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Barancik Foundation renews grant for math teacher training

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Aug. 15, 2017 – Thanks to the overwhelming success of last year’s grant from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, elementary teachers in Sarasota County will continue to get special training that helps them plan lessons that result in students overcoming math anxiety and finding success in math class. The organization is providing $480,000 in funding for the school district to hire a mathematics expert, train teams of teachers, purchase manipulatives for our youngest students, and hire an evaluator for this second year effort. 

The goal is to change the way elementary teachers approach math lessons. Research suggests that when it comes to student performance in the subject, an effective teacher has two to three times the impact of any other school factor, including technology, facilities and school administration. 

“The teacher is the critical component of student success and we want to invest in the human capital inside the classroom,” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Barancik Foundation. “We are pleased to partner with Sarasota County Schools for a second year of this high-impact teacher training initiative.” 

In addition to providing teachers with the guidance of a math expert and special training in effectively teaching the subject to elementary students, the initiative will allow teams of teachers to collaborate on math lesson plans. Teachers on the team will have the opportunity to engage in “instructional rounds” together as they attempt to perfect their lesson plans. Instructional rounding is the process of having teachers and administrators observe and reflect on lessons being taught. The concept is based on the medical model of teams of health care professionals observing patients together and planning the next steps in their care. 

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to build on the training last year and continue to provide the gift of time to our teachers so they are able to collaborate with their colleagues,” said Laura Kingsley, Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer for Sarasota County Schools. “Our teachers deserve more time to plan together than the time that is currently allocated.  We know that when teachers have time to learn together, analyze student work together and then plan engaging lessons together, they build a collective sense of efficacy that translates into student achievement.”

Kingsley praises the summer work completed by school district math specialists Sue D’Angelo and Alicia Charbonneau that provides guidelines for elementary math teachers to help them understand math standards and build better lesson plans and assessments, and provides them with access to additional K-5 math resources.  

“Teachers are going to be so grateful for this invaluable resource that allows them to be less reliant on textbook resources so they can emphasize developing students’ ‘math mentality’ for solving complex problems.”

“Our principals also engaged in this training over the summer and expressed tremendous gratitude to the Barancik Foundation for the confidence they placed in our teachers,” Kingsley said.  “We know that for our great schools to become greater, we need to tell every child that this work is important, they CAN do it, and we will not give up on you!  Well, through this second grant, the Barancik Foundation has literally said the same things to our teachers!”

The elementary math teacher training initiative is funded through June 2018.

About the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation
The Charles & Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation — a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. The Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of arts and humanities, education and science, humanitarian causes, medical research, and the environment. For further information, please contact Kelly Romanoff at KRomanoff@BarancikFoundation.org.

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