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6510 - Malone University science and math teacher instruction “SUNBEAMS” program awarded grant for sixth consecutive year

6510 - January 25, 2013

The Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) awarded Malone University's School of Education and Human Development an Improving Teacher Quality grant for the sixth consecutive year – and this year is the largest grant yet at $114,132. The project, called SUNBEAMS (Students Understanding the Natural World by Broadening the Education and Applications of Math and Science), has received more than $600,000 from OBR to date, allowing the School to reach 290 Preschool-Grade 2 teachers in high-need districts in Stark County. The grant allows significant contribution to the quality of math and science instruction to Stark County area schools and is expected to include 100 new teachers.

The goals of SUNBEAMS are:

  • To develop the capacity of teachers to understand and utilize integrated math and science methods and standards-based content in preschool and primary grades classrooms.
  • To improve student achievement and learning outcomes as measured by teachers' reports of students' acquisition of science and math content/skills and technology skills.
  • To build professional learning communities within the schools through discussion and action research.
  • To equip special educators, teachers of students whose primary language is not English, and early education teachers within high needs Local Education Agencies (LEA) with a greater understanding of and specific strategies for differentiating instruction with cultural diversity, poverty, and special needs in mind.

The project is co-directed by Beth Clark-Thomas, Ph.D., professor of education and Nancy Varian, Ph.D., director of the Malone University School of Education & Human Development's Center for Professional Development.

From Canton City Schools Office of the Superintendent:

"The partnership between Malone University and the Canton City School District has allowed us the ability to support teacher training while fostering professional development for teachers and improving connections between the university and the community it serves.  The SUNBEAMS (Students Understanding the Natural-world by Broadening the Education and Applications of Math and Science) Grant allows teachers to participate in an intensive one year professional development training facilitated by educators and specialists in the fields of science and math. The training proves invaluable as it is inclusive of diversity and literacy applications while at the same time supports the development of an action research project using curriculum developed in the training."

The project relies heavily upon the development of pre- and post-assessment, and analysis of the data measuring the impact of their instruction on student learning.

According to CCS, "The SUNBEAMS curriculum is then shared with other teachers in their buildings, who are then encouraged to participate in the action research project. Through participation, teachers receive hundreds of dollars of curriculum materials which are aligned with the common core and state standards to use in the units they teach for the benefit of students. They also receive copies of assorted children's literature, informational text and manipulatives which further enhance the classroom experience for our students.  Overall, the school district's improvement and performance is due to an understanding of how to allocate resources appropriately. Professional development partnerships further strengthen our creative options from which staff and students continue to grow and benefit rather than adapting to an existing model."

Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2015 


Suzanne Thomas, APR
Director of University Relations
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, OH, 44709
Phone: 330-471-8239
Cell: 330-324-2424

Categories: academics