Schools get grant help for math programs

A two-year, $721,291 grant will fund four math coaches for teachers in Mesa County Valley School District 51 and Plateau Valley School District 50.

The Colorado Department of Education grant is expected to begin providing money to the districts July 1, pending state approval of some grant application revisions requested by the state.

District 51 Priority Schools Director Lesley Rose said she’s “99 percent sure” the grant will come through, but she is not ready to make public the names of the schools that will benefit from the grant until she hears back from the state whether the revisions are acceptable. She did say elementary and/or middle school teachers at Plateau Valley schools will receive coaching if the grant comes through, as will two District 51 middle schools and seven District 51 elementary schools.

“(Coaches) will do staff development during early release time, model lessons, and can work with small groups of students,” Rose said.

Rose said District 51 is searching for experienced teachers within the district to fill at least three of the coaching spots, while Plateau Valley is seeking one teacher to fill the fourth coaching slot. Grant recipient districts or institutions must partner with at least one other district in their area to participate in the grant program.

In the last decade, the state has provided more than 90 school districts with funding for math or science coaches through the Math & Science Partnership Grant Program.

The state department of education selected each school for the grant based on students’ math and science Transitional Colorado Assessment Program test scores and year-to-year improvement or decline in those scores. Grant money is not dependent on improvement in TCAP scores at participating schools, although Rose said the district will closely track changes in those scores to see if coaching during the grant period is helping students.

Rose said most of the Grand Valley and Collbran schools that will likely participate in the grant during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years are not Title I schools, which receive extra funding due to more than half of students qualifying for free or reduced price school meals. She said the schools selected need more help with their math scores than their science scores, which is why the district chose to use the grant for math coaches.

Although the grant only provides for math or science coaches, District 51 will begin using Title I funding this fall to provide at least one master teacher in each local Title I school. Those teachers will coach other teachers to help improve instruction in various subjects.


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