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CONTACT: Kathleen Thames
(337) 482-6397 kat@louisiana.edu
Sept. 5, 2012
$1.8 Million Grant Dedicated to Teaching Math
Dr. Peter Sheppard, an associate professor of education at UL Lafayette, is touting the exponential power of a $1.8 million grant the university has received from the National Science Foundation.

The NSF funds only the most innovative and academically rigorous proposals in science and education.

UL Lafayette will choose 20 outstanding math teachers from Lafayette, Iberia and Vermilion parishes to participate in the Louisiana Mathematics Masters in the Middle program. These master teachers will enroll in graduate courses at UL Lafayette. They will also lead professional learning communities among their peers and mentor UL Lafayette students majoring in education.

These exceptional teachers will also instruct a group of 300 middle school students in intensive summer enrichment programs. These summer programs will be held on the UL Lafayette campus for three consecutive years, beginning in 2014.

"The teachers we're seeking are the cream of the crop — teachers who are already highly engaged with students and have proven themselves to be effective educators. We will help them to upgrade their teaching skills even further. Ultimately, this will benefit students," Sheppard said.

Master teachers "will target students who possess hidden potential or have unmet needs. Regardless of how they have performed previously in mathematics, all students who enroll in the enrichment program will benefit from being taught by these skillful teachers," he added.

Sheppard, interim head of UL Lafayette's Department of Curriculum and Instruction in its College of Education, said Masters in the Middle is based on a nationwide effort to bolster education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Sheppard, also an associate professor of education who specializes in mathematics, is the principal investigator for this project.

Recruitment for potential applicants will begin this fall and teachers will apply to participate in the program in Spring 2013. To be considered, applicants must have at least three years' teaching experience, a master's degree, and be qualified for admission to UL Lafayette's graduate school.

"Most important, applicants will have to demonstrate exceptional teaching abilities through both objective and qualitative measures," Sheppard said.

Successful candidates will each receive a $10,000 stipend per year and will be certified as Louisiana elementary mathematics specialists. This certification signifies the ability to provide instructional leadership in K-8 mathematics.

Sheppard and three other UL Lafayette faculty members —Dr. Kathleen Lopez, an associate professor of mathematics, and Drs. Patricia Beaulieu and Christina Eubanks-Turner, assistant professors of mathematics — successfully submitted the proposal to NSF and will implement all aspects of the grant, including teaching the project's graduate level courses.



Document last revised Wednesday, September 5, 2012 9:27 AM

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