SVCF awards nearly $900,000 to boost skills and tools for middle school math educators

In advance of rigorous new school-measurement standards coming soon in California, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has awarded a dozen grants totaling $868,471 to help close the middle-school achievement gap in mathematics in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The funded programs are expected to improve math instruction for approximately 35,000 middle school students; provide professional development support to more than 50 local school districts and charter schools; and offer teacher training opportunities to more than 500 local educators charged with teaching middle schoolers the math skills they need for high school, college and the 21st century workforce.

The grantmaking strategies and sub-strategies that have been employed by SVCF since 2008 to provide more than $90 million in grants are currently under strategic review. The review process will ensure that funding is addressing Silicon Valley’s most pressing current community needs; results of the review will be announced in October 2017.

Given the evidence that teacher effectiveness is the No. 1 determinant of student success, these newly announced grants under SVCF's education grantmaking strategy are geared toward supporting teachers. They will provide vital support for helping students – especially low-income or at-risk students – develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Those skills will be required under California’s new student-progress accountability and improvement program, the California School Dashboard, being unveiled this month.

“Educators, parents and employers all know how important it is to be math-proficient to succeed in our region’s tech economy and workforce,” said Valerie Cuevas, senior program officer for SVCF’s education grantmaking. “The programs we are supporting will increase the number of underserved students that are on schedule to enroll in college-track high school mathematics courses.”

The programs being supported by these grants include:

  • Campbell Union High School District, which will receive $80,000 to expand its summer bridge program for students taking mathematics coursework during the summer between eighth and ninth grades, preparing them to meet the course timeline required in high school.
     
  • The Krause Center for Innovation will receive $89,780 to grow their Faculty Academy for Mathematics Excellence (FAME) professional development program. The program deepens knowledge, instruction and technology strategies for teachers working with English learners and low-income students.
     
  • La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District will receive $97,127 to collaborate with the Charles A. Dana Center, a leading teacher professional development provider. With the partnership, the district will use shared learning and other tools to help middle school mathematics teachers and school site leaders attain new state practice standards.

In all, the 12 grants will support three local school districts, five teacher-training providers serving all school districts in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, one education practice nonprofit and three charter schools.

See a full list of the grantees, grant amounts and descriptions

Read about SVCF’s grantmaking review process, which began in 2016 and will conclude in October 2017.