“It is surprising how deep and broad children’s thinking can be about mathematics” said Douglas Clements, Ph.D, to a packed White House Press room this morning, April 21, 2016. Dr. Clements, who is a faculty member at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), the Kennedy Endowed chair in Early Childhood Learning, and the Co-Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy alongside his Colleague Julie Sarama, Ph.D, is a nationally renowned expert in early childhood math education. He was invited to the White House to participate in the panel discussion “What does the research say about Early STEM” a part of the Early Learning STEM Symposium which was hosted by the White House, U.S. department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Invest in US.

The Early Learning STEM Symposium highlights the important role science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have in preparing our nation’s youngest children for the future. The Marsico and Kennedy Institutes at the Morgridge College of Education are making a significant impact in the field of early childhood math. “We know so much already about how children learn math. Our work on learning trajectories needs to continue and be more widely disseminated,” Dr. Clements told the crowded audience of early childhood STEM experts.

For the full video visit the White House Briefing Room.

Kitchen-150x150Dr. Richard Kitchen, Kennedy Endowed Chair and Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction program at Morgridge College of Education (MCE), aims to advance equity and diversity in education through Access in Mathematics for All (AMA), a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. “The goal of the program,” says Dr. Kitchen, “is to recruit talented students of color and low-income students to come to DU to study mathematics, to encourage them to become mathematics teachers and return to their communities to serve as educators.”

Dr. Kitchen and his fellow researchers—Dr. Nicole Joseph and Dr. Alvaro Arias, also from DU, and James Gray from the Community College of Aurora (CCA)—are developing an infrastructure that will provide academic and social support for future students in AMA. The team has built relationships with CCA and Aurora Public Schools to recruit potential students through a pilot tutoring program, host math talks focused on the importance of mathematics and mathematics education, and integrate existing services at DU to better serve future AMA students.

To augment the impact of AMA, Dr. Kitchen and his team have submitted a second proposal to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for $1.45 million to fully fund five students in MCE’s Teacher Education Program each year for five years.

AMA addresses a critical need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, as identified in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act and the America COMPETES Act. The program also supports the National Science Foundation goal to “Prepare and engage a diverse STEM workforce motivated to participate at the frontiers.”

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements’ pre-K math curriculum, Building Blocks, is being implemented throughout New York City, following successful results seen in Boston, Buffalo, and Nashville. This roll out is part of the New York City Department of Education initiative, “NYC Pre-K Explore,” which also promotes improved literacy and science programs. Deputy Chancellor, Josh Wallack, expects the Building Blocks curriculum will be used by 13,500 children in 750 district and community-based classrooms by fall 2015, and by the vast majority of New York City children within the next three years.

Early math skills are seen as a strong predictor of success in school and later in life; however, preschools across the country tend to ignore anything beyond basic counting games. Dr. Clements says that many preschool teachers aren’t comfortable with numbers because they went through the U.S. education system, which “is just not very good about teaching math and making it fascinating.”

With the implementation of the Building Blocks curriculum, preschool teachers will have the opportunity to use puzzles, games, art projects, and songs to help children learn more about numbers, shapes, and patterns. Those who volunteer to adopt Building Blocks will receive the books, related games, seven days of training, and coaching for one year to help facilitate successful outcomes.

If you have a Wall Street Journal account, you can read more about the New York City Building Blocks implementation here.

 

Morgridge College of Education faculty member, Dr. Douglas Clements, sat down with NPR Morning Edition to discuss Why Math Might be the Secret to School Success. Across the country, enhancing the education of young children has been a major area of focus from academia to politics. This podcast focuses on Building Blocks, a math curriculum developed by Dr. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama.Currently, in New York City, a $25 million study is collecting evidence on ways to effectively raise educational outcomes for children in poverty. Building Blocks is one math curriculum being tested in the study. Dr. Clements and Dr. Sarama believe that math may be key to increasing educational outcomes.

The NPR Morning Edition podcast was released a day prior to the December 10, 2014, White House Summit on Early Childhood Education. Morgridge faculty are at the forefront of the conversation of early childhood learning. Their work is pushing the envelope on how teachers engage and promote educational outcomes for future generations.

According to the National Math + Science Initiative, about 44% of high school graduates are ready for success in college math and 36% are ready for college-level science. Students progressing through at least Algebra II in high school are twice as likely to complete a four-year degree when compared to those who do not progress through Algebra II. There is an increasing need for math educators who are innovative and creative leaders in the classroom and in the field of math education.

To address this need for innovative math educators, beginning in Fall 2014, the Curriculum Studies and Teaching program at the University of Denver will begin offering courses in the new math education concentration area in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I). Students completing this concentration will develop their leadership skills through a deep understanding of the role of diversity, social justice, access, and equity in math. Additionally, students will be able to demonstrate comprehension of mathematical content, the application and synthesis of theories in research-based settings, and the application of technology and project-based learning. Students will have a chance to explore and evaluate the historical research foundation of math education and the impact on current practices in the field. Moreover, through coursework, field experiences, and initial research experiences, students in the math education concentration in the Curriculum & Instruction degree program will develop a strong background in cognition and math learning stylesmath. The program will produce math educators who have a strong theoretical background in math education and who are well prepared to address relevant and pertinent local, national and international questions in math education.

The new course offerings in the math education concentration math include the history and philosophy of math, learning and teaching math, early childhood math, diversity and equity in math, foundations of learning, technology in math education, discourse in math, and elementary math.  This concentration is being offered in the masters and doctoral degree programs, both EdD and PhD, in Curriculum and Instruction.

Upon completion of this concentration, students will be prepared for roles as leaders in math education in a variety of sectors such as higher education, state agencies, and non-profits. Students will be equipped to be positive change agents ready to identify and solve relevant national and international issues in math education, particularly for underrepresented student groups.

For more information, contact (303) 871-2509 (toll free at 1-800-835-1607) or email mce@du.edu.—

The STEM Crisis

https://nms.org/Education/TheSTEMCrisis.aspx

Increasing the Achievement and Presence of Under-Represented Minorities in STEM Fields

https://nms.org/Portals/0/Docs/whitePaper/NACME%20white%20paper.pdf

 


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