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$300,000 Grant Aimed at Math, Science Education

Sept. 14, 2008 — The University of the Virgin Islands will begin partnering in October on a study aimed at improving math and science education in the territory underwritten by a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
The program’s goal is to develop a long-term plan to strengthen K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and increase students’ preparedness for higher education and the workforce by means of a productive and sustained partnership among key stakeholders.
"The outcome … will be a plan describing how we will improve the numbers and academic strength of students in Virgin Islands schools in the areas of mathematics and the sciences," UVI President LaVerne E. Ragster said in a statement. "It will ensure that Virgin Islands students have many educational and career options involving science and or mathematics because they are better prepared in the areas and are more aware of the possibilities open to them."
UVI is cooperating with the Education Department and the V.I. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR) to perform the study. The NSF money is a two-year Math Science Partnership-Start planning grant earmarked to strengthen kindergarten through 12th grade science and mathematics education in the territory.
Teachers, school administrators, teacher training faculty, scientists and others will work together to better understand what Virgin Islands students need to enable them to perform better in higher education and in the workforce, according to the UVI release. The grant award goes into effect on Oct. 1.
"The idea is to take a broad look at what’s going on in the territory in science and mathematics education, then to come in and say ‘here are some priority areas where we would like to really make a difference,’" said Meri Whitaker, director of VI-EPSCoR. "Stakeholders will ask the question: How can we improve what we are doing to make sure that our teachers, all the way from kindergarten through the end of high school, are much better strengthened than they are to provide a strong education?"
Meeting the grant proposal’s objectives will also better qualify the territory to pursue larger NSF grants, Whitaker said.
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