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

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Math update for the fall - from Marj

As the school year starts we should expect to see changes in the implementation of middle school math according to the enhancement plan presented by the principals at the June 12 School Committee meeting.

Some of the anticipated "improvements" include:
- use of the IMPACT math materials in the classroom
- use of pre and post assessments to determine student knowledge of the materials, grouping of students, what materials can be skipped, where extra time should be spent, etc.
- flexible grouping of students into work groups for enrichment and extension
- possible cross - teaming of students to assist with flexible grouping (where applicable at your middle school)
- use of enrichment periods for additional math work (where applicable at your middle school)

Marj Andresen has been told that Ann Collins, the consultant to the district, will be working with the teachers to adjust the pacing charts for Connected Math. You can check with your child's teacher on this.

Donna Pappalardo is the new 6-12 math coordinator.

Teachers will be attending a workshop specifically geared toward differentiated instruction for Connected Math. This workshop is being delivered by Teachers21.

Not to be negative but:
There are still some lingering questions and concerns about this enhancement plan. It did not result from a robust evaluation of the current curriculum and implementation -- or at least no evaluation was published for community review. It remains to be seen whether or not this plan addresses the concerns that have been voiced by parents, students and teachers over the course of the last year. Or whether it addresses concerns raised publicly at the Jan 2007 forum.

And becuz this plan was presented at the end of the school year, there was no chance for stakeholders to ask questions before this plan was put into place.

According to the published curriculum review plan, the last school year was the time to collect data for the evaluation of the K-12 math program. For reasons unknown this data collection did not occur last year and is now slated for this school year. A part of that published plan is collection of benchmark assessments (what do other schools do?) as well as a survey of parents, students and teachers to determine the impact of the program. We are all looking forward to the opportunity to participate in this process during the upcoming school year.

Notes from School Committee meeting 8/14

At last night's School Committee meeting they reviewed the draft of the 2007-2008 Goals and Objectives. These are what the school district is tasked to achieve for the upcoming school year and represent our best chance to exert influence over the administration.

Marj Andresen attended the working session where these goals were drafted. There was a lot of discussion around ensuring that we strive for student achievement for all students. And that the goals and objectives are measurable. The question "how do we know when we get there?" was often asked.

Using the draft goals as a starting point, the school administration will refine the document to come up with the published goals and objectives for the Andover public schools. Although not the focus of the upcoming admin offsite, there will be some discussion around this topic. At last night's meeting Dr. Bach said she would return to the School Committee with a refined set of goals and objectives in about a month (late September - early October).

Here, on page three, is the current draft.