District 181 administrators presented the 2013-14 elementary math program to warm reception this week several months after the 2012-13 program was the focus of significant community ire in the spring.
The goal of getting all students through sixth grade math by the end of fifth grade remains, but assistant superintendent for learning Kevin Russell and his team presented at Monday night’s District 181 Board of Education meeting the different “phases” of accomplishing that goal, including how the district will define success, what the scope and sequence will look like, how professional development will be provided, and how the program will be implemented and evaluated.
The math presentation had been ready for the board’s July meeting, Russell said, but that meeting was canceled.
For the district as a whole, “success” in math in 2013-14 would be achieved by increasing the number of students who exceed state standards on the ISAT test by 3 percent or more over 2012-13, maintaining an average MAP RIT score that falls in the 95th percentile nationally, and increasing the number of students hitting their MAP growth targets.
Russell’s team, which included assistant superintendent for learning (pupil services) Kurt Schneider, director of learning (pupil services) Christine Igoe, and director of curriculum, assessment and instruction Dawn Benaitis, listed specific teacher training sessions that have happened this month and will continue in the fall, and detailed how monitoring will be conducted and when updates to the board of education will take place.
The team also broke down which Everyday Math units would be taught each trimester in order to compact third-, fourth- and fifth-grade math into third and fourth grade, in keeping with a one-grade district-wide acceleration Tonya Moon said is feasible for District 181 in her 2011 study.
“This was not done in isolation,” Russell said. “We worked with out consultants at Everday Math along with third- and fourth-grade teachers to make sure this was doable and at the right pace.”
Board member Mridu Garg questioned the team about how students who can’t keep up with the accelerated curriculum will be addressed. Russell said that students who are either struggling with a curriculum that is too fast for them or too slow will be put through the Response to Intervention (RtI) process so that educators can get a better idea what that student’s specific needs are.
Igoe also said the Everyday Math curriculum is a “spiraling” curriculum that contains lots of review, which could help catch up students who might fall behind on certain topics.
Addressing one of the community concerns last spring, teachers this year will have teaching materials that are consistent throughout the district, and will have access to the materials in hard-copy form, on their desktop hard drives, and online.
“Everywhere they turn, they’ll have it,” Russell said.
Marty Turek thanked the administrative team for the detailed presentation in light of the controversy in May.
“You guys look super buttoned-up here,” Turek said.