Citadel creates Center for Mathematical Inquiry to help SC public school students

The Citadel Photo

Photo: (left to right) Jennifer Albert, Ph.D., Evan Ortlieb, Ph.D. and Richard Robinson, Ph.D., leaders of the new Center for Mathematical Inquiry

South Carolina high school math teachers in rural school districts encouraged to apply for professional development opportunity, with $2,000 stipend, by Jan. 31 deadline

As a whole, South Carolina public schools are often ranked among the lowest in the country by organizations including U.S. News & World Report, and the National Education Association, for example. Math is identified as one of the key subject areas needing improvement.

Part of the mission of The Citadel’s Zucker Family School of Education (ZFSOE) is to help improve the quality of education in the state. ZFSOE continuously strives to provide professional development opportunities to K-12 teachers to help them improve their skills.

One new way the ZFSOE will help math teachers in South Carolina is the Center for Mathematical Inquiry. Funded by a $100,000 grant from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (SC-CHE), the Center will provide professional development opportunities to Algebra 2 teachers, paying each $2,000 for their participation.

Dean of the Zucker Family School of Education Evan Ortlieb, Ph.D.

It’s a joint effort involving the ZFSOE’s STEM Center of Excellence, led by Jennifer Albert, Ph.D., and Swain School of Mathematics and Science professor, Richard Robinson, Ph.D.

 “One of the key areas of need in the state is assistance with fully engaging high school students who are studying Algebra 2. Right now only about 70% of them in South Carolina pass the course,” said Evan Ortlieb, Ph.D., dean of the ZFSOE and project director for the Center. “Through a professional development workshop and webinar series, Algebra 2 teachers will come together across multiple rural school districts to collaborate and share best practices, as well as learn new concepts in teaching the course.”

The Center will provide this training virtually to 24 South Carolina high school teachers. “Teachers from anywhere in the state can apply through January 31,” Ortlieb said.

Ortlieb explained that 10 of those slots are reserved for teachers in Georgetown County School District (GCSD). Compared to the state’s pass rate of 70%, only about half of GCSD students pass Algebra 2, a particularly important area to focus on.

Superintendent for Georgetown County School District Keith Price, Ed.S.

“We are thrilled that The Citadel is partnering with us to provide this professional learning series for our Algebra 2 teachers,” said Keith Price, Ed.S., superintendent for GCSD. “Algebra 2 is such an important course to help students prepare for college and career readiness. By engaging in this opportunity, not only will our teachers have the opportunity to study, plan, collaborate and implement research-based best practices, but our students will also see increased potential for success in this rigorous course as well as subsequent courses to follow.”

The Center will provide other programming as well, including free monthly webinars, open to anyone interested in attending.

Applications are open to South Carolina teachers until January 31.

To apply for one of the Algebra 2 program openings, click here. For more information, visit the project’s website at:, or contact Ashley Andrews at

This is a sponsored project through a grant from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education under the auspices of the EIA Centers of Excellence Grant Program.