-need school districts; Marion Community Schools, Michigan City Area Schools, Muncie Community Schools and South Bend Community School Corp. Professional development events and mentors will aid teachers in honing their content knowledge of AP Math, Science and English courses.

"Great and effective teachers in the classroom produce strong and successful students," said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. "This partnership between higher education institutions and local school districts will create valuable opportunities and I am excited to see the product of their hard work."

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