Math teacher points to PowerPoint slide displayed on a screen

Junor Clarke enhances math teachers’ skills through grant

Thanks to a recent $51,404 Teacher Quality Grant, College of Education & Human Development Clinical Associate Professor Pier Junor Clarke has partnered with College of Arts & Sciences Professor Draga Vidakovic to provide professional development and support for local high school mathematics teachers.

The project, funded by the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program, focuses on enhancing teachers’ abilities to teach analytic geometry, reasoning and sense making outlined by the Georgia Standards of Excellence.

Junor Clarke and Vidakovic led a week-long professional development workshop this summer for 10 mathematics teachers from Atlanta Public Schools and Henry County Schools. With facilitation from Professional Development Consultant, Ed Calder, the participants worked in teams to choose specific mathematics concepts and brainstorm possible ways to enhance teaching these concepts to high school students in class-based situations. Graduate research assistant Alesia Mickle also modelled mathematics technology as a suitable tool to enhance the teachers’ skills.

Essie Jones, a mathematics teacher at Stockbridge High School in Henry County, said the workshop gave her and her fellow teachers time to think about the misconceptions students may have about mathematics and provided them the opportunity to find online tools to augment their lessons.

“When I get back to school in August, I’ll have resources I can use,” she said.

Their work will continue into the 2016-2017 school year, when Junor Clarke and Vidakovic will offer two half-days follow-up workshops for focus group discussions in the fall and spring and facilitate bi-weekly online discussions for teachers to explore what they’ve learned thus far. One of the expectations is for these mathematics teachers to organize and share their experiences with others in their respective school systems.

This project is funded solely by the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title II, Part A.