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Drs. Gary Martin and Marilyn Strutchens will use a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to further the professional development of 22 elementary mathematics educators.
If the co-directors of TEAM-Math ever devise an equation to quantify the amount of teachers and students affected by their work, it would undoubtedly yield an astounding product.
A $1.5 million grant recently awarded by the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program will enable TEAM-Math (Transforming East Alabama Mathematics) to provide advance degrees and professional development opportunities for 22 elementary mathematics teacher leaders through a teacher leader academy. The Teacher Leader Academy for Elementary Mathematics Specialists complements the academy for secondary math specialists TEAM-Math initiated in January. Both teacher leader academies will collectively supplement the professional credentials of 36 educators representing 14 high-needs school districts in Alabama.
The 22 elementary and 14 secondary Teacher Leader Academy fellows will ultimately apply what they learn for the benefit of colleagues and students in their respective schools. Dr. Gary Martin, TEAM-Math director, can't help but see the mathematical implications of the endeavor.
"It's multiplicative,'' said Martin, a professor of mathematics education in the College of Education's Department of Curriculum and Teaching and the inaugural recipient of the Emily R. and Gerald S. Leischuck Endowed Professorship. "That gives us a really strong reach.''
Under the direction of Martin and Dr. Marilyn Strutchens, a professor of secondary mathematics education and 2008 Distinguished Diversity Researcher, TEAM-Math has worked closely with East Alabama school districts to improve math education since the program's inception in 2003 with an initial $9 million NSF grant. Other project leaders and co-principal investigators include Dr. Stephen Stuckwisch, assistant professor, and Dr. Phil Zenor, professor, both mathematicians in the College of Sciences and Mathematics' Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Dr. Mohammed Qazi, professor of mathematics, Tuskegee University; Mr. John Painter, formerly superintendent of Lee County Schools ; and Dr. Jim Jeffers, superintendent of Tallassee City Schools .
The most recent NSF grant will provide an annual stipend of $10,000 for the 22 elementary Teacher Leader Academy fellows. The fellows, who are all full-time teachers, receive ongoing professional development opportunities that build their capacity as teacher leaders. They will also receive tuition to complete either educational specialist degrees or doctorates in elementary education or early childhood education and earn elementary mathematics specialists certificates.
"It's not only benefiting the teachers, but also the students,'' Strutchens said. "We're hoping to build teacher leaders who are willing to work with other teachers in their buildings and may grow to take on local, state or national leadership positions. They're being encouraged to participate in local, state and national organizations and serve on committees in math education.''
The TEAM-Math partnership, comprised of 14 regional school districts, Auburn's Colleges of Education and Sciences and Mathematics and Tuskegee University, strives to improve mathematics education at the elementary, secondary and university levels by building awareness of best practices and by bringing standards in regional districts into alignment with those at the state and national tiers.
In addition to the five-year, $1.5 million commitment for the elementary Teacher Leader Academy, TEAM-Math also received NSF awards of $600,000 for the secondary Teacher Leader Academy established in January 2009.
To read additional media coverage of TEAM-Math's work, log on to: http://www.auburnvillager.com/story.html?1248360044002993
Last Updated: May 16, 2011