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April 3, 2007 > Local leaders hail new math grant

Local leaders hail new math grant

Funds will be used to retain math instructors at lowest performing school

Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan and Senator Pro Tem Don Perata announced today the acquisition of a new state math grant that is part of an initiative to increase the number of well-prepared mathematics teachers and improve teacher retention at underperforming schools in the county.

Jordan and Perata made the announcement during a press conference at the San Leandro High School library. San Leandro Unified School District Superintendent was among several education leaders who attended the press conference.

Sen. Perata pushed for the $1.8 million grant during the state budget negotiations last year, successfully securing the allotment. The Alameda County Office of Education worked collaboratively with both the San Diego and Fresno County Offices of Education to respond to this very competitive grant process. Their successful proposal pooled expertise and proven resources among the three county offices.

"This one-year grant is a great opportunity," Jordan said. "The next logical step is to leverage this collaboration to identify additional funding that enables us to focus on retention of these new teachers during the critical first three to five years. Some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years. This can be prevented with focused and meaningful support that has been proven to increase teacher retention."

"Having qualified math teachers is essential for our children's future and our state's economic development," Sen. Perata said. "This money will go a long way in helping teachers who work at underperforming schools successfully do their job."

Under the terms of the $1.8 million award, Alameda County will receive $600,000, San Diego County will get $800,000 and Fresno County will be awarded $400,000.

Jordan said ACOE will use its share of the funds by working closely with California State University, East Bay to identify upper division math majors for teaching careers. Once identified, these teacher candidates will receive assistance, including tuition reimbursement, to complete their credentials. Once they receive their credentials, they will receive additional tuition reimbursement incentives to work at low-performing school in Alameda County.

A second component focuses on improving preparation of current math teachers. Qualifying teachers will receive stipends to attend focused professional development. Additionally, site math coaches will be trained to continue to provide direct one-on-one support to new math teachers.

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