College of Education receives over $30K from Castle Foundation

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jennifer Beaulieu, 956-4388
College of Education
Posted: Oct 22, 2007

The Castle Foundation awarded $34,613 to the College of Education Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) in support of a professional development partnership with Blanche Pope Elementary School (BPES). Hannah Slovin and Maria DaSilva of CRDG met with Ofelia Carag, principal of BPES, earlier this year to discuss student achievement and teaching capacity in mathematics. According to Slovin, this project is a part of a grant focused on improving mathematics teaching and learning in the Waimanalo community.

The partnership with BPES will continue for at least two years — the first focusing on pedagogical content knowledge and practices and the second providing follow-up and further training. This summer, the program began with a three-day mathematics content institute, visits by BPES teachers to UH Laboratory School mathematics classes, and collaborative teaming between CRDG staff and BPES teachers.

As part of their collaborative exercises, CRDG staff grouped BPES teachers into small learning communities. "Teaching really happens in isolation, and this breaks down that isolation," DaSilva said. "We‘re not judging them; rather, we‘re there to support reflective teaching practices." These groups enable teachers to observe, be observed, and provide each other with feedback. "Teachers are empowered because the direction is coming from the person being observed, not from us telling them what to do," Slovin added.

Topics of professional development will be linked to the Hawaiʻi content and performance standards III and to other areas in which BPES students score low on the Hawaiʻi state assessment. A high priority will be given to the mathematics process standards with a focus on communication in mathematics. Teachers from BPES will visit the UH Laboratory School at least twice during the school year to see the process standards implemented in a heterogeneously-grouped classroom, to gain an understanding of Measure Up, a CRDG project, and to reflect on their own practices and expectations of students.

On the program‘s success, DaSilva has heard more than once, "What could I have become if I had learned mathematics in this way?"


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