Newman University awarded $110K grant to help area educators

May 29, 2012

The Kansas State Department of Education has awarded Newman University a Title IIB Mathematics/Science Partnership Grant for $110,000, which the university will use to help teachers in the Wichita and Haysville areas strengthen their knowledge and teaching skills. The grant is approved for one year, and if proven effective has the potential to be renewed for two additional years.

The money will be used to implement the Using Mathematical Practices to Understand Content (UMPUC) program, a partnership among the Newman University Department of Mathematics, the Newman University School of Education, USD 259 (Wichita), USD 261 (Haysville), and the Diocese of Wichita Catholic Schools.

Under the program, approximately 66,000 students will be served, as mathematics and education faculty from Newman work with educators of grades 3-5 from Wichita and Haysville public schools, and grades 3-6 from the Wichita Diocese schools. The UMPUC program is designed to increase the teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and strengthen their instructional skills during the transition to Kansas Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (KS CCSSM). Kansas is one of 45 states that have adopted Common Core State Standards for math and English. The initiative provides consistent standards across the 45 states and is designed to provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn at different grade levels.

“The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics initiative is very new,” said Barbara Sponsel, Ph.D., Newman University assistant professor of mathematics, who has played a key role in the grant and the UMPUC initiative. “This grant will allow us to help teachers in our partner districts during the transition to the new standards.”

The project will begin with a two-week summer institute focused on increasing teachers’ conceptual understanding of numbers, fractions, ratios and other topics related to the Standards for Mathematical Practice and the Standards for Mathematical Content for the upper elementary grades. Participating teachers in the summer institute, set for July 9 – 20, will receive a $1,000 stipend and three hours of graduate credit from Newman.

The project is funded for 32 participants. For more information or to apply for the summer institute, contact Sponsel at 316-942-4291, ext. 2247, or [email protected].