Innovation Grant to University of Southern Colorado

ExxonMobil Foundation President Ed Ahnert  presenting check to University of Southern Colorado team members Hortensia Soto-Johnson and Bud Allen.

Washington, D.C.—The Department of Mathematics at the University of Southern Colorado has received a $3,000 innovation grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation to develop a math education program at USC that will be responsive to the needs of middle schools throughout southeastern Colorado.

Members of the grant’s planning team are: Project Coordinator Hortensia Soto Johnson of the Department of Mathematics, Ernest “Bud” Allen, Interim Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, Victoria Marquesen, Associate Dean of the College of Education, Engineering, and Professional Studies, and Cheryl Delong, Director of Instruction of Pueblo School District 70.

The grant, announced at the recent National Summit on the Mathematical Education of Teachers, will allow USC faculty to collaborate with 17 partner school districts, to develop a plan to supplement USC mathematics content courses to meet the needs of middle school teachers, revise the mathematics methods course, create alternative course delivery systems, and identify support and incentives for future students.

Severe teacher shortages, changes in the needs of student populations and inadequate incentives for future teachers have combined to create a dire situation in middle schools in the region. The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive plan to assure that all middle school students across southeastern Colorado have well-prepared, qualified teachers of mathematics. The project will develop a strategic plan which includes:

bulletDesign of a mathematics curriculum targeted for future middle school math teachers.
bullet Reform of the secondary mathematics methods course.
bulletDesign of a new delivery system for some math classes.
bulletPlan for scholarship resources and incentives for students in the program.

According to last year’s Glenn commission report Before It’s Too Late, the most direct route to improving mathematics achievement for all students is better mathematics teaching. The ExxonMobil Foundation is offering a total of twelve grants nationwide in support of the belief that the mathematics community can lead the way in providing good models for building the kinds of cooperative efforts needed for long-term improvement of teacher education.