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Scottsdale Community College - Learn. Grow. Achieve

Arizona Mathematics Partnership Helps Teachers Prepare for National Common Core Standards

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 21, 2013) -- As the state prepares to revamp the way it evaluates public school students by instituting the national Common Core standards, the Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP) is doing its part to help Valley teachers more effectively teach math to middle school students.

In March 2012, the National Science Foundation awarded an $8.7 million, 5-year grant to a partnership led by Scottsdale Community College to help middle school teachers become more effective at teaching mathematics. The AMP project provides research-based professional development to more than 300 middle school teachers.

"We want to help math teachers be prepared when the Common Core standards become the benchmark for student success," said Dr. April Strom, SCC Math Faculty and AMP Principal Investigator. "We also want them to be ready for PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which is the driving force behind next year's new online AIMS test."

Middle school teachers who commit to the two-year project, receive an annual $2,500 stipend. They will receive 200 hours of professional development. So far, teachers in seven public school districts throughout metro Phoenix are participating in the program and using these innovative instructional strategies. The strategies emphasize an inquiry-based model and real-world applications.

The first cohort of 63 teachers started in the summer of 2012. A second cohort of teachers will begin June 3. The teachers will receive training from community college math faculty focused on building content knowledge and modeling Standards for Mathematical Practice promoted by the Common Core. 

According to educational research, middle school is often where students get turned off to math. In grades 5 to 8, students tend to lose interest, which manifests as declining student success.The AMP project improves math instruction by focusing on sense-making, problem solving, and building a deeper understanding of content.

More than 65 teachers will complete a five-day Summer Institute at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) June 3-7; another 80 will complete a Summer Institute at Chandler-Gilbert Community College June 10-14.

Besides SCC, the other partners are: Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Glendale Community College, Chandler Unified School District, Deer Valley Unified School District, Florence Unified School District, Fountain Hills Unified School District, J.O. Combs Unified School District, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Schools, and Scottsdale Unified School District.

Media interested in interviewing teachers and trainers for this story should contact Jonathan Higuera at 480.425/6637 or jonathan.higuera@scottsdalecc.edu.

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