University Receives Grant to Help Improve Low Number of Qualified Math/Science Teachers in Region


University Receives Grant to Help Improve Low Number of Qualified Math/Science Teachers in Region
Math professor Laurie Riggs will oversee the creation of a Mathematics Teaching Center within the university?s Department of Mathematics, made possible by a federal grant.

The California Postsecondary Education Commission awarded Cal Poly Pomona a three-year grant totaling $861,805 in federal money that is earmarked for improving the quality of teaching and learning in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

In response to the severe shortage of qualified math and science teachers in California, and especially Los Angeles where half of the state's uncredentialed teachers work, Cal Poly Pomona will establish a Mathematics Teaching Center within its Department of Mathematics. This center will help recruit new teachers, assist the current teachers completing their certification requirements and assist new teachers with induction and continuing professional development.

The university will partner with the unified school districts of Pomona, Rialto, Rowland and Snowline. These districts have many teachers who are not highly qualified under the No Child Left Behind Act and student test scores are well below the state averages. Cal Poly Pomona math professor Laurie Riggs will oversee the project, which is expected to serve more than 40,000 middle and high school students in more than 30 schools.

According to Riggs, research has documented that teacher quality, especially in the core content areas, is the most important school-based factor in determining student achievement. Teachers that are not fully credentialed tend to be clustered in ?hard to teach? schools leaving students with the highest need at risk.

?Well-prepared teachers help produce well-prepared students, and the mathematics department is committed to a sustained relationship with our partner districts as we seek to support this important cause,? says Riggs.
The California Postsecondary Education Commission has administered federal funds to improve teacher professional development since 1984.