TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

Posted on December 3, 2014

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TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University (WOU) has been awarded a $1 million grant by the Oregon Department of Education to recruit and educate 60 teachers in the mid-valley and mid-coastal areas to become Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (EMILs).  Project DEMILO (Developing Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders in Oregon) is a collaboration between WOU, TRI, the Willamette Education Service District, and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub to address the need for increased math content knowledge for elementary school teachers. 

A critical and timely project as the state fully implements the new Common Core State Standards in Math,  EMILs are teachers, educational leaders, or coaches who are responsible for supporting effective math instruction and student learning at the classroom, school, district and state levels.  Their specific roles will vary depending upon their school district, but all EMILs will act as a resource and provide leadership to the educators in their respective areas.

WOU is the first (and as of this writing, the only) university in Oregon to offer an Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) approved program leading to an Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader specialization. According to Dr. Cheryl Beaver, the Project Director, “underachievement in math in elementary school becomes a barrier for students who wish to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs or a STEM college major.” 

Technology and interactive strategies, already demonstrating success in the Oregon Coast STEM Hub project to increase elementary students’ achievement in science, will become an integral part of Project DEMILO. “Given the time constraints of teachers and the distance challenges of living on the coast or in rural locations, using online and web-video conferencing for professional development is necessary,” noted Ruth McDonald, Partnerships Coordinator, Oregon Coast STEM Hub.

Over the course of the next three years, three cohorts of 20 teachers will complete the EMIL specialization at Western Oregon University and then bring their instructional leadership skills to their districts to help elementary school students succeed -- helping meet Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal.  “For 40% of Oregon’s students to have some post-secondary education and another 40% to attain a bachelor’s degree, they will need to have a strong conceptual understanding of math,” stated Beaver.  “The U.S. is predicted to need an additional 1 million STEM professionals by 2020.  This project helps us contribute to closing that gap.”

The mission of the Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University is to inform and facilitate change in educational and human service systems to improve the quality of life for individuals. 

For more information contact:

Dr. Cheryl Beaver - 503-838-8404,

Dr. Christina Reagle - 503-838-8871,


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