State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

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2017-2018 Awards

For the 2017-2018 school year, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia awarded seven competitive awards. The professional development grants will be used to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping Virginia schools and school districts improve teacher and principal quality and to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified in the core subjects they teach.


College of William and Mary - SURN Visible Leaders Impact Learning: Data, Feedback, Action 2.0
Project Director: Dr. Amy C. Colley 
Amount: $225,000.00

Abstract: SURN Visible Leaders Impact Learning: Data, Feedback, Action 2.0 cultivates a shared language of learning through collaborative observations and professional development for principles (115), teacher leaders (104), and central office supervisors (31) to improve learning and teaching. Teachers focus on nonfiction reading and problem-solving (grades 3-5) or college and career readiness skills (grades 6-12) and create exemplar learning guides using the lesson study process that will be disseminated on the Useful Strategies for Engaging Students Database. Administrators and their mentors (10) engage in school-based coaching and provide teachers with specific, formative feedback in post-observation dialogues using the SURN Indicators of Student Engagement tool. The focus on data, feedback, and action supports increased student learning. 

George Mason University - SPARK STEM: Optimizing STEM Learning through Mathematical & Scientific Modeling
Project Director: Dr. Jennifer Suh
Amount: $125,456.00

Abstract: This project will focus on professional development for vertical teams of Grades 4-8 middle grades math and science teachers, to develop and use problem-based learning modules called SPARK STEM to promote mathematical and scientific modeling. The project will recruit 80 teachers, coaches and administrators from Title One Schools with high English Language Learners to support with visual and hands-on learning approaches. The summer academy will immerse participants in mathematical and scientific modeling PBLs that they will implement in the academic year through Lesson Study. School team will document the impact on student learning and disseminate their PBL resources and outcomes at the Spring symposium and through the SPARK STEM website. 

Hampton University - Biodiversity in the Critical Zone 
Project Director: Dr. Dianne Q. Robinson 

Abstract: Hampton University will collaborate with Portsmouth Public Schools and the Elizabeth River Project to provide thirty-two teachers, grades 7-12, including special needs, with a year-long professional development graduate course, Biodiversity in the Critical Zone. It will consist of: Phase-I, a 2-day residential field study at Kiptopeke Park, where the teachers will conduct environmental field investigations; Phase-II, 11 (3hr) after school sessions emphasizing: science content related to biodiversity in the critical zone; the integrated VDOE co-teaching inclusion model; the place-based field investigations at the Paradise Creek Nature Park (PCNP) Outdoor Classroom. While at the PCNP the teachers will learn to conduct investigations using remote sensing tools (NASA AEOKATS and Labquest probes and sensors) to obtain, analyze and visualize environmental data. Phase-III will consist of a 3-day residential capstone at James River State Park, where teachers will continue with their field investigations and present their final 5E modules/posters for review. 

Longwood University - Inspiring Teachers fro Engaged Learners (InTEL) 
Project Director: Dr. Paula K. Leach
Amount: $99,795.00

Abstract: Inspiring Teachers for Engaged Learners (InTEL), will develop and implement an interdisciplinary STEM professional development experience for 20 teachers in grades 3-8 in 7 rural school districts in Southside Virginia. InTEL will provide professional development on the integration of technology, pedagogy that supports alternative assessments (PBL), and global collaboration in order to promote critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship in the classroom (5Cs) and improve student achievement in the classroom through increased student engagement. There are four components: 1) Five-day professional development; 2) Online fall book study; 3) Year-long interaction and face-to-face meetings with project staff to assist with implementation of strategies into the classroom; and 4) Showcase in Spring 2018.

Randolph College - Teaching Math and Science in a Changing World
Project Director: Dr. Peggy Schimmoeller
Amount: $149,996.00

Abstract: This project is a continuation of our Science and Mathematics Institute with integrated literacy for forty 3-9th grade teachers. It is designed to increase content knowledge and promote the use of inquiry-based pedagogy aligned to the Virginia SOL. The project will serve six urban and rural public school divisions and two community-based non-profit organizations. The project includes five phases: (I) classroom mini-grants for development of inquiry-based activities, (II) two interactive and content-based teaching Institutes, each summer for one week, (III) instructional practice, (IV) classroom observations, and (V) teacher-led workshops. The partnership is expected to enhance teacher quality and improve science and mathematics achievement, narrowing the achievement gap of 9th grade Earth Science and 3rd – 8th grade students. Effectiveness will be assessed through multiple research methods.

University of Mary Washington - STEMLabs and Problem-Based Learning to Build STEM Knowledge
Project Director: Dr. Venitta McCall
Amount: $199,998.00

Abstract: STEMLabs and Design Briefs for Building STEM Knowledge is a program designed to provide middle and high school STEM teachers techniques in using problem-based learning in a Makerspace setting to improve teacher content knowledge and provide a new model for delivery of that content.  Faculty from the UMW Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences and educators from the Friends of the Rappahannock will partner with approximately one hundred teachers and administrators from seven high-needs school divisions from Superintendent’s Region III to develop a program of intense, high quality educational experiences that utilize a problem-based learning context, the Design Brief, to deliver middle and high school mathematics and science concepts aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning.  

The University of Virginia's College at Wise - Math of the Mountains 
Project Director: Ms. Adrienne Hood
Amount: $150,000.00

Abstract: This is a partnership among The University of Virginia’s at Wise Center for Teaching Excellence, the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium (SVPEC), 19 school divisions in Southwest Virginia, Breaks Interstate Park, Claytor Lake State Park, Natural Tunnel State Park and the Southwest Virginia Council of Teacher Mathematics (SVCTM), is designed to improve mathematics education in the 19 divisions focusing on real world math scenarios and place based learning principles found in our region’s state parks. This goal will be accomplished by guiding 60 participating teachers through online and face to face learning academies in which they will create learning modules that focus on concrete examples of mathematical concepts and place based learning.

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