EAGLE - The Eagle County School District has landed a $750,000 grant to help bolster math and science instruction. The competitive grant is funded by the federal government, and is distributed through the Colorado Department of Education.
As school districts across the country emphasized reading and writing, math and science scores slid. The Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant is designed to help improve those scores.
"This is an important grant for several reasons, but few more important than supplying the funding we need to address lagging student achievement in math and science," said Heather Eberts, the school district's executive director of curriculum, Instruction and assessment.
While Eagle Valley High School was ranked 38th in Colorado and in the top 10 percent in the nation earlier this week by US News and World Report, the school's math scores have lagged.
Of the 151 students Eagle Valley students who were tested, 26 percent scored unsatisfactory and another 46 percent were only partially proficient. Only 25 percent of the Eagle Valley students tested were proficient in math, and just 3 percent were advanced.
Battle Mountain High School was no better. Only 24 percent of students tested there were proficient in math; 76 percent were not, according to this year's Colorado Student Assessment Program.
New federal guidelines, called Common Core Standards, are changing the way most subjects are taught, and math more than any other. In a nutshell, those standards push higher level math practices into lower grades. The goal is for kids to become more proficient at math more quickly.
Colorado was among the first states to adopt those standards, and the local school district is part of a pilot project trying to implement them. The terms of the grant prohibit spending the money on anything except improving the district's math and science instruction.
"The math curriculum, in particular, has undergone the largest evolution in the Common Core Standards, so this grant seeks to give those teachers the support they need to rapidly adapt and be more effective," Eberts said.
Some of the money will be spent on math and science coaches and other instructional experts, as well as materials.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.