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School to improve teaching of math, science

Wednesday, December 1, 2004


More than 150 public schools will be getting technology aimed at improving the teaching of math and science, the University of Puerto Rico's Science and

Mathematics Alliance announced Tuesday.

The announcement was made at a news conference in the Student Technology Center at the Sotero Figueroa Intermediate School in Rio Piedras attended by the alliance, university and Education Department officials.

The officials presented a summary of the program, the goal of which is to improve teachers' proficiency in math and science so they can create a better class environment for students.

Lucy Gaspar, the project's director, said Puerto Rico competed with 200 other proposals for grants that will impact the public education system.

The alliance launched its math and science teacher proficiency program in September by providing training to 1,350 math and science teachers from 157 schools on the main island and in Vieques.

She said the teachers were tested before and after the training and the results were significant, and showed that the prepara­tion would help them create "rich" learning environments, Gaspar said.

The technology packages consisting of a computer, printer and connection to the Internet will allow teachers to easily communicate with university professors who can answer questions about math and science.

"The importance of the equipment is that it will pave the road for enhanced professional development;' she said.

Josefina Arce, the alliance's head researcher, said that all public schools were expected to be hooked up to the program by February 2005.

''According to scientific investigation, there is a strong link between the quality of the teacher and the actions of the students. For this reason, [the alliance] is concentrating its efforts on improving the proficiency of math and science teachers;' she said.

The alliance will be establishing three professional resource centers in math and science for each teaching level - elementary, intermediate and high school - in each of the 10 educational regions.

UPR Dean Gladys Escalona de Motta said students are facing more stringent professional demands and it is up to the university to provide them with the best learning alternatives available.