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Teachers in the La Crosse School District have been selected to participate in a  study of math education in its elementary and middle schools.

More than 200 kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers from six states will team up with the Examining Mathematics Coaching Project to improve classroom   instruction.

Seven math coaches and 21 teachers in La Crosse will take part, at no cost to the district.

Randi Anderson, district supervisor of literacy, assessment and Title I, expects the program will bolster student achievement while providing teachers with additional resources to better their instruction.

Many teachers still have a limited math background even after four years of college, she said.

“Math is an area we would like to see grow,” Anderson said, citing Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination scores, district math assessments and grades at the high school level.

Schools nationwide often hire coaches to work with teachers on new curriculums.

The research will help schools know what effect coaches have and what they need to know about math and coaching to do their jobs well, said David Yopp, assistant professor of mathematics education at Montana State University in Bozeman and the grant’s principal investigator.

La Crosse public schools already have literacy coaches and have seen benefits for veteran staff as well as new teachers, said Rob Tyvoll, district English Language Learner  coordinator.

“They become internal experts” that staff are comfortable reaching out to because they respect their experience and knowledge, Tyvoll said.

The project, led by researchers at Montana State University

in Bozeman and RMC Research Corp. in Denver,  is  funded by

a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

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