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A New USU Math Academy Prepares Teachers for the Common Core

Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013

photo illustration, child with paper and pencil

Utah State University's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services is launching a new Elementary Mathematics Teachers Academy to prepare teachers to more effectively teach the Common Core Standards for mathematics.

USU Math Academy developer Jennifer Boyer-Thurgood

Jennifer Boyer-Thurgood

USU Math Academy developrer Patricia Moyer-Packenham

Patricia Moyer-Packenham

The new Elementary Mathematics Teachers Academy at Utah State University launches fall semester 2013, with the goal of preparing teachers to more effectively teach the Common Core Standards for mathematics.

“It’s a completely new way of thinking about how you deliver content,” said Patricia Moyer-Packenham, who led the team that developed the 100 percent online academy.

It is a personalized professional development experience for K-6 teachers and mathematics leaders. Teachers can build their own course by selecting 15 modules from the 100 available topics. On completing those modules, they can earn three masters level credits from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at USU.

Participants can work through the online modules at their own pace within a semester.

The academy will help teachers keep up with the changes brought on by the Common Core Standards, said Fallon Farokhi, a fourth grade teacher at Edith Bowen Laboratory School.

The new standards “pretty much shook everything up for us,” she said. “We have months to teach a concept, and we have to have resources. We need to go deeper… but how?”

The USU academy is a response to those needs.

“Teachers needed some sort of professional development to help them teach the math content of the common core,” Moyer-Packenham said. “We decided to make modules that were specific for each grade level. Then we decided that if we created individual learning modules on all these different math content areas, teachers could choose the ones they need.”

Jennifer Boyer-Thurgood, a teacher and academy developer, said participants in the program will have access to an instructor when they want it, either by phone or Skype.

Courses begin this fall, with plans to offer the program to elementary teachers nationwide in spring 2014.

Related links:

USU School of Teacher Education and Leadership

USU Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services

Contact: Jennifer Boyer-Thurgood,

Writer: JoLynne Lyon, 435-797-1463

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