HIGH POINT, N.C., July 18, 2014 – Thomasville City Schools teachers huddled in groups at High Point University discussing math problems on a worksheet. They discussed properties of multiplication and different ways of understanding them. Some of those ways involve the more conceptual approach championed by the Common Core standards. The activity was designed to help the teachers gain a deeper understanding of mathematics and new ideas for how to pass the information on to their students.
It’s the start of in-depth training for the teachers by HPU professors, funded by a $150,000 Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
“There’s real value in the collaboration between all of the teachers,” says first-grade teacher Vickie Hayes. “This is allowing me to see where my students are headed and how my lessons will be useful in the future.”
“It’s the same for me,” adds eighth-grade math teacher Karina Hesterberg. “I can see where my students are coming from and what skills I’m building off of.”
Through the grant, the teachers will take two graduate level courses at HPU; complete professional development; and bring HPU faculty and graduate students into their classrooms to assist with implementing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused lessons.
“I have enjoyed working with the teachers from Thomasville schools,” says Dr. Adam Graham-Squire, assistant professor of math at HPU, who led Thursday’s lessons for the teachers. “Few people jump at the chance to do five hours of math a day, but they have worked tirelessly. I appreciate their effort on material that is quite challenging and thought-provoking, and we have had some excellent discussions about both the mathematics content and different methods for teaching it.”
Dr. Jane Bowser and Dr. Shirley Disseler, assistant professors of education, will also research the impact of the activities in the grant on teacher content knowledge, translation of that knowledge to classroom lessons and student success.