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Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: March 4, 2013 9:59:27 AM PST
Western to Partner with Area Schools to Improve Math and Science Instruction
WWU Receives $828, 945 State Grant for Three-year Project Partnering with Bellingham, Concrete and Sedro-Woolley School Districts

Contact:  Shannon Warren, (360) 650-3373, or Shannon.Warren@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University will partner with the Bellingham, Concrete and Sedro-Woolley school districts as part of a project to improve elementary math and science instruction.

The effort is being funded by an $828,945 grant, one of six awarded by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Education (OSPI) through the Math Science Partnership, which aims to support collaboration of school districts and institutions of higher learning for improving mathematics and science instruction and learning.

The Schoolwide Elementary Improvement in Science and Math Instruction through Collaboration (SEISMIC) project is being coordinated by Western’s Department of Mathematics and the Science, Math and Technology Education (SMATE) program.

“We are at a turning point in the state of Washington with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards within the next year. Through SEISMIC, we are focusing on deep understanding of math and science content and effective instruction,” said Kimberly Markworth, assistant professor of Mathematics at Western and project co-director.  “At Western we are excited to work with faculty at three elementary schools who are ready and enthusiastic to improve math and science teaching and learning.”

Participants will include 75 teachers and all principals from Carl Cozier Elementary in the Bellingham School District, Evergreen Elementary in the Sedro-Woolley School District, and Concrete Elementary in the Concrete School District.  Western faculty members will plan and deliver the professional development that will target rigorous content within math and science, and the integration of math and science concepts. The project seeks to demonstrate how working “whole school” with three regional elementary schools can result in improved math and science teaching and learning school-wide. 

 School year activities will include full-day Saturday workshops – to be attended by both teachers and principals to analyze student work and student understanding – monthly professional learning community meetings, leadership team meetings, and community math and science nights.  Summer activities will include a seven-day content immersion focused on increasing teachers’ content and pedagogical content knowledge as well as providing time for planning work for the subsequent school year.

 SEISMIC builds on a two previous grants: the OSPI Math Science Partnership, Sustaining Partnerships Enhancing Collaboration K-8 (SPECK8) in two districts, Concrete and Sedro Woolley, and the National Science Foundation funded North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (NCOSP) in all three school districts.

For the SEISMIC grant, Markworth and Susan DeBari, WWU professor of Geology, are project co-directors. Shannon Warren is the SEISMIC project coordinator.

“This grant provides unique opportunities for collaboration between mathematics and science education faculty at Western,” DeBari said.

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