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Improving Teacher Quality

Science and Math Impacting Learners of English (SMILE)

Grant Number: 07-418

Grant Award: $999,666

Duration of Project: Monday, October 01, 2007 - Friday, September 30, 2011

Project Subject Areas: Math and Science

Grade Band: K-2

Institutes of Higher Education:

  • University of California, Irvine, School of Physical Sciences

Local Education Agencies:

  • Compton Unified, Compton


  • University of California, Irvine, Irvine, Department of Education

Number of teachers/principals/highly qualified paraprofessionals participating in the project:



This project intends to increase student achievement in math and use science lessons to improve achievement in Language Arts and math. Improvement will come through improved teacher quality: more effective instruction, a deeper understanding of content standards and how to teach them, principal support, active school-based teacher learning communities and parent education and support.
This project will observe an increase in teachers’ constructivist teaching strategies as well as other research-based strategies shown to be effective with English Learners and Special Education students. This project intends to increase teacher content and pedagogical content knowledge as well as raise teacher self-efficacy for teaching math and science and for increasing student performance.


1-week summer institutes and academic year PD-Saturdays will be offered annually to 75 K-2 teachers from the treatment schools in three cohorts. Teachers will attend two vertical team meetings annually to discuss and participate in lessons demonstrating the vertical articulation of standards from the Preschool Learning Foundations through grade 3. The 16 treatment schools will also participate in training for conducting Everyday Literacy for Families evenings for parents.
Monthly, grade level meetings will be held at all treatment schools to plan and reflect upon specific lessons learned in PD and implemented in the classroom with a focus on analysis of student work. All CUSD elementary principals will attend 1-day institutes annually, focused on research on math and science learning and increased achievement in English Language Arts through science instruction.

Anticipated Outcomes:

  • Increased teacher content knowledge in math and science, including awareness of standards for other grade levels
  • A significant increase in effective teaching practices in the classrooms, especially with EL and Special Ed students
  • Increased awareness of the effectiveness of science lessons on student achievement in English and mathematics
  • Increased teacher self-efficacy and expectations for student performance by all students
  • Increased parental use of literacy strategies
  • Increased support at the school site level from colleagues and administration, including learning community establishment


Project: Therese Shanahan, Research Director,
Institute of Higher Education: Ann Miller, Co-Director,
Institute of Higher Education: George Miller, Project Director,
Local Education Agency: Alane Calhoun, LEA Co-Director,

Questions, Comments, Corrections?

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