For Immediate Release                      Contact:   Gail Towns              or           Tara Strickland
                                                                                   732.987.2266                          732.987.2291

Georgian Court, Brick Schools Partner for I.M.P.A.C.T.

Lakewood, N.J., Mar. 30, 2010—More than two dozen area classroom educators are working to become “highly qualified teachers” through a special partnership that taps the resources of Georgian Court University, Brick Township Public Schools, and the Southern Regional Educational Technology Training Center.

The effort, which has received $235,833 in first-year funding, is one of only five Improving Partnerships and Active Collaboration for Teaching (IMPACT) competitive grants awarded by the New Jersey Department of Education. The three-year program, underwritten with U.S. Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind, Title II funds, will assist 30 middle and high school teachers meet the standard for “highly qualified” teaching status in mathematics, language arts, and additional humanities.

The grant, which offers an additional $300,000 in funding later this year, allows Brick teachers to enroll in specially designed classes taught by Georgian Court faculty. Teachers in the program will have access to the latest in university-level coursework and research, and will take what they learn from GCU professors to create turnkey content—information and best practices that can be immediately shared with other educators and quickly put to use in classrooms.

“This is a way for us to help teachers improve their skills, and all of us in the Georgian Court University School of education see this as our mission,” says the project’s director, Russell Pritchard, Ph.D. “We work to educate teachers who, ultimately, reach students.”

Dr. Pritchard, a GCU assistant professor of education and former high school physics teacher, is working with a team of university faculty to implement the grant. Other participants are co-directors Joel Pitt, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, and Sandra Zak, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics; Stacy Abate, director of grants development; Timothy Briles, assistant professor of education; Mary Chinery, Ph.D., associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; Kathy Froriep, Ph.D., assistant professor of education; and Sarita Nemani, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics.

The program’s first year is actually a seven-and-a-half-month planning period that continues through August 2010. In the fall, GCU and its partners will apply for continued funding. Additional money will help provide professional development to mathematics, science, and humanities teachers through courses, workshops, and in-class support.

IMPACT classes begin this summer for classroom teachers. Participants will spend a week at the Southern Regional Educational Technology Training Center learning to infuse Web 2.0 technology—blogs, podcasts, wikis, searchable databases, and more—into their teaching. While there, educators will also study information literacy; ways to integrate 21st-century knowledge, skills, and themes; and the Universal Design for Learning, a framework that helps teachers create multiple strategies to reach diverse learners.

Although teachers are at the heart of the program, its benefit isn’t limited to Brick educators, says Dr. Pritchard.

“While it’s important for teachers to become highly qualified in the areas they teach, this is important for our faculty, too,” he says. “On the university level, educators need to maintain a high level of contact with teachers in the classroom. This is also an opportunity for us to see what we need to bring to our pre-service teachers.”

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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