Black Hills State University is a partner in five of seven grants recently awarded to public universities along with South Dakota K-12 schools. A total of $350,000 has been awarded in grants to improve science and mathematics instruction in the middle and high schools.

The partnerships each received about $50,000 to fund their projects from April 2009 to September 2010. Grant recipients are:

  • BHSU, along with the University of Sioux Falls and Waverly School District, for a “South Dakota Counts” project;
  • BHSU, along with South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the Todd County and Newell school districts, for a “South Dakota Counts” project;
  • BHSU, along with Dakota State University and Winner School District, for a “South Dakota Counts” project;
  • BHSU, along with Todd County and Shannon County school districts, for a “Modeling Physics Instruction in South Dakota” project;
  • BHSU, along with Andes Central, Northwestern, and Newell school districts, for a “Life Science Concepts for Teachers” project;
  • SDSU, along with McLaughlin School District, for an “AstroMATH 2009” project;
  • The University of South Dakota, along with Avon School District, for a “Science and Mathematics Instruction for South Dakota in the 21st Century” project.

The intent is to provide specialized professional development for middle and high school teachers of math and science, involving higher education faculty, local school districts, and other education agencies and partners to achieve a statewide impact, said Gary Johnson, system vice president of research for the South Dakota Board of Regents. The board administers the grant funds under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

“The aim is high-quality instruction in college-preparatory science and math courses for all students, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances,” Johnson said. “Particular attention is paid to projects that closely align to the state’s academic content standards and build on initiatives already under way by the state Department of Education,” he said.

For example, Johnson said several of the projects awarded this year will extend the education department’s initiative, South Dakota Counts, to the middle and high school levels. South Dakota Counts has focused on math instruction at the elementary level in an effort to deepen teachers’ knowledge of math content and instruction.

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