Over the past six years, many Nebraska mathematics teachers have benefited from professional development opportunities provided by Math in the Middle, Primarily Math, Nebraska Algebra and the New Teacher Network, all of which were funded by the National Science Foundation with support from UNL and teachers' own school districts.
Through the NebraskaMATH grant and the new NebraskaNOYCE grant, even more Nebraska math teachers will have the opportunity to take graduate courses at no cost to them. Despite these wonderful opportunities, it is clear that many more teachers want similar opportunities for graduate education but, in these difficult economic times, the cost of education can be a significant barrier to teachers.
To this end, the Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education needs your support. We created the Nebraska Math & Science Summer Institutes (NMSSI) in order to provide graduate courses during the summer, and UNL responded by reducing the cost of tuition for math and science teachers who take NMSSI courses. With your support, the remaining costs of tuition and fees can be reduced further.
We invite teachers, school administrators, parents, and other Nebraska citizens to assist us in providing these opportunities for teachers. Most of us who love mathematics can remember a math teacher who was especially inspiring. We believe it is important to provide Nebraska math teachers with continued opportunities for professional growth. In turn, great teachers will inspire their students to learn — and love — mathematics.
We asked Jim Lewis, the NebraskaMATH Principal Investigator,
to tell us about a math teacher who inspired him
"Gertrud Creaghan was my 11th and 12th grade mathematics teacher at Istrouma High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My high school was in a poor section of town near the oil refineries that line the Mississippi River, but we were fortunate to have many great teachers. When I was a sophomore, she took a sabbatical to learn how to teach SMSG mathematics, something that became known as the 'new math.'
"Miss Creaghan treated us like adults and challenged us to learn mathematics. She was the first person to ever call me 'Jim' instead of 'Jimmy.' That alone was enough to make me love mathematics. The education I received in mathematics at a school 'on the wrong side of the tracks' was good enough that I was able to start college in an honors calculus class. Gertrud Creaghan inspired me to learn and love mathematics."
We have created three funds for supporting teachers
- The CSMCE Development Fund provides funds to support master teachers and graduate students who are partof instructional teams, travel and subsistence, and other infrastructure costs of the Center
- The Math Teachers for the 21st Century Expendable Fund supportsfellowships for teachers who take NMSSI courses, helping reduce the cost of graduate education
- An endowed fund also entitled Math Teachers for the 21st Century
Lewis, the director of the CSMCE, has contributed $15,000 to the Math Teachers for the 21st Century Expendable Fund, $10,000 to the endowed fund of the same name, and $2,000 in the CSMCE Development Fund, demonstrating his desire to "give back," he said.
"I've had a great career at Nebraska and received a lot of recognition for my work with teacher education, and I think it's time for me to give back to something I care deeply about," Jim said.
Lewis said the funds will be used to directly support teachers in the Nebraska Math & Science Summer Institutes, since the tuition remains a barrier.
"With this fund, I hope we can lower the barrier," Jim said. "And, in order to keep offering these great programs in the future, we need to find the capacity to support these opportunities using Nebraska dollars."
In the Endowed Fund, contributions go into a permanent fund and only the money earned by those contributions is used for the purpose of that fund, in this case fellowships for math teachers who want to take graduate courses at UNL. In contrast, contributions to the Expendable Fund are used relatively quickly, in this case to support fellowships for teachers the following summer; but once used, the funds are gone. Donors can then make the choice as to whether they want to see their contributions used immediately or to benefit generations to come.
We encourage all teachers who have benefited from NSF support that enabled them to participate in a Math in the Middle or NebraskaMATH graduate course to "pay it forward" and make a contribution to one of these funds.
"If a lot of the teachers who have been in NebraskaMATH or Math in the Middle were to make a $25 or $50 donation then that would be important evidence of teachers helping create opportunities for others," Jim said.
How to give
Please mail donations to:
1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
How to GiveContributions can be made through the CSMCE page
on the University of Nebraska Foundation web site.
Who Inspired You?
We invite you to e-mail us your memory of an inspiring math teacher.
Send your memory of an inspiring teacher to nebraskamath.unl.edu.
We encourage you to "pay it forward" and keep these stories in mind as you consider where to make donations this year.
Inspiring Teachers in NebraskaMATHKathy Bohac
Message from the White House
Members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology talk about who inspired them in a video on the Office of Science and Technology Policy's blog.