Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday: School Board work session on mathematics

School Board Work Session
Tuesday, December 15, 4 PM
Next Tuesday’s School Board Work Session on the topic of Elementary Mathematics promises to be informative. It is on the agenda at the request of Board member Kelly Lichter, an outspoken critic of how math is taught in our schools.
According to the Executive Summary on the meeting agenda, “State standards and district-developed curriculum maps and resources form the foundation of the elementary math curriculum. The presentation will share the connectedness between the elementary math program, the secondary math program, and the types of problem-solving necessitated for college and career readiness.”
A draft PowerPoint presentation to be given at the meeting indicates what we can expect.
First, Jennifer Kincaid, Executive Director, Elementary Programs, will review the Mathematics Florida Standards (MAFS), which are the foundation for the CCPS math program. 
Then, Sarah Woofter, Coordinator, Elementary Mathematics, will explain how computation is done under MAFS, and illustrate the difference between understanding vs. memorization with what I found to be really interesting examples. 
Next, Margaux Horne, Assistant Principal, Lake Trafford Elementary, will present the many types of support available for teachers and parents of students in K–5 math. 
Finally, Kimberly Ragusa, Coordinator, Secondary Mathematics, will explain how the way elementary math is taught prepares students for math instruction at the high school level. She will also explain changes to the ACT test beginning Fall 2015 and the SAT test beginning in March 2016 for which CCPS students are being prepared. From the PowerPoint:
The ACT reformatted standards reflect the language of the many sets of college and career readiness standards being used by states, of which the Common Core State Standards are one. The ACT score report will have additional reporting areas for each section (English, mathematics, reading and science) and a composite score of those four.
SAT questions focus on skills that matter most for college and career readiness and success. Changes to the new SAT will include words in context, command of evidence, essay analyzing the source, advanced mathematical concepts on more complex equations and the manipulation they require, problems grounded in real world context, analysis in science and in history/social studies, use of founding documents.
If you’re interested in how math is being taught in Collier Schools, and WHY it’s being taught that way, attend the meeting in person, watch it live on TV or the CCPS website, or watch it at your leisure on-demand.
If you have comments to share with School Board members or the Superintendent, email them here:
Kathleen Curatolo -
Erika Donalds -
Kelly Lichter -
Julie Sprague -
Roy Terry -
Superintendent Kamela Patton -

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1 comment:

  1. To do due diligence, any proposal adopting new materials out of cycle should include:

    • evidence that the current curriculum is deficient, specifically that math performance is due to the curriculum and not to other factors,

    • data to show that a new curriculum is proven to work in Districts with our demographic characteristics,

    • data on the cost, including professional development. The Stanford emeritus professor, James Milgram, likes Singapore Math better than other curricula, but says that few teachers are trained well enough to use it. Professional development must be a key feature (see references below).


    Q&A with James Milgram. On the importance of professional development:

    “There is a pretty good program hidden inside Everyday Math. But no more than 1 in 500 teachers are capable of locating and delivering it. However, that one teacher would almost certainly be able to do better on her own.

    Singapore math, on the other hand, is very solid mathematically and in terms of the problems students are given. But there are some limitations. It isn't quite as effective for ALL students as the pure Russian program. Also, there are many elementary school teachers who don't know enough mathematics to deliver the Singapore program effectively, and need extensive professional development. (Singapore adopted the Chinese curriculum in 1984, but this was the program the Chinese adopted from Russia in 1955. However, the Russian program requires teachers who are even more mathematically knowledgeable than does Singapore.)”

    The Hechinger Report. How Does Common Core Compare to Other Countries?

    “The reality is that they are better than 85 or 90 percent of the state standards they replace. Not a little better. A lot better,” said James Milgram, a mathematician at Stanford University who sat on the Common Core validation committee. But, he added, “that’s really a comment on the abysmal quality of these state standards.”