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Newport Schools Win $200,000 Math Grant

A $200,000 grant was awarded to the Newport Independent School District.

The state grant will assist students with math and provide professional development for math teachers.

Written by the Newport Schools' grant writing team of District Curriculum Coordinator Diane Hatfield and grant writer and teacher Paul Baker, the Kentucky Math Achievement Grant will provide $50,000 over the next two years for Math Intervention Teachers at Newport Primary and Newport Intermediate schools.

The grant allows the district to continue to offer targeted instruction to struggling students in kindergarten through third grade, developing a deeper number sense and advanced quantitative reasoning, said Newport Intermediate School Mathematics Coach Alice Gabbard.

"Students who participate in the program experience a greater enjoyment of mathematics and in the 2015/2016 school year achieved greater academic gains, on average, than their peers," Gabbard said.

The intensive, job-embedded professional learning required by the grant and provided through the Kentucky Center for Mathematics greatly impacts teacher understanding of how to engage students in learning experiences which best fit their current level of understanding and skill with number, she said.

Teachers say the grants make a tremendous difference in the classroom.

"The most obvious change I have seen in my intervention students is their new love of math," said Newport Intermediate Math Intervention Teacher Tricia Tobergte. "Students are more confident in their mathematical skills and more empowered to explore mathematical concepts and reasoning. While students participate in math games they are implementing authentic life skills and math has much more meaning to them."

The professional development of teachers is also a major benefit of the grant.

"I am a changed teacher because of the program," said Newport Primary Math Intervention Teacher Jennifer Sepate. "I have seen the importance of conceptual learning over just paper and pencil activities and how important games, number talks, and intentional teaching really develop understanding and a love for math. The students love to come to math group and are more willing to take risks and not worry about wrong answers. They have become real problem solvers."

-Staff report