Central College has been awarded a share of a $600,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Education for the next three years. The grant will fund a collaborative project between Central College and Drake University to train high school math teachers from low-income areas. The grant amount will be shared among Central, Drake and Area Education Agency 267.
Wendy Weber, professor of mathematics at Central, said the grant’s main purpose is to help teachers incorporate probability and statistics into classes effectively. Since 2010, probability and statistics are part of Iowa’s core requirements for all students. Not all students take statistics courses, so teachers are expected to integrate these subjects with geometry and other classes.
According to Weber, students must be familiar with probability and statistics to be well-informed citizens. “You can’t pick up a newspaper without reading about polls, percentages and margins of error,” Weber said. “That’s why statistics is part of the state requirements for what every student needs to know and understand.”
In June, Central and Drake’s training program began with an eight-day workshop for 23 teachers in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Weber and Maryann Huey, assistant professor of mathematics at Drake, taught the workshop and used nightly homework, journal assignments, discussion blogs and demonstrations to engage teachers. Participating teachers will continue to work together throughout the year, and the group will develop lesson plans, assessments and other resources to share among all members.
Weber and Huey first implemented the Mathematics and Science Partnership last year with a $125,000 grant from the Department of Education, shared with Great Prairie Area Education Agency. Weber said last year’s teachers have improved dramatically, and several returned to help teach workshops this year.
The new grant, allotted from Iowa’s No Child Left Behind Act funds, now allows Weber and Huey to expand their project to other areas in Iowa and support more teachers from designated districts in need of assistance (DINA). Next year, the workshop will be held in Des Moines for teachers in the Heartland Area Education Agency.