Helios Education Foundation Supports UA College of Education and Amphitheater School District Math Project

Posted on: December 4, 2009

The Helios Education Foundation has awarded a $49,926 grant to Improving Fifth Grade Students' Understanding of Rational Numbers, a project instituted by the University of Arizona College of Education.

The project supports all fifth grade teachers in Tucson's Amphitheater School District with the development of their content knowledge and understanding of how to effectively teach rational numbers - fractions, decimals and percentages - through a series of seven 90-minute workshops.

"The district's goal is that teachers will use the information they receive to embellish classroom instruction so that we are providing maximum focus on these essential math concepts, resulting in greater student learning district-wide," said Cathy Eiting, chief academic officer for the Amphitheater School District.

By improving teachers' knowledge and understanding, the project's directors - Drs. Thomas Good, Darrell Sabers and Marcy Wood, all UA College of Education faculty members - hope students' math skills will thrive, as well. The project aims to prepare students for the many years of math ahead of them - from algebra to college-level mathematics - by improving their skills in and understanding of rational numbers.

"Dr. Good and his team have created a program that will help ensure that teachers can be successful with all students in this vital area of mathematics education," said Ronald W. Marx, dean of the UA College of Education.

"Increasing curriculum rigor focused on math, science and literacy skills is imperative for tomorrow's workforce," added Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. "Helios' $49,926 commitment to Improving Fifth Grade Students' Understanding of Rational Numbers helps math teachers further develop their content knowledge and their ability to effectively teach rational numbers. In return, students become better prepared for high school and postsecondary education success."

The project's directors agree one of the main reasons for students' inability to understand algebra in high school is the lack of sufficient education in rational numbers from fifth grade and beyond. Without skills in rational numbers, many do not succeed in high school math courses.

"Students who do not pass algebra typically do not complete higher levels of mathematics coursework and may even fail to complete high school," said Good. "The mathematical ability of our future generations may be centered in, and limited by, one mathematics content area - algebra."

The Helios Education Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization serving Arizona and Florida focused solely on education, and is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education.
The UA Foundation is one of the largest foundations in Arizona, raising more than $100 million annually. Managing an asset base of nearly $500 million, the UA Foundation has helped generate more than $2 billion in private funding to support the University of Arizona.

Category: College and Career Readiness

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