The California Post-Secondary Education Commission has awarded a four-year, $920,000 Improving Teacher Quality grant to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to support teacher development at the Long Beach Unified School District’s Cabrillo and Jordan high schools.
The grant, which was awarded jointly to the CSULB History and English departments and College of Education, will provide teacher training during summer institutes and release days to enable teachers to deepen their content knowledge, learn discipline-specific literacy and pedagogical strategies, and collaborate within and between departments in refining instruction. Improving Teacher Quality grants are designed to increase student achievement by enhancing teacher effectiveness.
“The grant focuses on professional development,” said project Co-Director Dave Neumann, director of CSULB’s History Project, housed in the History Department. “The grant covers three years of professional development beginning in 2011 followed by a year of data assessment and dissemination. By improving teacher practice, the program should affect student performance, including performance on standardized test scores and constructed responses.”
Professional development will include discipline-specific approaches to improve teacher content knowledge as well as literacy acquisition. “The whole purpose of these grants is to create a heavily researched and evidence-based method of professional development,” said Tim Keirn, the grant’s principal investigator who holds a joint appointment in history and liberal studies. “Ideally, history teachers instruct with a learning outcome that is more focused on historical thinking as opposed to memorization of facts and dates.”
Co-Director Carol Zitzer-Comfort, CSULB assistant professor of English and liberal studies, will partner with Neumann and Keirn and provide development for English and social studies teachers at Cabrillo and Jordan high schools to help them develop better strategies for teaching expository reading and writing.