More transformation for high school math and science

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A $5 million grant from federal stimulus funds will help CPS fill a
missing piece of the puzzle in its High School Transformation Project:
12th-grade math and science.

The National Science Foundation
grant will pay for 160 high school math and science teachers to attend
content-area classes and workshops on leadership and teaching, designed
by faculty at five local universities. Forty teachers each year, for
four years, will attend the classes, with the goal of becoming
teacher-leaders who work to bolster the quality of math and science
teaching at their schools. (The NSF is using stimulus funds for the
grant.)

A $5 million grant from federal stimulus funds will help CPS fill a
missing piece of the puzzle in its High School Transformation Project:
12th-grade math and science.

The National Science Foundation
grant will pay for 160 high school math and science teachers to attend
content-area classes and workshops on leadership and teaching, designed
by faculty at five local universities. Forty teachers each year, for
four years, will attend the classes, with the goal of becoming
teacher-leaders who work to bolster the quality of math and science
teaching at their schools. (The NSF is using stimulus funds for the
grant.)

Called the Chicago Transformation Teacher Institutes,
the initiative is a joint venture between CPS and DePaul, University of
Illinois at Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola, and
Northwestern. And it takes aim at a long-standing problem identified by
faculty at the schools, who have worked with CPS on programs to improve
instruction and boost student learning: Few CPS graduates are prepared
for university-level coursework in math and science.

High
School Transformation has sought to improve instruction, but its
curriculum packages covered only 9th through 11th grade. The new
initiative will help teachers identify high-quality 12th-grade math and
science curricula and support teachers in learning how to use it.

Many
of the professors involved in the new program have worked with CPS on
High School Transformation as well as providing professional
development to elementary school teachers.

Teachers from 20
schools selected by CPS will participate in the new program. If it is
successful in Chicago, NSF may take the program nationwide.

Goals
include improved scores on standardized tests and on Advanced Placement
exams; creation of additional AP courses; and having CPS graduates earn
grades of “B” or better in college math and science courses. However,
the initiative will track only the grades of those students who enroll
at the five participating universities.

One of the major
factors in selecting the participating schools will be the level of
support and enthusiasm teachers show for the project, says UIC
spokesperson Paul Francuch.  “We want teachers who demonstrate ability
and want to do it, who can be leaders in their schools.”

Contributing: Catalyst intern Elaine Williams

Reach Sarah Karp at karp@catalyst-chicago.org