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Newton County School System has been awarded a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) grant for $216,010 from the Georgia Department of Education. Newton County previously received a two-year MSP grant for $174,772 in 2012-2013 and for $163,585 in 2013-2014. 

According to Newton County School System Grants Coordinator, Dr. Kathy Garber, “The Newton County MSP project included two components, with each consisting of 160 hours of professional learning over the two-year period.  Classes were held periodically during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, as well as during weeklong summer workshops held in June 2013 and 2014.”

These courses included the following:

·      A K-5 Math Endorsement program consisting of three courses which included math content and pedagogy: Number and Operations, Geometry and Measurement, and Algebra, Patterns, and Data Analysis.  The courses were taught by a math consultant from Griffin RESA and a math instructor from Gordon College.  Upon completion of the three courses, 28 Newton County teachers had the K-5 Math Endorsement added to their Georgia Teaching Certificates.  The courses emphasized the application of the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) approach to teaching mathematics, so teachers engaged in many hands-on activities to help them help students to truly understand mathematical concepts.  In addition, teachers had the opportunity to attend the Georgia Math Conference sponsored by the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics at Rock Eagle last October, and many of them will be attending that conference again this fall with MSP funding.

·      A Middle School  Science Professional Learning program in Earth, Life, and Physical Science taught by professors from Georgia Tech and Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).  Teachers engaged in numerous lab investigations in all three areas of science taught in the middle schools, with emphasis on showing students how to “do” science as scientists do, and not just read about science.  They also participated in a number of field trips and attended the Georgia Science Teachers Association Conference in Macon last year and will have the opportunity to attend the GSTA Conference again in 2015.  Twenty-five Newton County middle school teachers completed the entire two years of the program. 

The Newton County MSP project was very successful and has been recognized as having one of the highest attendance and retention rates in the state, with teachers remaining in the program for the entire two years. As a result, Dr. Garber, who serves as the MSP Project Director, has been invited to do a poster presentation entitled “MSP: Maximizing Success for the Partnership” at the MSP National Convention in Washington D.C. September 29-October 1. 

“The success of our previous MSP project was also considered in the awarding of a new grant for the two years beginning in October 2014 and lasting through September 2016,” said Garber. “Newton County will receive a total of $216,010 in MSP funds this year, and it is anticipated that the district will receive an additional $200,000+ next school year, pending continuation of federal funding for the program.”

According to Garber, the new MSP Project also includes two components:

(1)    The K-5 Math Endorsement program in which the three required courses will be taught by a math consultant from Griffin RESA and a math instructor from Georgia Perimeter College.  Thirty teachers will be enrolled in the classes, and there is already a waiting list for the program.

(2)   A 7-12 Science Professional Learning Series consisting of two cohorts of teachers.  The MSP budget allows for a total of 50 teachers to be included, and 47 of those teacher slots have already been filled.

·      One cohort will include 7th Grade Life Science, high school Biology, and Environmental Science teachers.

·      The second cohort will consist of 8th Grade and high school Physical Science teachers, as well as Chemistry or Physics teachers who are interested. 

·      All classes will be taught in partnership with Georgia Tech faculty in Biology and Physics, GT doctoral students in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and the GA Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing.  Coursework will be appropriate for high school teachers and middle school teachers interested in more advanced content in Life Science and Physical Science. 

“Both the mathematics and Science programs will offer teachers opportunities to work and learn in vertical teams, allowing them to participate in ongoing communication and collaboration with teachers from other schools and other grade levels to share ideas and learn about local resources, as well as to become more connected with what students are learning before they get to them and what is expected of t hem in the later grades,” said Garber. “Vertical teaming provides a different way for educators to learn math and science content, process, and teaching strategies from each other to work toward common goals.”

For more information on the NCSS MSP Grant, please contact Dr. Kathy Garber at garber.kathy@newton.k12.ga.us.

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