The Silicon Valley Community Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $1.1 million to help middle school mathematics teachers close the achievement gap in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
Fifteen school districts and nonprofit organizations will receive grants to provide professional development to more than 270 math teachers in the two counties. According to the foundation, effective teachers are the key factor in closing the academic achievement gap between students of color and socioeconomically disadvantaged students and their white and Asian counterparts. Research also shows that students who master algebra are more likely to succeed in college.
Most of the grantees are receiving funding for the second or third year in a row; only three — the East Palo Alto Charter School, KIPP Heartwood Academy in San Jose, and Willow Oaks Elementary School in east Menlo Park — are receiving grants for the first time. Through its education program, the foundation has awarded $4.7 million since 2009 to train more than 550 math teachers.
"California's budget crisis has had a profound impact on education and the need for effective professional development opportunities for teachers is greater than ever," said Gina Dalma, the foundation's education program officer. "Shrinking and shifting school budgets have meant severe reductions in professional development and coaching resources. The programs we are funding are providing teachers with instruction they would not otherwise receive."