Cape Henlopen School District elementary teachers just got a boost in their math content professional development with the award of a nearly $150,000 state grant.
In September, the Delaware Department of Education announced $3.8 million was awarded to school districts as part of the state’s Reimagining Professional Learning Grants program. Nine districts received 15 grants to support professional learning that will impact 99 schools and more than 60,000 students statewide.
Cape received $147,469 to be used for math content professional development for teachers throughout its five elementary schools, thanks to a successful grant application submitted by Jill Wittman, Cape district math specialist for students in pre-K through sixth grade.
The RPL grant program started in 2016 and has shifted its focus to support state efforts to scale professional learning around the adoption and use of high-quality instructional materials.
Wittman said she believes students struggled more with math during the hybrid and remote learning periods during the pandemic. The goal is to get them working on grade-level concepts with teachers best equipped to help them.
With grant funds, Wittman said, she will plan professional development opportunities for teachers led by representatives from the Math Learning Center who wrote the curriculum in use by the district.
Wittman said she is also working with the U.S. Math Recovery Council to help teachers better understand students’ learning progression in math concepts and how to align instruction with new strategies. More confident teachers will help students, Wittman said.
“It will help to deepen the implementation of our own high-quality instructional materials by helping our teachers,” Wittman said. “I’m excited for it.”
With 27 years of experience in education, Wittman has served as the Cape district elementary math specialist for the past two years. She joined the district in 2012 as a fourth-grade teacher at H.O. Brittingham Elementary and was later named math specialist at Rehoboth Elementary. Prior to that, she was a fifth-grade teacher in the Woodbridge School District.