NEW YORK—The Fordham University Regional Educational Technology Center (RETC) and the New York City Department of Education’s Region 2 have received a $3.4 million grant to provide Bronx teachers with professional development to help raise student achievement levels in local schools.
The grant, which targets underperforming schools, is part of the federal government’s “No Child Left Behind” legislation and was awarded by the New York State Office of Technology Policy. The grant may grow into a three-year, $11.5 million award based on the progress of the RETC/Region 2 partnership.
Kathleen King, Ed.D., a professor of education and director of the RETC, will spearhead the project, which aims to provide professional development to approximately 470 K-12 teachers over the next three years. The participating teachers will be selected from 25 Region 2 public and private schools in districts 8, 11 and 12 in the Bronx.
“It is my intention to build on the center’s vision for providing professional development for local schools, and this grant is providing a major vehicle to make that a reality,” said King, who took over the leadership of the RETC last July. “I see this as a very tangible demonstration of how Fordham would like to support New York City and local community schools, and we are investing our resources to do that.”
The program is slated to begin in July, when the RETC will start training approximately 160 teachers. Throughout the year, the teachers, who will be provided with laptop computers, will spend 25 hours on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus and will take some of the 25 online courses eveloped by the center. RETC staff will also conduct site visits in Region 2 Bronx schools.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to help our students,” said Laura Rodriguez, Region 2 superintendent. “This grant will help us bring 21st-century technology into the development of class lessons for both literacy and math to improve student performance.”
The teachers will learn about instructional technology, information technology and instructional design that will assist them in developing custom lessons and curricula that match students’ individual skill levels. They will also be exposed to online resources that provide curricula, integrated problem-solving tools and math lessons, among other offerings.
The hope is that the teachers who come through the program can share their new skill sets with other teachers to improve the general achievement levels of the schools, King said.
In addition to this grant, King has secured an additional $2.3 million in local and federal funding for technology and education-related research and professional development projects since arriving at Fordham in 1997. Under her leadership, the RETC staff has been developing additional partnerships and working with a growing number of schools and organizations around New York City. Frank Melia, acting assistant director of the RETC, and Barbara Heuer, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of adult education at Fordham, assisted King in writing the grant proposal for the $3.4 million award.
King is the director of the master’s program in Adult Education and Human Resource Development at Fordham’s Graduate School of Education and is the author and co-author of several books. She is a noted scholar and expert in the professional development of educators, instructional technology, adult learning and distance learning.
The RETC is dedicated to serving and researching the professional development needs of educators striving to improve student and teacher performance. The center’s award-winning programs serve educators across grade levels and contexts, providing in-class and distance-learning opportunities.Information about King’s work and the RETC may be found at http://www.retc.fordham.edu.
“Fordham is proud of our faculty’s commitment to bring their great expertise to the service of the city, the community, and the nation. In that, the RETC represents some of the best that the University has to offer,” said John Hollwitz, Ph.D., the vice president of academic affairs. “We are dedicated to wisdom and learning in the service of others, and this grant will help the RETC to fulfill that mission.”