SVCF awards for teacher development will benefit more than 20,000 middle school mathematics students

As part of our education grantmaking program, SVCF recently awarded grants totaling almost $828,000 to help teachers develop their skills in mathematics instruction, which will benefit thousands of middle school students in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Ten school districts and nonprofit organizations will receive a total of $827,904 to provide professional development to about 600 middle school mathematics teachers in the two-county region. SVCF anticipates that because of these grants, approximately 22,330 middle school students in more than 50 local school districts and charter schools will receive better math instruction. 

“We know that teacher effectiveness is the number one determinant of student success and that teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and effective teaching strategies lag far behind those of teachers in other countries. And mastering math is essential for students if they wish to advance in both college and the 21st century workplace,” said Valerie Cuevas, SVCF’s program officer for education grantmaking. “These grants will give students greater access to high-quality middle school math instruction and thus increase their likelihood for appropriate, equitable and accelerated math placement in high school.” 

The professional development provided to teachers by these grants will better prepare them to teach according to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics. Adopted by California’s legislature in 2010, these standards are designed to build students’ critical thinking and communication skills, spark their curiosity and make learning relevant in the real world. Read more about SVCF’s Silicon Valley Common Core Initiative (SVCCI) to help school districts collaborate on CCSS.

SVCF’s interest in CCSS is aligned with its overall education grantmaking strategy, which focuses on closing the middle school mathematics achievement gap between many students of color or low-income students and their peers.

The grants, approved by SVCF’s board of directors at its first-quarter meeting, are part of SVCF’s “in-school” grantmaking strategy, which supports teacher effectiveness in the classroom. Most of the grants are providing continuing support to programs that have been successful at achieving their desired outcomes for teacher development. Grant amounts range from $25,000 to $100,000.

Among the grants:

A grant of $90,000 to Pivot Learning Partners will help build a multi-district network in Silicon Valley focused on a) providing all students with access to rigorous Common Core-aligned mathematics instruction and coursework, and b) preventing math misplacement.

A grant of $99,500 to Jefferson Elementary School District will provide intensive school-year and summer professional development to teachers and students, integrating mathematics, English-language development and technology into the classroom.

A grant of $25,000 to Escuela Xochitl Tonatiuh will build a learning community of math teachers who will use the most effective means available to help impoverished English language learners reach and exceed grade level performance in math.