Comments, ideas and concerns about the math curricula at Andover Public Schools

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Next School Committee Meeting Tues. Feb. 27

Start time: 7:30 pm
Location: School Committee Mtg, 2nd Floor
School Administration Offices,
36R Bartlet Street
Agenda in PDF

Also broadcast live on Comcast Channel 10 (see Channel 10 for rebroadcast times.)

It would be good to learn when we will hear the answers to the rest of the questions from the math roundtable on January 31!


Marjorie Andresen said...

During the "communications" section of the meeting Dr. O'Neil gave the following info:
1- confirmed that she had been asked by the School Committee to find a way to publicly address the remaining questions from the roundtable on 1/31 and will do so beginning with some tonight and some at future meetings
2- said that roundtable participants had reconvened to process the info from 1/31 roundtable meeting
3- another meeting with the principals is set. During that meeting they will continue to process info from the roundtable, refine and brainstorm next steps.

Then she addressed three additional points from the roundtable:
1) Current grade 10 skills - gaps in math instruction
To be proactive she and Donna Pappalardo have been meeting. A diagnostic test was administered to Algebra 3 and Math 3 students. This test is to help to identify gaps in individual teaching as well as curriculum. Donna is analyzing the data now and they will work to provide assistance who students who need algebra remediation. Too early for results but they are identifying skills. According to Marcia these skill gaps are not new but have been ongoing. She said they would provide tutoring help. (AHS listserv notice sent on 2/28 provides information about the test and the tutorial sessions to follow. Contact AHS for info.)
2) Challenging advanced students - this goes to the heart of the discussion from the roundtable
They will continue to meet to talk about this topic, (including in my upcoming meeting on 3/1/07).
3) Evaluation of the middle school math program
They are framing this as a K-12 evaluation, looking at the whole program. When and how the eval takes place is a much longer answer but it will encompass a collection of multiple data points including student performance scores, surveys, student work, # AHS sections of each type of math and how many students in each, etc. This will be the work of the curriculum council for next year. It will be a comprehensive review.

Marcia concluded by saying it is her plan to touch base at School Committee meetings and to bring back progress updates.

This was a very positive dialogue and I am encouraged by Dr. O'Neil's comments. I am continuing to meet with Dr. O'Neil, along with parent representatives from all three of the middle schools. We are convening on 3/1/07.

Marj Andresen

Anonymous said...

There are 2 issues which need to be addressed:
1) the use of CMP as the main math program, rather than just an additional resource
2) leveling in math

1) CMP can be effective when used as an adjunct to a more structured math program. The programs in use prior to CMP were also a Pearson product. In fact, CMP contains recycled material from older Pearson programs. The "new" support materials borrow heavily from the Pearson book previously in use in the 7th and 8th grades. CMP, as it stands now, does not cover all the 7th grade standards. This problem results in additional math classes which are needed to cover essentials. The teachers are doing their best, given an inferior program which they are mandated to use. The use of coaches for these teachers is an insult!

2) Requiring all students to perform at the same level in math is counter-intuitive. Cognitive development cannot be rushed. Some students are ready for more abstraction and are bored with hands-on activities. Others need extended time with manipulatives so that understanding can be solidified. Leveling should be fluid so that movement is allowed and encouraged in both directions. To have one teacher attempt to do a superior job with both groups in one class is unreasonable.