UNC Greensboro today announced that the School of Education has been awarded a five-year, $6.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The funding, administered through the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program, provides a teaching residency for 80 master’s-degree-level students, multiple professional development programs, and training for teachers so they can develop ways to integrate computational content and practices into K-12 instruction in the Rockingham and Surry school districts.

Computational literacy and practices go beyond knowing how to use computer hardware and complex software programs. Computational thinking refers to the ability to use computers and computational technologies to solve problems. Students will be taught how to think differently using the latest technology available.

“This is truly transformational work,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “Our faculty and students are committed to creating long-term, meaningful change in rural communities that need and deserve the highest quality public instruction. A project of such scope and magnitude would not have been possible without this award; we are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for its generous support.”

This project creates the new Piedmont Teacher Residency Program (PTRP), an immersive teaching residency for high-need subjects and areas with two rural school districts – Rockingham County Schools and Surry County Schools. Both school-based faculty and UNCG will support teacher candidates as they integrate computational practices in STEM classrooms and within design frameworks used in school-based makerspaces.

Goals of the PTRP include preparing 20 teachers per year to work in the partner districts’ schools, particularly those with high need.

Federal funding will pay for half of the total project’s cost, with the equivalent of $6.1 million being provided by UNCG and partner school districts through in-kind services and resources such as time and other educational resources.

The grant project will be led by a team of UNCG faculty with lead principal investigator Dr. Christina O’Connor, director of professional education preparation, policy, and accountability for the UNCG School of Education, guiding the team.

Principal investigators on the project are from the UNCG School of Education: Dr. Beverly Faircloth, associate professor; Dr. Sara Heredia, assistant professor; Dr. Amy Vetter, associate professor; Dr. Marcia Rock, associate professor; Dr. Holt Wilson, associate professor; and Dr. Scott Howerton, clinical assistant professor.