Professors get NSF grant for math
reform in Virginia's public schools
By Sally Harris
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 09 - October 23, 1997
Wayne Patty of the Virginia Tech mathematics department and Harold Mick of mathematics and teaching and learning have been awarded a five-year $744,985 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant on "Systemic Reform of Mathematics 6-12 for Rural Virginia."
Patty and Mick are the principal investigators, and the public-school divisions of Buckingham County, Craig County, Montgomery County, Nottoway County, and the City of Roanoke are the partners with Virginia Tech. The grant provides each of the 174 mathematics teachers in the participating schools professional development built around nationally developed, modern NSF-funded instructional material that is to replace traditional textbooks.
The project's major objective is to provide all the mathematics teachers with the background and resources to achieve whole-school reform in mathematics through the implementation of a mathematically integrated, standards-based, student-oriented curriculum. Such a curriculum is based on problem solving by the students themselves with the teacher as facilitator. The teacher-enhancement curriculum is structured around 10-day summer workshops, academic-year experiences that carry credit as graduate courses, five-day summer workshops that follow the two-week summer workshops, and intervening graduate courses and two-hour follow-up academic-year sessions.
Quantitative and qualitative methodologies will capture the various phases of technology use by making such things as graphics calculators and computers an integral part of the problem solving as required by the Standards of Learning. The methodologies also will address such questions as: What aspects of technology are important? How does technology interact with curriculum? How do students use technology? How do teachers use technology?
A pilot project, supported by a $63,749 Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Program grant for the year July 1, 1997, to June 30, 1998, provides professional development for selected middle-school mathematics teachers in Montgomery County and the mathematics teachers in Patrick Henry High School in the City of Roanoke.