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Schools Outreach Receives Grant

Schools Outreach Center Receives Irvine Foundation Grant to Support and Expand Its Work

The ALPHA Center receives a math grant to support and expand programs that enrich students’ understanding and strengthen teachers’ knowledge.

(June 20, 2006)

Participants receive instruction during Desert GEMS in 2005

Participants receive instruction during Desert GEMS in 2005

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — Officials at UC Riverside’s schools outreach clearinghouse, The ALPHA Center, announced today the receipt of a $150,000 James Irvine Foundation grant to sustain and expand programs for middle and high school students, their teachers, and prospective teachers from the Coachella and Imperial valleys.

The new Irvine Foundation grant augments an existing $300,000 allocation that supports programs for K-12 teachers and their students in the two desert valleys. The $300,000 allocation includes previous James Irvine and P-20 Alliance grants for $150,000 each.

Pamela Clute, ALPHA Center Executive Director and UCR Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Educational Partnerships, is excited about the grant because it allows UCR to strengthen its ties with the two desert regions.

“This Irvine grant basically allows successful ALPHA programs to continue to have a presence in the Coachella Valley,” Clute said. “Using the satellite campus at UCR Palm Desert, we are able to offer professional development for teachers, academies for K-12 students and opportunities for community college transfer students from the College of the Desert without them having to drive to Riverside.”

She thanked the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, the three Coachella Valley school districts — Desert Sands, Coachella and Palm Springs — and the region’s community college, the College of the Desert, for providing much of the expertise to prepare the area’s workforce to serve the region.

Some desert programs the ALPHA Center provides include:

  • Girls Excelling in Mathematics with Success (GEMS) is a collection of academies for middle- and high-school girls that focuses on importance of mathematics to college and to life. The purpose is to equip girls with knowledge about mathematics, community service, mentoring and the spirit of supporting one another. GEMS has served 800 girls and their parents, 20 college female students seeking certification in mathematics and science teaching, 15 existing teachers and their principals, and 20 female community leaders who serve as speakers.

  • Desert MATE (Mathematics Academy for Teaching Excellence) is an intensive summer program for teachers designed to provide them with mathematics content, teaching approaches to the content and research issues related to how teacher development impacts student achievement. Algebra, geometry and analysis form the core of the program because these topics are a key to higher mathematics for college entrance. MATE has reached 90 teachers from Riverside and Imperial Counties.

  • California Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (CMST) provides College of the Desert students, who are willing to transfer to UC Riverside, with annual $5,000 fellowships for teaching highly-conceptualized mathematics or science to K-12 students in Riverside County while pursuing their teaching credentials. These transfer students must major in mathematics, science or education. The program has just begun in the region.

Since 1998, the ALPHA Center has worked in partnership with K-12 schools, community colleges and other universities, businesses, foundations and nonprofits, to develop programs which prepare students to enter and excel in college.

Recognizing the importance of quality teaching, the center also provides professional development for teachers and future teachers conducting research on how students learn and which teaching methods are most effective in the critical areas of mathematics and science.

Student- and teacher-based programs have reached more than 119,400 students, 9,900 teachers and 845 administrators. ALPHA Center programs have had an impact on approximately 190 schools in Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial and eastern Los Angeles counties.

The ALPHA Center programs have brought national recognition to UC Riverside from President Bush and the National Science Foundation, Senator Boxer and the Department of Education, Congressmen Jerry Lewis, Ken Calvert and Joe Baca, as well as from representatives for the California State Legislature and from the boards of supervisors of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grant-making foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, inclusive and successful society. The foundation was established in 1937 by James Irvine, the California pioneer whose 110,000-acre ranch in Southern California was among the largest privately-owned landholdings in the state. With assets of more than $1.5 billion, the foundation expects to make grants of $69 million in 2006 for the people of California.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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