Georgia Southern and Haven Elementary Partner for Educator Program

This article originally appeared on the Georgia Southern University website and is reprinted with permission.

Georgia Southern University and Haven Elementary School are partnering to offer teachers a Gratifying Problem-Solving (GPS) program, which will provide educators unique monthly professional development based on the school’s current need for improved mathematics instruction.

The College of Education’s Jackie Kim, associate professor of elementary and special education, serves as director for the project, totaling $74,976, which is funded by a Community Partnership Grant from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

The GPS program uses a bottom-up approach, allowing the participants at Haven Elementary to help shape its development, workshop activities and directive.

“We go to find out what their inquiries and needs are and create a workshop based on the assessment,” said Kim. “We want to start with what they are currently doing in the classroom and change their practice to make instruction stronger yet doable.”

The project is set to begin this month, with observations conducted by Kim to collect data on current practices used in mathematics instruction from grades three through five. Later in the year, nine classroom teachers and four instructional coaches and technologists will participate in the GPS project, conducting monthly meetings that will include both technology integration for their curriculum and classrooms as well as mathematical practices and teaching activities.

The grant will purchase laptops for classrooms and software and other resources for innovative mathematics instruction. Participants in the GPS project will also receive stipends and meals during meetings.

“We are asking Haven Elementary teachers to work with us for over a year adding something extra to their normal workload, so we wanted to make sure we could maintain their participation throughout the program,” explained Kim.

Kim, who has 11 years of teaching in a K-12 classroom and 13 years teaching higher education, says that this project provides the opportunity to utilize all areas of her expertise while giving back to the community.

“I have worked with Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program for the past five years, but I have never worked with Savannah-Chatham Schools because they are not included in the qualifications for those grants,” said Kim. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Savannah-Chatham Schools because we have the experience and expertise to share to make a difference right here in our community.”

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