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 'Getting Ready for Algebra Online' Provides Unprecedented Training, Anytime, Any Place

​San Diego County educators have a new and powerful tool to use in their on-going efforts to improve student achievement in mathematics: an online staff development program that has been called awe-inspiring by educational technology experts.

"Getting Ready for Algebra Online" features precise standards-aligned lesson plans for mathematics teachers in grades 4-9 (Intervention), classroom video of exemplary teaching and links to adopted textbook correlations, plus targeted strategies for English learners and special needs students, among many other features. Visit http://www.sdcoe.net/gra to find out more about the online program and the free fall rollout trainings.

The new online training tool, designed to help teachers raise achievement among struggling math students, was unveiled recently at the San Diego County Office of Education. In attendance was new San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward, along with a cohort of teachers and administrators from the 15 local school districts that partnered on the successful grant application.

"This is the kind of thing I wish I had when I was a teacher," said Nancy Giberson, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Resources and Educational Technology (LRET) at the County Office of Education. "We are firm believers in the ability to use technology as a teaching tool, and we're thrilled to made this tool available to teachers."

"Getting Ready for Algebra Online" was a result of the work of the San Diego County Superintendents Achievement Gap Task Force, chaired by Ed Brand, Superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District. Two years ago the task force commissioned the "Getting Ready for Algebra" training guide, now in use throughout the state, and the new online resource uses that guide as its launch-point.

Brand credited Del Mar Union School District Superintendent Tom Bishop for the impetus to apply as a group---all 15 participating districts---for the California Math Science Partnership (CaMSP) grant that made "Getting Ready for Algebra Online" possible.

"As a result of Tom Bishop's leadership, we agreed to forgo individual district grants," Brand said. "Instead, we worked together to get the kind of grant we needed, which we got for this project."

It was Giberson's LRET staff, and specifically the Professional Development Online (PDOP) Team headed by Leslie Hays and Grace Ko, that produced "Getting Ready for Algebra Online." They tapped the expertise of 60 teachers from the 15 participating districts, as well as SDSU mathematics professors Dr. Nadine Bezuk and Dr. Nicholas Branca.

Those 60 teachers have now been trained on the new staff development tool, and will return to their districts to begin training others. Participating districts are: Cajon Valley Union, Escondido Elementary, JCCS, Lemon Grove, Mountain Empire Unified, La Mesa Spring Valley, National Elementary, Oceanside Unified, San Ysidro, South Bay Union, Sweetwater Union High, and Vista Unified.