UMASS DARTMOUTH AWARDED teacher training Grant

Dartmouth, MAAn interdisciplinary team of educators at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have been awarded a $40,000 professional development grant to work with middle school teachers in New Bedford. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education funded the project entitled Literacy and Content Required Here with resources earmarked to improve teacher quality under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Dartmouth, MA—An interdisciplinary team of educators at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have been awarded a $40,000 professional development grant to work with middle school teachers in New Bedford. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education funded the project entitled “Literacy and Content Required Here” with resources earmarked to improve teacher quality under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. 

This innovative teacher-training project is collaboration between Dr. Marjorie Condon, Executive Director of the UMD Center for Teaching and Learning, UMass Education Professor Dr. Cynthia G. Kruger, and Keith Middle School under the leadership of principal Steve DeRossi. 

“We are honored that the Board of Higher Education is funding such a worthwhile program that will benefit so many teachers and, ultimately thousands of students,” said Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. “The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is committed to developing meaningful and creative K-16 partnerships. Our faculty is doing great things in the community and this project is an excellent example.” 

The grant will support professional development for middle school teachers in New Bedford and focus on differentiated instructional methods. Twenty-five teachers from Keith, Roosevelt, and Normandin Middle Schools will participate in a special summer institute directed by professors from the University of Virginia and Dr. Maureen Hall of UMass Dartmouth. This summer institute is designed by the University of Virginia and follows the nationally recognized Tomlinson model of differentiated instruction. 

The academic program is under the direction of Dr. Kruger who will coordinate the spring and fall programs. Four UMass Dartmouth professors will serve as content specialists and observe classroom teachers at Keith Middle School in the disciplines of math, science, social studies, and literacy. The UMass faculty will then conduct classes in these disciplines as demonstrations for the classroom teachers. Research has shown that teaching professional prefer to have other content specialists observe in their classes and afterwards provide training to those teachers in the instructional concepts, such as differentiated instruction. 

Follow-up after-school discussions among teachers and content specialists are incorporated into the project to provide New Bedford middle school teachers new and exciting opportunities for professional growth. The literacy section of the grant also provides a literacy coach to the Keith Middle School literacy teachers to assist them in developing lesson plans and to provide input for teachers on improving their instructional methods. 

“Research studies clearly point to the importance of literacy development by middle school student to bridge the gap between the elementary and high school grades,” added Dr. Kruger. 


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