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Math Initiative in Omaha Gets $5.5 Million From Two Foundations

More than 250 mathematics teachers from the Omaha, Neb., school district will take graduate coursework over the next three years to improve their instruction under a $5.5 million grant recently announced that comes from the Sherwood and Lozier foundations.

The project aims to build on several math education initiatives at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that have been developed with support from the National Science Foundation, and that connect the university with Nebraska districts, according to a press release issued last month. Key goals of the Omaha initiative are to strengthen math learning in Omaha classrooms, narrow achievement gaps between different student populations, and conduct research that continues to inform school-improvement efforts, said Jim Lewis, a math professor and the director of the university's Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education, in the news release.

"This dramatic investment in Omaha's mathematics teachers will impact student learning throughout the district, both in the short term and long term," Lewis said.

The NebraskaMATH Omaha Public School Teacher Leader Academy will offer several programs for teachers, including Primarily Math, which provides coursework and professional development for K-3 teachers, a Math in the Middle program that leads to a master's degree for teachers in grades 4-8, and fellowships for K-12 math teachers to take graduate courses at no cost. In addition, the private grant will support six K-3 and two middle-grades math coaches for the Omaha district.

University faculty will study the impact of the coursework and related professional development on teachers' beliefs and knowledge, student outcomes, and school culture, the press release says.

You can read more about the initiative from this National Science Foundation press release.

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