NCSS receives $216K Mathematics and Science Partnership grant

COVINGTON — The Newton County School System has received a $216,010 Mathematics and Science Partnership grant from the Georgia Department of Education that will provide for continued professional development.

According to NCSS, the school system was previously awarded a two-year MSP grant for $174,772 in 2012-13, and $163,585 in 2013-14, which involved professional development in the areas of math and science.

“The Newton County MSP project included two components, with each consisting of 160 hours of professional learning over the two-year period,” said Dr. Kathy Garber, NCSS grants coordinator. “Classes were held periodically during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, as well as during week-long summer workshops held in June 2013 and 2014.”

One of the component courses included a K-5 Math Endorsement program consisting of three courses in the subjects of numbers and operations, geometry and measurement, algebra, patterns and data analysis. A math consultant from Griffin Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) and a math instructor from Gordon College taught these courses. Upon completion, 28 NCSS teachers were able to add the K-5 Math Endorsement to their Georgia Teaching Certificates. These courses emphasized applying the Concrete-Representational-Abstract approach to teaching mathematics, engaging teachers in several hands-on activities to assist them in helping students to better understand math concepts. Teachers additionally had the chance to attend the Georgia Math Conference sponsored by the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics at Rock Eagle last October. Many of these instructors will be attending the conference again this fall with MSP funding.

The second component was a Middle School Science Professional Learning program in Earth, Life and Physical Science taught by professors from Georgia Tech and Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). Teachers were instructed in all three areas of middle school science, with emphasis on showing students how to perform scientific experiments as scientists do, instead of solely reading about them. A number of field trips were involved, and teachers attended the Georgia Science Teachers Association Conference in Macon last year. They will have the opportunity to attend the GSTA Conference again in 2015. Twenty-five NCSS middle school teachers completed the entire two years of the program.

The Newton MSP has been recognized as having one of the highest attendance and retention rates in the state, with teachers remaining in the program for the entire two years. Consequentially, Garber, who also serves as the MSP project director, has been invited to do a poster presentation entitled “MSP: Maximizing Success for the Partnership” at the MSP National Convention in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

“The success of our previous MSP project was also considered in the awarding of a new grant for the two years beginning in October 2014 and lasting through September 2016,” said Garber. “Newton County will receive a total of $216,010 in MSP funds this year, and it is anticipated that the district will receive an additional $200,000-plus next school year, pending continuation of federal funding for the program.”