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MSU program designed to enhance the teaching of math and science to underserved populations in Montana receives $100,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Bozeman -- The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has awarded $100,000 to the Montana State University Foundation to support Teaching Engineering Applications in Math and Science (TEAMS).
TEAMS is an innovative program run by the College of Engineering at MSU that is designed to provide professional development for middle school math and science teachers in and around Montana's Native American communities and increase awareness of the value of using engineering applications to teach math and science content. The grant was part of $8.4 million awarded to 84 diverse non-profit organizations by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in its latest round of grants.
The funding will be used to expand the reach of the TEAMS program over the next two years and grow teacher knowledge and application of engineering lessons well into the future.
"I was impressed with the TEAMS group from the first time I met them," said Anson Fatland, senior program officer at the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. "They bring knowledge and excitement for professional development directly to the teachers, particularly those working in and around Native American communities. Given the geographic breadth of the participating schools, this is an impressive undertaking. The program will positively impact thousands of students every year, providing educational opportunities they otherwise may not have."
TEAMS is a program designed to benefit students in the most rural and underserved areas of Montana and schools with large Native American enrollment. It is a professional development program targeting middle school teachers that aims to increase knowledge of math and science teaching by incorporating engineering applications into their curriculum. Teachers are expected to take what they learn about engineering back to their classrooms and develop new lessons that incorporate engineering into their regular math, science or technical education classrooms. The TEAMS program was started in 2008 with initial funding from the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation.
Sheree Watson, program director for TEAMS, says that the grant from the Allen Family Foundation will allow them to increase participation of teachers from schools that serve Native American students and impact an additional 4,000 students. They plan to do this by bringing the summer training workshops to the teachers in their communities.
"Bozeman is hundreds of miles away from the schools targeted by the TEAMS program," said Watson. "We have dedicated educators in those schools who want to participate, but they can't make the trip to MSU, either because of the distance or because they are working with students throughout the summer. So we're going to bring the workshops to them."
In addition to on-site training and follow-up by TEAMS faculty and graduate students, Watson said that the funds provided by the Paul G. Allen Foundation will be used to develop an interactive website for educators throughout the state and beyond, based on teachers' lessons developed in the first two years of the program. TEAMS faculty also plan to travel to teacher meetings within Montana as well as other parts of the United States to share their findings and teacher-developed curriculum.
"This is a big win for teachers and students in underserved areas of our state," said Melissa Dulin, director of corporate and foundation relations at the MSU Foundation, who helped TEAMS apply for the grant. "It delivers on MSU President Cruzado's commitment in her inauguration speech that MSU will pay even closer attention to the needs of our tribal and rural communities."
TEAMS was an outgrowth of the Designing Our Community (DOC) program, a support program for Native American students in MSU's College of Engineering, which started in 2003 with a $735,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Native American students comprise less than one percent of engineering graduates in the United States, according to the American Society for Engineering Education, and MSU is regularly ranked among the top five universities nationally for Native American engineering graduates.
Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen in 1988, the Allen family's philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $428 million in grants benefitting over 1,400 diverse nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Foundation's funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.
For related stories see:Toyota USA Foundation Awards $312,176 to Support MSU Math and Science Initiative