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May 2009

Release Date: May 4, 2009ASU Logo

ASU Professors Win Grants for Teacher Training

Region XV teachers will benefit from two Teacher Quality Grants awarded to three Angelo State University professors by the U.S. Department of Education through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Dr. Andrew Wallace and Dr. David Bixler of the ASU Physics Department and Dr. Donna Gee of the Teacher Education Department will work with area teachers on two separate two-year projects designed to improve elementary school mathematics and secondary school physics education.

Gee is in her first year at ASU, and has worked with similar programs at other institutions. She received $170,000 for her project, “Enhancing Number Sense,” to train teachers of grades 3-5. The purpose of the program is to give teachers a deeper understanding of mathematical number sense to help them implement that knowledge in the classroom to increase student achievement. The project is a partnership between ASU and the San Angelo Independent School District.

The 16 teachers chosen will each earn six hours of graduate credit in teacher education and 120 professional development hours during the two-year period by attending summer institutes at ASU this year and in 2010.

The teachers will participate in classroom implementation planning June 10-12, August 17 and four all-day sessions in Fall 2009 and Fall 2010. Among the benefits of the program, teachers will receive $300 stipends upon completion of the summer institutes, $450 at the end of each academic year, $450 in supplies to use in the classroom and a laptop computer.

Dr. Trey Smith of the ASU Mathematics Department will teach the graduate course that focuses on mathematics during the program.

The initial application deadline was May 1, but applications submitted after that will be considered until all 15 positions are filled or until June 1 when the summer institute begins.

More information is available by calling Gee at (325) 942-2052 or sending an e-mail to donna.gee@angelo.edu.

Wallace and Bixler’s $200,000 grant will fund work with 16-20 teachers. This project is their fourth and they typically work with 15 teachers, mostly from Region XV’s 43 independent school districts and three consolidated school districts. This project will focus on high school science teachers, who mostly teach biology and chemistry, to bring them up to speed on physics.

Participants will attend a 72-hour summer institute July 20-31 on the ASU campus and will go to the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) in October in Galveston. The program will pay travel expenses and registration fees. The conference is one of the largest in the nation with 6,500 teachers attending, Wallace said.

During the summer sessions, they will do “make and take” projects that they can use in their classrooms, Wallace said. They will also take a field trip to an undetermined site related to physics. Last year, they toured the nuclear reactor at the University of Texas in Austin.

The teachers will then participate in three academic workshops during the 2009-10 school year at the Region XV Service Center with Amy Rutherford, a secondary science consultant on curriculum, lab safety and assessment.

For their efforts, the teachers will each get a 72-hour certificate, a laptop computer and $1,000 upon completion of the summer institute to compensate them for the hours they will lose by not teaching summer school.

Deadline for applying to participate in the program is June 12.

Wallace said each high school science teacher in Region XV has been contacted, but interested teachers can send an e-mail to Wallace at andy.wallace@angelo.edu for information.