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Grant expands Project SEED math program in West County schools

The Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation has made a grant to support the expansion of Project SEED, the program that teaches concepts in algebra, geometry and calculus to elementary students, Schools Superintendent Gloria Johnston has announced.

The Seed grant of $100,000 added 11 Project Seed classrooms and will also provide additional teacher training and coaching. “Project SEED successfully engages our students in advanced mathematics, before they get the false message that this subject is too difficult for them,” said Johnston. “ Inspiring confidence in our students early on is key to reforming instruction in our district, especially in mathematics. This grant will also help us meet the stale mandate for students to complete Algebra 1 by 8th grade, and will help prepare our teachers for this initiative,” she said.

Project SEED, a national mathematics program, prepares mathematics specialists to teach in ways that make abstract mathematics easy to understand for students in elementary school. Their traditional programs takes place 14 to 16 weeks a year as an addition to the regular math curriculum. Classroom teachers learn the project’s method by observing and participating in the instruction and through one-on-one coaching by the SEED instructor.

All Project SEED instructors have at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, science or engineering, and many hold a master’s or doctorate.

Project SEED instructors ask questions about small, understandable bits of complex ideas. As the questions become more complex, so does the understanding. Older students, who may be inhibited by early experiences of failure in learning math, often have more difficulty with this material. Students can respond to virtually every question by using common hand gestures, and by observing these gestures the instructor monitors how well the entire class understands what is being taught. When called upon, individuals are required to explain their answers, and this enhances their verbal skills.

Last year the program reached over 14,000 students at schools in West Contra Costa, Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Camden, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Berkeley, and Oakland.

Run dates: 2000-03-01 - 2000-03-20

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