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$500K grant calculated to improve math teaching in rural California

Jan 19, 2016

University of the Pacific has received a $500,000 grant from the California Department of Education for a two-year project to improve math teaching among elementary school teachers from rural areas of Tuolumne, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

The project, a partnership with Teachers College of San Joaquin, will provide 180 hours of professional development to 35 teachers at 10 small, rural and charter schools in the three counties. The goal is to train the teachers to become leaders in math education for their schools.

"This math education project will meet a critical need for professional development for K-6 teachers in these schools," said Dennis Parker, associate professor of mathematics at Pacific and the principal investigator on the grant.

Pacific faculty and Teachers College of San Joaquin staff will collaborate on the implementation of the program.

From Pacific's Benerd School of Education, Associate Professor Rachelle Hackett will serve as program evaluator, interim Dean Linda Webster will participate on the advisory board, and Assistant Professor Antonio Sernawill head efforts to include aspiring school administrators in program activities.

Teachers College of San Joaquin graduate studies Director Sylvia Turner will collaborate.

"Historically, smaller districts in rural areas have had few options regarding mathematics education professional development," Turner said. "This project will offer a unique opportunity to further teacher education in mathematics, improve leadership skills, and build a culture of collaboration and networking."

Parker and Turner will collaborate on two summer institutes at Pacific for teacher participants this July and next. The project will also offer Saturday sessions and after-school team meetings, and address ways to expand family involvement in math homework.

According to a recent study of student performance on California Standards Tests, students who were ahead in math in second grade were still ahead five years later. And those who had success in math in seventh grade had also done well in math in second grade.

About Teachers College of San Joaquin
Founded in 2009 by the San Joaquin County Office of Education, Teachers College of San Joaquin is the first WASC-accredited institution to be housed within a county office of education and serves graduate students from across Northern California, including teachers and administrators who come from both elementary and high school settings.

About University of the Pacific
Established in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 majors in seven schools. The university's distinctive Northern California footprint also includes a campus in San Francisco, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and new graduate programs in health, food and technology fields, and in Sacramento, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and new graduate programs in health, education, business and public policy. For more information, visit

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