UW-River Falls, Area High Schools Team Up in Mathematics Partnership Project

Oct. 12, 2012--In August, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction awarded a $316,594 two-year grant to provide professional development for middle school & high school math teachers in Western Wisconsin, preparing them for the upcoming implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. The project funded by the grant, entitled, "Math Transition into the Common Core Era," held its kick-off meeting Oct. 20 in Rice Lake. 

The main partners in the grant are the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the Rice Lake Area School District. Additional partners include the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and twelve other school districts in Western Wisconsin (Barron, Cameron, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Lake Holcombe, Luck, Osseo-Fairchild, Baldwin-Woodville, Ellsworth, Menomonie, Prairie Farm, and River Falls). To date, 36 teachers are involved in the project. 

"Each year of the grant we will provide approximately 100 hours of professional development that focuses on mathematical modeling and the practice standards, which will both be new areas of emphasis in state assessments," said Erick Hofacker, assistant professor of mathematics at UW-River Falls and co-principal investigator for the grant. "The common core standards will emphasize focus, coherence, and rigor which include looking at mathematics from both a theoretical and an applied perspective.  The grant activities include teachers and students using modeling to solve multifaceted, real world math problems in their classrooms aligned to the common core standards.  Besides the intensive professional development, each year the higher education faculty (co-PI's) will meet individually with the participants to discuss the implementation of modeling, to examine classroom artifacts, and to observe teachers' lessons which address the common core standards." 

Kathryn Ernie, professor of mathematics at UW-River Falls, and Sherrie Serros, professor of mathematics at UW-Eau Claire, serve as the other co-primary investigators for the grant. Barbara Bennie, associate professor of statistics at UW-La Crosse, will serve as the external evaluator on the project.  

The program is one of four newly funded projects this year by a Mathematics and Science partnership grant through Wisconsin Department of Instruction. Funding for the grants is part of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title II (Part B), Improving Teacher Quality Grant Program. More information on Mathematics and Science Partnership grants, including a full list of recipients is available at 

For more information on the Math Transition into the Common Core Era program, contact Hofacker at 715-425-3347 or

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