The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools have received a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve the teaching of mathematics and science in Milwaukee public high schools.
The five-year project, the Milwaukee Master Teacher Partnership, will run from fall 2016 to summer 2021. The partnership will engage 25 teachers with master’s degrees across MPS high schools in personalized professional development and classroom-based research.
“This effort will strengthen the professional capacity of high school mathematics and science teachers and create a new generation of teacher leaders in science and mathematics,” said Michael Steele, the project leader. He is an associate professor of mathematics education and chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UWM.
The collaboration between the university and the schools will help foster content knowledge, teaching skills and development of teacher leaders in mathematics and science, said Steven Akin, mathematics and science manager for MPS.
Teachers involved in the project will select areas of interest related to mathematics and science teaching to study with UWM content experts. After designing and implementing classroom activities related to that area of study, teachers will receive “badges,” also known as micro-credentials, for their achievements.
Teachers will also work with university faculty and MPS district leaders to analyze their classroom practice and lead professional development workshops for other mathematics and science teachers in the district and state. Participating teachers receive funds for classroom equipment, salary stipends and travel subsidies to present their work at state and national education conferences.
“This collaborative effort in the areas of mathematics and science is absolutely critical to Milwaukee’s future,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Our aim is to bolster the professional capacity of high school mathematics and science teachers, teacher effectiveness in the classroom, and student learning in our urban schools.”
Said MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver: “Strong mathematics and science skills are fundamental to our students’ success. Building on the existing skills for our teachers is critical to ensuring our young people have the tools and skills they need.”
In addition to Steele and Akin, other UWM faculty and MPS professionals involved in the project are:
- Barbara Bales, associate professor of Curriculum & Instruction and director of the Center for New & Professional Educators
- Craig Berg, professor of science education and director of MACSTEP (Milwaukee Collaborative Science and Mathematics Teacher Education Program)
- Anja Blecking, assistant professor of chemistry/biochemistry
- Laura Maly, MPS mathematics specialist
- Mary Mooney, MPS mathematics specialist
- Rochelle Sandrin, MPS science curriculum specialist