State Grant Supports Intel Math Institute Hosted by PIMMS, Green Street

PIMMS/ Green Street Director Sara MacSorley and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Christopher Rasmussen.

PIMMS/ Green Street Director Sara MacSorley and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Christopher Rasmussen.

A new state grant will support the creation of an Intel Math Institute for local teachers at Wesleyan starting this summer. The Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS), a partner of the Green Street Arts Center, will develop the course for Middletown and Meriden teachers, supported by the Connecticut State Mathematics and Science Partnership grant of $158,483.

The Institute will pair an intensive, 80-hour math course with ongoing academic-year professional development and arts integration workshops, to help teachers link Common Core concepts to classroom instruction. Artists from Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center will take the math course alongside the teachers and develop workshops for K-8 educators that integrate the arts into math instruction.

“The arts, like science and math, build skills in observation, visual thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving – all valuable skills for the next generation,” said PIMMS and Green Street Arts Center Director Sara MacSorley. “We want to create a space for interdisciplinary teaching and learning. This is the first time we’ve formally integrated the arts into a math professional development opportunity.”

The Institute will be co-taught by Christopher Rasmussen, assistant professor of mathematics, and Math Education Specialist Sharon Heyman, currently the only Intel-trained instructors based in Connecticut. Rasmussen taught an Intel Math course to teachers in the Danbury, Conn. area in 2013.

“I am proud and thrilled that Wesleyan has been awarded a Connecticut State Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant to implement an Intel Math Institute,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “We have long practiced interdisciplinary math and science education on campus, and we are eager to share what we’ve learned with teachers from across the state.”

PIMMS, with 35 years of demonstrated experience in delivering high-quality professional development for math and science teachers, will lead this partnership. MacSorley will serve as project coordinator. She  cited the award as a model for the state’s commitment to maintaining  workforce competitiveness through improved math and science instruction – with an arts-integration twist.

(Photo of Sara MacSorley by Catherine Avalone/ The Middletown Press)