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A Drexel University program aimed at improving math and science teaching in Philadelphia has received a $100,000 boost from Uncle Sam. Last June, Drexel won a federal grant to expand the Teacher Preparation Program -- an "institute" meant to bolster elementary and middle school teaching in math-and science-related fields. The program is designed to encourage more high school and college students to pursue those subjects. "This nation is in a crisis period in the learning of mathematics and science," said Fredricka Reisman, the program's director. "We have to do more than just talk about the issue." Every middle school in the city is required to send two teachers to the program. This summer, the teachers participated in a five-week training session, which included nine hours of weekly instruction, and three hours of weekly discussions and demonstrations. "We're teaching them like we want them to teach their students," Reisman said. "If they [the teachers] are modeling fear and avoidance of math and science, then that's what their students will learn." Ryda Rose, a lecturer here at the University's Graduate School of Education, has been a lead instructor in the Drexel program for two years This summer the program focused on concepts in heat, light and motion. Tests of the teachers before and after the program have shown "phenomenal growth results," Reisman said. During the year, she and other instructors will visit the teachers in their classrooms and videotape them to further monitor the results. The grant has allowed Drexel to expand the program, which was created in conjunction with the Philadelphia Renaissance in Science and Mathematics Program. Drexel was chosen to receive the grant because of the school's comprehensive program and Philadelphia's need for an improved educational system. "The very first part of the proposal had to do with local need assessment," said Linda Benedetto, of the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg. Benedetto is on the state committee which doles out the federal funds. Reisman said that Drexel will be apply for the grant again next year.

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