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Eastern's Department of Education to Receive Grant

Written by Emily Bonoyer


Education Grant      

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Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University has been named the recipient of a three-year grant to participate in the teacher quality partnership program, "Science Matters! Building Content and Literacy Knowledge." Funding of up to $110,000 has been granted for the current year from the Connecticut Department of Education, with Eastern eligible to apply for additional funding the next two years.

The grant begins this summer and involves 30 teachers from the towns of Norwich, Windham, Killingly, Madison and Somers.

            The teachers will attend 10 days of content-intensive professional development in science, technology and literacy presented by Eastern's faculty from the University's School of Arts and Sciences. The workshops are based on the Connecticut State frameworks in science and literacy, which are major conceptual themes and content standards that all students are expected to learn in their elementary, middle and high school science and literacy classes. Faculty in Eastern's Education Department also will provide hands-on learning for specific teaching environments.

            Teachers will spend one day at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, opening in spring 2009, focusing on connections to literature and literacy. On other days they will work with staff from Project Learning Tree from the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the University's Institute for Sustainable Energy.         

            Participants will complete the following tasks: increase the breadth and depth of their scientific, technological and literacy content knowledge; integrate content knowledge of science, technology and literacy into instructional practices across grades 3-6 school curriculum; provide staff development to disseminate and support evidence-based literacy practices to building and district teachers in grades 3-6; and build professional relationships that will strengthen all programs.       

            "Eastern Connecticut State University is to be commended for the high quality of its application and commitment to serving Connecticut's teachers," said Connie Frasier from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education in a letter to the University. "Your application was among 17 submitted and eight selected for conditional approval."

            "I'm delighted that Eastern will be able to offer high-quality professional development for teachers in our partner districts this summer," said Jeanelle Day, associate professor of education and project director of the grant program. "This is an incredible opportunity for the faculty from the Education Department and the School of Arts and Sciences to work together and help our elementary teachers improve their content knowledge in science. Participating teachers will also learn new strategies for integrating science and literacy within the constraints of their schedules. The grant allows us to provide instruction in the use of new district materials, including technology, which will be made available to the districts after the summer workshops," said Day.  

            Other Eastern faculty involved with the project include Susannah Richards, assistant professor of education and project co-director of the grant; Catherine Tannahill, associate professor of education and project coordinator of the grant; Fred Loxsom, endowed chair of environmental earth science; James Hyatt, professor of environmental earth science; Lori Brant, education coordinator at Connecticut Forest and Park Association;  Laurel Kohl, energy technical specialist at the Institute for Sustainable Energy; Peter Drzewiecki, associate professor of environmental earth science; Ross Koning, professor of biology; Patricia Szczys, assistant professor of biology; and Russell Sampson, associate professor of physical sciences.   


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