Professors win grant to help high school math teachers


Laura Jacobsen

The Virginia Department of Education has awarded a $250,000 grant to two Radford University faculty members for the Secondary Mathematics Professional Development Center project.

Education Associate Professor Laura Jacobsen and math Assistant Professor Agida Manizade are part of a project, supported by the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition. It is designed for high school teachers interested in improving their knowledge for teaching algebra and statistics, Jacobsen said.

"The project's longer-term effort includes preparation for selected secondary mathematics teachers to serve as lead teachers guiding innovation in mathematics content and pedagogy while increasing students' mathematics achievement and interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields."

Agida Manizade

Agida Manizade

Radford is a partner in the project with Virginia Commonwealth University, the College of William & Mary, NASA, 46 Virginia school divisions and two private schools. Through the project, 60 teachers will enroll in online graduate courses, generally for 6 to 9 credit hours each. Money from the grant will be used to pay for teachers' tuition, books and supplies, Jacobsen said.

As part of the program, 16 high school teachers will participate in a two-week program through NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts. The program will focus on innovative design and simulation-based engineering and science (SBE&S) and will prepare the teachers with the resources to do so to incorporate SBE&S into their courses.

RU mathematics professors will collaborate with NASA scientists to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics applications into RU’s applied statistics, mathematical modeling and Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry courses.

"This type of funding is so critical to this project. Being able to provide tuition and equipment to the teachers really is what allows them to even participate in the project," said Pat Shoemaker, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. "Our college takes great pride knowing that Laura and Agida are leading this extensive project and impacting how high school teachers are teaching math across the state."

The grant is the fourth in four years awarded by the Virginia Department of Education to Jacobsen and Manizade for related projects. "Teachers and their students, throughout the Commonwealth, benefit from the dedication of Dr. Jacobsen and Dr. Agida to graduate mathematics education," said Sandra Moore, director of RU’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership. "We are fortunate to have both of these distinguished women at Radford University."

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Apr 9, 2013
Chad Osborne
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