March 23, 2011

Grants will support programs focused on Minnesota K-12 science teacher preparation

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Hamline University School of Education's Center for Global Environmental Education was recently awarded two federal grants totaling more than $115,000 to improve K-12 science teaching in Minnesota.

Of the state’s colleges and universities, Hamline’s award amount was second only to the University of Minnesota.

“We are pleased with the ongoing support from the Minnesota Department of Higher Education for these outstanding, integral programs. This is a recognition and endorsement of the positive impact these programs have on our state’s science teachers, and ultimately, on their students,” said Dr. John Pyle, acting dean of the School of Education.

The two grants to Hamline will provide professional development to more than 40 teachers this summer. One grant will go to the Teaching Inquiry-based Minnesota Earth Science (TIMES) project, which focuses on middle and high school earth science. The program will immerse teachers in a two-week field course studying Minnesota geology.

The second grant will support Biotechnology/Microbiology for Teachers in the Classroom (BioTIC), which will welcome teachers to Hamline this summer to focus on biotechnology and microbiology research and applications. Assistant professor and program coordinator Lee Schmitt directs both programs.

“It is exciting to receive an Improving Teacher Quality grant in such a competitive application process, but it is even better to get two,” said Schmitt. “Both of these funded projects have a rich history of helping teachers get up-to-date on current discoveries in earth and biological sciences while supporting inquiry-based teaching in the classroom.”

In all, 19 grants totaling more than $1 million were awarded to Minnesota higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations to support improved K-12 instruction in mathematics, science, civics and government, economics, history and geography.

The federal grants were made available with federal funds from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Each state’s higher education agency awards competitive grants from those funds to colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations working in partnership with one or more high-need school districts. The awards help school districts ensure that all students have teachers with the most current subject-matter knowledge and teaching skills to help all children achieve to high academic standards.

Other Minnesota Department of Education 2011-12 grant recipients include the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, Bemidji State University, Minnesota Council on Economic Education, the Bakken Museum, Minnesota State University, Mankato , College of St. Scholastica, and Augsburg College.

Learn more about Teaching Inquiry-based Minnesota Earth Science (TIMES) and the Biotechnology/Microbiology for Teachers in the Classroom (BioTIC) programs.