Rural Community Teachers in Arizona To Get Boost In Math Professional Development
With Arizona Common Core Standards for Mathematics being implemented statewide, Helios Education Foundation is helping three rural counties, Gila, Graham and Greenlee, build capacity and use interactive technology to provide relevant, high-quality professional development to 5th-9th grade math teachers. Helios is investing $1.2 million over three years into the Arizona Rural Tri-County Education Innovation Initiative (ARTEII) which will collectively impact 700 teachers in 50 schools across 22 districts.
The ARTEII vision is to develop and build the capacity to use interactive and progressive technology-based applications to change professional development delivery in the rural tri-county area. These technologies will create strong links within and among the schools and communities, providing the vehicle for implementing a strong system for professional development, classroom instruction, communication and teacher and principal collaboration.
“With the limited resources in rural Arizona, ARTEII serves as a catalyst of change and will engage the community to work together to develop and implement a cutting-edge blended model for the delivery of professional development,” said Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, Vice President and Program Director for Helios Education Foundation. “The use of technology will help better prepare these teachers to provide quality math instruction to their students plus help them work together in learning communities to enhance their depth of content understanding.”
The partners are working closely with the University of Arizona College of Mathematics which will provide the leadership and training using the Intel Mathematics Program. This researched, evidence-based 80-hour training program will address improvements to teacher skills in areas showing the greatest need based on test scores and high school dropout rates.
“We are excited to be working with the University of Arizona’s Institute for Mathematics and Education in offering the Intel Mathematics Program (IMP) training and professional learning communities in our tri-county area,” said Dr. Linda O’Dell, Gila County School Superintendent. “We anticipate that our partnership with the University of Arizona through ARTEII will elicit other interesting and unique opportunities that support our rural teachers in their efforts to increase student achievement in mathematics.”
The Tri-County area was among the first group of counties to benefit from the State of Arizona County Communications Network (SACCNET) project, which has furthered the advancement of increased broad-band capacity for schools and communities statewide.
“Our counties have worked hard to ensure connectivity to our schools and outlying communities,” said Donna McGaughey, Graham County Superintendent. “In addition to other technology grants, advances made through SACCNet to secure required bandwidth will benefit online learning communities and other technology-based activities expected as part of this project”. “Distance Learning has been and continues to be one of the many tools in our teachers’ instructional kits.”
ARTEII seeks to create Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for teachers and administrators, within their own school and districts. Inclusive of this model is increasing the capacity and expectations for students to be college and career ready in mathematics.
“In our rapidly changing world, students must be prepared for college and careers with more and better information than any generation in the past,” said Tom Powers, Greenlee County School Superintendent. “ARTEII will offer teachers in our tri-county area many opportunities to improve their instructional skills and support students in attaining the academic preparation needed to succeed in college and careers.”
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