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Mars Hill College Receives $150,000.00 Grant Extension For Teacher Training With Madison and Mitchell County Schools
Funded by the Department of Public Instruction, the original $282,000 grant funded the creation of a program designed to train teachers in the most current methods of research-based instruction.
This year’s $150,000 grant will continue to fund the grant project, titled “Problem Solving Model Leadership Initiative,” for continued training in Madison County and for a similar initiative with educators in Mitchell County.
The funding for this highly-competitive NC QUEST (North Carolina Quality Educators through Staff Development and Training) grant comes from NC’s appropriations under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. The Project is an 18-month initiative designed to increase the number of at-risk students who meet or exceed state standards in literacy and mathematics. Mars Hill College is one of only two private colleges in the state to have ever received the grant.
The original grant was co-written by Dr. Chris Cain, Associate Professor of Education, and Dr. Kathy Ray, Madison County Schools Exceptional Children’s Director. This year’s grant extension was co-written with collaboration from Mitchell County Schools Exceptional Children’s Director Sherry Bell.
According to Cain, the primary focus of the grant monies for Mitchell County will be providing several series of teacher training sessions in the most current methods of research-based instruction for core subject area teachers.
The focus of the grant for Madison County will be building in sustainability by developing on-line modules to replicate last year’s face-to-face trainings. The modules will ensure that new teachers hired within the district will have the same information as those currently working in the system. Both Madison and Mitchell county school districts will benefit from an on-line scientifically research-based interventions cite that will be developed over the course of the next two years to support these teachers providing the strongest interventions possible to all students.
“The focus of this grant is to provide training for current teachers on the newest methods, models and regulations set forth by the state,” Cain said. “Every core subject teacher in Madison and Mitchell counties will receive training in sound research-based instruction, and methods which meet the needs of all students in the most effective way possible.”
Another exciting aspect of this “research-driven” instruction, according to Cain, is that it trains teachers to use data to inform and mold their instruction methods. This “response to intervention model,” is intended to help teachers identify specific areas where students are struggling, and adjust teaching methods to respond to those needs
“Using these methods, teachers constantly evaluate, as opposed to waiting for end-of-year testing,” he said. “So as a teacher, I’m constantly looking at the data, and if you as a student aren’t responding to instruction, then I have to change what I’m doing.”