Portland State Receives Grant to Launch Science and Math Program for K-8 Teachers
Author: Office of University Communications, 503.725.3711
Posted: March 17, 2008

Portland State University has been awarded funds from a grant received by the Teaching Research Institute at Western Oregon University, to collaborate with other math and science faculty in Oregon to develop graduate-level courses and professional development modules. The program will be available online, in weekend workshops, or at summer institutes.

The three-year grant award of $685,000 from the Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education will be used to fund the launch of a new certificate program called Preparation for Instruction of Science and Math (PrISM). PrISM is a statewide collaboration of public and private colleges and universities to build the capacity of Oregon's K-8 teachers in mathematic and science instruction. The program will prepare K-8 teachers, science museum educators, and members of science and mathematic educational organizations to integrate mathematics and science instruction in ways that engage all learners. Courses will be offered by participating universities/colleges beginning spring quarter and summer 2008.

The consortium of Eastern Oregon University, George Fox University, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon State University, Portland State University, University of Portland, and Western Oregon University are accepting each other's credits for the certificate, so individuals can take courses from any of the institutions. There has also been an agreement between the public and private universities, equalizing costs and credits between semesters and terms.

The program has a number of benefits for educators and their students including: students will benefit from hands-on lessons that integrate mathematics and science concepts which teachers learn through this program; new graduation requirements in math and science increase pressure on elementary and middle schools to emphasize math and science content more; and for schools struggling to make adequate yearly progress in mathematics or science, PrISM offers an effective way for teachers to improve instruction as well as confidence in their teaching.

The program will also allow academic credits earned through the program can to be applied toward licensure renewal and the PrISM certificate will signify teachers' mathematics and science proficiencies to principals and districts, spotlight teachers who are ready to take on mathematics or science leadership roles and augment the portfolios of recent graduates searching for jobs.

For more information about the program, visit PrISM Oregon is funded by a grant from the Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. The program is managed by The Teaching Research Institute at Western Oregon University.

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Contact: Cheryl Livneh,, 503-725-4705
Associate Dean, PSU Graduate School of Education

Michael Cummings,, 503-725-3395
Professor, PSU Geology Department