Grant funds Newman project to increase teachers’ knowledge of math, science

Jul 02, 2015

The Kansas State Department of Education has awarded Newman University a $123,000 grant to fund its newest educational outreach program: the Teacher Inquiry into Math, Engineering, and Science Practices (TIMES*P).

The TIMES*P project is a three-year collaborative professional development program designed to expand 3rd through 5th grade educators’ knowledge in math and science. Participants come from Haysville Public School District, Winfield Public School District, Belle Plaine Public School District and the Diocese of Wichita Catholic Schools.

The project launched with a two-week intensive institute that included lectures and hands-on activities focused on scientific inquiry, engineering design and rigorous mathematical tasks as related to Kansas College and Career Ready Standards for Math (KCCRSM) and Kansas College and Career Ready Standards for Science (KCCRSS) for the intermediate grades. They also focused on active learning strategies such as analyses of teaching practice, student work and curriculum alignment.

The program, although funded by the grant, is also supported by IBM and Westar Energy corporations. Both companies provided speakers for the program and Westar funded lunches.

2015 TIMES*P participants

Associate Professor of Mathematics Barbara Sponsel, Ph.D. said there are four core goals for the project: increasing student achievement in math and science; strengthening teacher content knowledge in math and science; enhancing the ability of teachers to implement KCCRSM and KCCRSS, and enhancing teachers’ capacity to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.

Participants are provided ongoing support throughout the school year, which includes three classroom observations and feedback sessions by a project instructional coach. Teachers were also given a $1,000 stipend for participating in the program.

“The teachers seem to appreciate the time to collaborate with other teachers from other schools and districts,” Sponsel said. “Because of the funding, we are able to provide the teachers with incentives (e.g. a stipend, materials) to participate.”

Sponsel said the program has grown over time. She said Newman ran a similar program last year that focused more on math, which received funding to serve 32 teachers ($110,000). The grant awarded for TIMES*P funds 35 teachers.

“This is the first year for the new math and science partnership,” she said. “In this new grant, we are focusing on both science and math. The Kansas K-12 science standards are newer than the math standards, so we are spending more time with the science standards than the math standards.”

Other Newman professors involved with the project are Assistant Professor of Chemistry Alan Oberley, M.S. and Assistant Professor of Education Cindy Louthan, M.Ed.

“Different faculty bring different areas of expertise to the program,” Sponsel said.