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U of I Coeur d’Alene Professor to Co-Lead $2.8 Million Grant for Math Learning in Rural Districts

October 31, 2023

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — To better understand current conditions, challenges and resources associated with middle school math education in rural areas across the U.S., a University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene researcher has been named a principal investigator for a four-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Julie Amador, professor of mathematics education, will co-lead the collaboration between U of I and University of Rochester, along with Horizon Research Inc. The same team spent the past seven years researching how to provide professional support for middle school teachers in rural areas and establishing online professional development courses for those rural math educators.

“We aim to support educators and students in rural areas in Idaho and beyond by enhancing the quality and rigor of middle school mathematics, with the purpose of opening opportunities for journeys and careers in STEM fields,” said Amador, director of the Region 1 Idaho Regional Mathematics Center.

The award is through the NSF Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) program, which provides grants to enhance education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science through innovative research and development.

Research will include a national survey of 1,000 rural middle school math educators and in-depth interviews with a sample of survey participants to create and deliver rigorous online professional development to 10 rural middle schools throughout the U.S.

The research will cumulate in convening a Rural Landscape Conference for up to 40 rural educators, stakeholders and education policymakers to discuss the study’s findings and identify actionable recommendations to evaluate the quality of math instruction in rural areas.

“As we work alongside teachers in rural contexts, we hope to support the STEM pipeline in ways that foster economic competition in regions that traditionally are not as well-resourced as those in more urban and suburban areas,” Amador said.

The grant, titled “Synchronous Online Professional Learning Experiences for Middle Grades Mathematics Teachers in Rural Contexts,” is funded by the National Science Foundation under Award Number 1620911. The total project funding is $2,822,085, of which 100% is the federal share.

Media Contact:

Julie Amador
Professor of Mathematics Education
University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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