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Support, training of math educators in rural school districts aided by $7.9M

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(The Center Square) – Sixteen rural school districts in North Carolina will get help on math education through a $7.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, a release says.

Instruction support to individual teachers is planned using Patterns, a program created by Carnegie Learning and implemented in 19 states over the last six years. The funding is from the federal Education Innovation and Research grant program, which received and approved North Carolina’s PRISM proposal.

PRISM is an acronym for Patterns for Reaching and Impacting Students in Math. The proposal included the state Department of Public Instruction, Carnegie Learning and WedEd. The goal is to “serve historically marginalized groups in STEM (e.g., Black students), students in the lowest achievement quartile, and students from low-income backgrounds,” the release says.

STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.

Math tests scores in the state point to the need for assistance in rural areas.

“Instead of attending one workshop and being left to implement what they learn on their own, educators who participate in PRISM will work with coaches and other teachers, both in person and virtually, over the course of two academic years,” said state Superintendent Catherine Truitt. “This will allow them to implement targeted interventions and instructional strategies in their classrooms, assess their efficacy and revise them to better meet students’ needs – resulting in a demonstrable impact on student learning.”

In National Assessment of Educational Progress for math, the 2021-22 students were five points lower than before COVID-19. The state, at the behest of Gov. Roy Cooper and then-Secretary Mandy Cohen of the Health Department, shuttered schools in spring 2020 and tried to implement remote learning. In some areas of the state, the school closures continued into 2020-21.

The release says “only 14% of Black students and 19% of Hispanic students” scored proficiency on the math assessment. End-of-year test results were similar.

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