Just like their urban counterparts, school districts in rural Colorado confront plenty of daunting health and wellness challenges — everything from hungry children to students stressed by family turmoil and economic instability.

But unlike their urban peers, rural districts typically confront their challenges under the radar. For all their assets (think close-knit communities where everyone knows everyone’s name), rural districts often are hampered by tiny staffs, minimal support and scant access to resources.

The Center for Rural School Health & Education (CRSHE) at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education aims to help change that. Armed with two recent grants totaling $5.1 million from the Colorado Health Foundation, the CRSHE will spend the next two years equipping 27 high-poverty rural school districts with the support, evidence-based resources and professional development essential to fostering student health and wellness. Read the full story.

The University of Denver Morgridge College of Education (MCE)’s Marsico Institute of Early Learning has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to embark on a new research collaboration with Boulder Valley School District to research evidence-based interventions to support teachers.

“ULTIMATE” (Understanding Learning Trajectories in Mathematics: Advancing Teacher Education), under the direction of Drs. Douglas H. Clements, Julie Sarama, from Morgridge College of Education, and Dr. Douglas Ready from Teachers College, Columbia University, is a five-year grant totaling $4,575,683. Despite the documented importance of early mathematics and of teachers as a critical lever in facilitating its development, there are stunningly few evidence-based interventions available to support teachers. Over two decades, Clements and Sarama have built a professional development tool, called Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories, or [LT]2, a web-based tool for early childhood educators to learn about how children think and learn about mathematics and how to teach mathematics to young children (birth to age 8).

The DU team will work with Boulder Valley School District teachers, blending high quality in-person professional development with the [LT]2 professional development. The grant will allow DU to collaborate with teachers in deepening their understanding of how children learn mathematics and how they can incorporate this knowledge into their instruction.

According to Sarama, “This funding from NSF allows us to directly contribute to teachers of early mathematics and to the hundreds of children they serve, while producing rigorous research that documents the power of teachers’ understanding children’s thinking—serving as a model for the rest of the nation.”


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