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By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is partnering with Kearney Public Schools to help the local school district implement new math curriculum.
UNK worked with KPS to create a one-time graduate course that will focus on math instruction with a direct connection to the curriculum KPS is adopting next fall at its elementary and middle schools. About 30 educators from KPS will take the course in late May and mid-July before serving as training leaders for other teachers within the district.
The graduate course is being offered tuition-free to these educators through the UNK Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
UNK associate professor Amy Nebesniak, who is teaching the course, said the partnership comes naturally since the university and KPS are both dedicated to improving educational opportunities and instruction at all levels.
“UNK administration’s support of this specialized course is a clear indicator of UNK’s desire to strengthen our collaborative efforts with KPS to promote the overall improvement of education in our community,” Nebesniak said.
KPS is implementing the Eureka Math curriculum, which emphasizes research-based best teaching practices to help students build a stronger understanding of the subject. The graduate course will focus on instructional strategies KPS teachers can use moving forward.
“A curriculum is just a book and some resources,” Nebesniak said. “Teachers are the ones who cause the learning to happen.”
Jason Mundorf, associate superintendent at KPS, called the partnership with UNK “a fantastic way for our teachers to learn the most-current research and instructional practices of math.”
“We feel this class will only increase their understanding of effective math instruction and how to deliver that to our students,” he said.
UNK benefits from the partnership by boosting its graduate student enrollment and promoting master’s programs that would be a good fit for participating teachers.
“On a larger scale, UNK will be positively impacting the professional development of teachers across the district and the math education of their students,” Nebesniak said.
This will better prepare KPS students to attend UNK in the future.
“In the end, it is all about the students,” Nebesniak said. “UNK and KPS have chosen to partner because we both care deeply about students’ education.”