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KNOXVILLE — Two University of Tennessee colleges have teamed up to help improve math and science education at East Tennessee middle schools.

UT’s Collaborative for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Science is hosting a workshop for 40 area teachers July 9-19 at West Valley Middle School.

The CEEMS initiative was formed by UT’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences and is funded by UT-Battelle, manager of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Dr. Lynn Champion, director of CEEMS and academic outreach for UT arts and sciences, said the collaborative nature of the program make it unique and effective.

“Faculty teams from education and arts and sciences are working together to develop and teach the workshop,” Champion said. “School administrators and teachers are collaborating to develop a curricular focus which would benefit teachers and their students.

“The teams of mathematics and science teachers partnering in the workshop activities will be encouraged to continue working together as they return to their classrooms.”

The workshop titled “Seeds for Success” is taught by UT faculty and will focus on Level I Gateway standards in biology and algebra.

Gateway testing is the state’s new initiative for end-of-course tests in 10 key subjects. Teachers will earn 3 semester hours of graduate credit for the workshop seminar.

Champion said teachers and UT faculty would communicate throughout the academic year via an interactive web site. UT faculty also will visit the teachers’ classrooms during the coming academic year.

Workshop participants will meet again this fall to address questions and share experiences in applying what they learn in the program.

“Inspiring, demanding, challenging and great are ways to describe this workshop,” Randall Brookshire, a teacher at Fort Loudon Middle School, said. “The atmosphere is relaxed and the instructors are doing a great job.”

Dr. Lynn Cagle, associate dean of education and director of teacher licensure at UT, said the two UT colleges have worked together on various projects and teacher education programs since 1983.

Cagle said UT students who seek to become teachers complete a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences and a fifth year internship through the College of Education.

The dual-college system produces certified teachers with master’s degrees who are more competitive in the job market, he said.

The joint programs have prospered under Dr. Glennon Rowell, dean of education, and Dr. Lorayne Lester, dean of arts and sciences, and they have been lauded by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, he said.

“Both colleges have a vested interest in improving the quality of the teachers we educate and providing enriching continuing education and professional development
experiences for in-service teachers,” Cagle said.

Dr. Lee Riedinger, UT-Battelle Vice President and ORNL Deputy Director for Science and Technology, said support for science and mathematics education is a major outreach initiative of UT-Battelle.

“We are proud to be able to support this important and innovative program at the University of Tennessee,” Riedinger said. “The CEEMS initiative for enhancing mathematics and science instruction in Tennessee’s middle schools is a perfect fit with UT-Battelle’s community service focus on education. We also hope it will lead to future scientists from our state working at ORNL.”