Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Awards $1.6 Million for Teacher Development

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has awarded a three-year, $1.6 million grant in support of joint efforts by the University of Montana and Missoula County Public Schools to provide professional development for teachers, the Missoulian reports.

The largest programmatic grant ever awarded by the foundation will be used to finance professional development programs for the district's PK-12 teachers through the university's Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences. The "SHAPE P-20" partnership between the university and MCPS aims to build a scalable teacher development model, with a focus on enhanced STEM education, language immersion for elementary and middle school students, full implementation of the International Baccalaureate Program, and the development of skill-based academies.

"The university will be providing its expertise to the school district and will be involved hand-in-hand with what we are doing with keeping kids in school, Graduation Matters Missoula, our International Baccalaureate program, our health sciences academy, and all the other things we are doing to enhance 21st century learning in our schools," said MCPS superintendent Alex Apostle. Four years ago, the foundation led the way in supporting the Graduation Matters Missoula program, which has since become a model for a statewide program.

"What is unique about this collaboration is that it is an opportunity to measure the impact of a whole variety of programs," said Roberta Evans, dean of the University of Montana's College of Education. "I view this as an incredible opportunity for us to launch scalable programs, test them in this environment, and expand their usage across the state."

Betsy Cohen. "$1.6M From Washington Foundation Funds UM, MCPS Partnership." The Missoulian 01/11/2013.