COLUMBUS, Miss. — A $1.2 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Education will allow Mississippi University for Women to continue a highly successful program that seeks to improve student achievement in math and critical thinking.
The grant, made to MUW’s Center for Creative Learning, will fund three additional years of a program titled Creating High Achievement in Mathematics and Problem Solving, or CHAMPS. Now in its ninth year, CHAMPS is funded through an MDE Mathematics and Science Partnership grant, contingent on continued federal funding.
Since its inception in 2004, CHAMPS has received more than $4 million in funding and has served more than 400 teachers in the Mississippi School for Math and Science and high-needs districts in Northeast Mississippi, said Melinda Lowe, project manager.
CHAMPS was among the first Mathematics and Science Partnership grants in the state and is one of only five projects funded this grant cycle.
“Our goal is to create confident, effective teachers who, through high-quality professional development, learn easy-to-implement strategies that correlate with the rigorous common core state standards,” she explained
To do this, CHAMPS offers an intensive two-week seminar for teachers, follow-up weekend mini-conferences working with students in a classroom, online professional learning communities to assist with Common Core implementation, data coaching, and a mathematics resource center, among other strategies.
Kate Brown, project director and co-principal investigator, said the program has become synonymous with meaningful, useful professional development for middle-school teachers in mathematics.
“We look forward to refining our program to more fully address the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and to preparing more teachers to be effective instructors in mathematics,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is for student achievement in mathematics to increase in the classrooms of CHAMPS participants.”