Math and Science Teachers Get Orientation for CIMS Grant Project

March 12, 2010 Donna Whitlock

An orientation will be held for incoming peer mentors who will support participants in the Certification Initiative in Mathematics and Science (CIMS) program on Monday, March 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Beaver College Room in Landman Library.

Arcadia University was awarded $1.6 million grant last fall for a Certification Initiative in Mathematics and Science (CIMS) project to implement and evaluate an innovative program designed to increase the number of regular and special education teachers who become "highly qualified" teachers of secondary mathematics or science in Pennsylvania school districts. The grant was announced by the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Eligible Partnerships in Post Secondary Education Program.

The mentors will receive a welcome and introduction to Arcadia University and its School of Continuing Studies. An informational session about mentoring and coaching teachers in the CIMS grant will be presented by a representative from Foundations Inc.

"Our partner school districts face challenges in recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers in secondary science and math," says Dr. Erik Nelson, Founding Dean of Continuing Studies at Arcadia University. "The CIMS program helps them in three ways. First, current teachers in these districts will be able to become fully certified and highly qualified in math and science. Second, the special education teachers who become highly qualified will be able to serve as the teacher of record or participate fully in a co-teaching math or science classroom, which allows the districts to foster and execute a more inclusive learning environment for all students. And third, the participants and their mentors will build partnerships within each district that foster an engaged teaching community and increase teacher retention."

The partner schools in the program are the School District of Lancaster, the Allentown School District, the School District of Philadelphia, and the Reading School District.

The community college partners in the CIMS project are Lehigh-Carbon Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Reading Area Community College. "As more community colleges are offering two-year teacher education programs, this type of collaboration is especially timely due to the imminent changes in certifications requirements," adds Nelson.

Arcadia faculty and staff members who are involved with the project include Dr. Edward Wolff, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics; Dr. John Hoffman, Professor of Biology and Founding Dean of the College of Business, Health & Sciences; Dr. Emanuele Curotto, Associate Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Julia Plummer, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Science Education; Dr. Peter Appelbaum, Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Mathematics Education; Dr. Steve Gulkus, Professor and Chair of Arcadia's Department of Education; Dr. Trudie Bennett, Assistant Dean of Continuing Studies; Emily Netter, Grant Coordinator; and Nelson. Read more about the grant-funded project.