Press Release - March 22, 2013

Community Foundation Awards More Than $900,000 To Prepare Teachers For New Common Core Standards

Programs will help close the mathematics achievement gap among middle-school students by providing professional development to teachers

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MOUNTAIN VIEW - Silicon Valley Community Foundation has awarded more than $900,000 to help teachers in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties develop their skills in mathematics instruction, benefiting thousands of middle-school students.

Seventeen school districts and nonprofit organizations will receive a total of $918,004 to provide professional development to more than 614 middle school mathematics teachers in the two-county region.

The professional development provided to teachers by these grants will better prepare them to teach according to the new Common Core State Standards in mathematics. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, all students in California will be assessed according to these new standards, which are designed to build students’ critical thinking and communication skills, spark their curiosity and make learning relevant in the real world. (Read more about common core standards and SVCF’s initiative to help school districts apply them at http://www.siliconvalleycf.org/common-core.)

Implementing the common core standards will require teachers to understand their instructional subject matter at a much deeper level and change some of their teaching methods significantly.

“At the classroom level, these rigorous new standards will challenge teachers’ content knowledge and also their ability to deliver effective instruction that meets the intent of the standards,” said Gina Dalma, program officer for education grantmaking. “Supporting teachers requires new and intensive approaches to professional learning, and new uses of technologies, programs and productivity tools.”

Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s interest in the common core standards 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 strategy takes a two-pronged approach: an “in-school” sub-strategy that supports increasing teacher effectiveness in the classroom, and an “out-of-school” sub-strategy that supports expanding and improving learning opportunities for students before and after school hours, and during the summer.

The just-announced grants are part of SVCF’s “in-school” grantmaking program. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to just under $100,000.

The majority of the grantees are receiving funding for the fifth consecutive year from the community foundation. Of the 17 grantees, five are receiving community foundation in-school education funding for the first time.

Among them are new grants that have significant potential to create system-wide improvement in teacher efficacy. A grant of $98,723 to the San Mateo County Office of Education will benefit all the unified school districts in San Mateo County, and a grant of $60,000 to the Campbell Union High School District will benefit the high school district and all its feeder K-8 school districts. Both entities will provide professional development to facilitate a collaborative, well-structured approach to the common core standards that will benefit students of all grade levels.

Other grants will strengthen the pre-service and in-service teacher pipeline. One example is a $10,000 grant to San Jose State University to fund a pilot program for early-career mathematics teachers; another $30,000 grant to RAFT supports hands-on development of instructional curriculum.

The 17 grants just announced bring the community foundation’s total investment in education to more than $9 million since the first round of grants was awarded in 2009.

For a full list of grantees, visit the community foundation’s website at www.siliconvalleycf.org.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems. The community foundation has $2.9 billion in assets under management and more than 1,650 philanthropic funds. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at www.siliconvalleycf.org.