RCU Awarded $1.5M Through GEER Fund Program

Algebra Nation

Mississippi State University’s Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) was recently awarded $1.5 million by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to implement a pair of projects aimed at providing innovative education solutions across Mississippi.

The projects are part of $4.3 million allocated to MSU during a second round of funding by Gov. Tate Reeves. The GEER program is funded by federal COVID-19 relief legislation and administered by the governors in each state.

“This has been a challenging period for the educators, students and parents in our state. Thanks to Gov. Reeves’ support, these GEER projects will allow the RCU to work with partners such as Math Nation to provide valuable resources that will assist our state’s teachers in providing quality instruction through this pandemic,” RCU Director Betsey Smith said.

The RCU’s partnership with Math Nation – formerly Algebra Nation – will provide expanded digital mathematics tools and resources. The second project will support the development of a robust K-12 online learning environment that would be the first of its kind in the state.

Mississippi’s 141 school districts currently have access to Math Nation’s Algebra 1 and Geometry Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards resources. The GEER Fund award will expand those offerings for students in grades 6-12 to include tools and resources for math; additional support resources for families; and no- or low-cost tutoring with certified tutors from Mississippi’s colleges and universities.

Math Nation’s videos, workbooks and online practice tools have proven successful in Mississippi, with an RCU evaluation of the 2017-2018 school year showing students in high-usage Math Nation schools had an 8.6% higher pass rate than the state average on the Algebra 1 Mississippi Academic Assessment Program.

The expanded offerings will provide more students in grades 6-12 access to Math Nation’s digital platform. The platform is ideal for students needing additional supports and increased standardized test preparation in a COVID-19 learning environment, giving online and offline access to videos and practice tools.

The second GEER project will allow the RCU to create high-quality online courses for most subject areas required for high school graduation and beginner and advanced computer science courses.

The RCU will recruit experts in content creation, online course design and special education to build these online environments that will be available to students for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.

While these courses will enhance learning opportunities for students faced with COVID-19-related quarantine situations, districts can also utilize the courses as remediation for struggling students, an aid for new teachers lacking high levels of expertise and a source of continuing education following a natural disaster.

As part of the project, the RCU will also create and manage a professional development resource to aid state educators in implementing the online courses.

The GEER Fund program seeks to address COVID-19’s impact on the nation’s students and parents. The U.S. Department of Education awarded GEER Funds by formula to the nation’s governors, with Mississippi receiving almost $35 million.

About the RCU
Founded in 1965, the RCU contributes to MSU’s mission as a land-grant institution to better the lives of Mississippians with a focus on improving education. In particular, the RCU benefits K-12 and higher education by developing curricula and assessments, providing training and learning opportunities for educators, researching and evaluating programs, supporting and promoting career and technical education, and leading education innovations. For more information about the RCU, visit rcu.msstate.edu or follow the organization on Facebook (facebook.com/rcumsu), Twitter (twitter.com/rcumsu) and Instagram (instagram.com/rcumsu).

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