Log In

Reset Password

Board Tables Proposed Math Texts Pending Further Review



Text Size

Board Tables Proposed Math Texts Pending Further Review

By Susan Coney

Deciding that more review was needed, the Board of Education Tuesday tabled proposals to have all elementary schools use the same math textbooks and to purchase a textbook for a new senior math course at the high school.

The proposed adoption of the textbook program, Growing With Mathematics, applies to textbooks to be used in grades three and four; and deals with the purchase of textbooks and materials for some 847 students. At the present time Growing With Mathematics is the textbook series that is used at Hawley, Sandy Hook, and Head O’ Meadow schools. Middle Gate uses a different text, Everyday Math.

Alice Jackson, assistant superintendent, presented several reasons for the text recommendations: It is an excellent program, strongly backed by research that has been used in an earlier edition in three of the four schools; it will bring continuity of program through all the schools; the teacher manual is the most user friendly and only one-fourth of the staff will have to make a major transition. Ms Jackson said that Middle Gate School would switch from the Everyday Math program to Growing With Mathematics and the other three elementary schools would receive new updated additions of Growing With Mathematics.

Initially, representative teachers from each grade reviewed the materials and made recommendations. Elementary principals and math/science specialists reviewed the materials and made additional comments. Ms Jackson synthesized the information and made the recommendation to the Math Curriculum Committee to adopt the updated series for all four schools.

Ms Jackson said there would be advantages to having all four schools using the same textbook, such as allowing teachers to collaborate with teachers from other schools and saving dollars in teacher training. She also stressed the need to present all the students in Newtown with the same information in the same way.

“Schools can have distinct personalities, they can work independently, but we need to have continuity,” Ms Jackson said. “We will add five or six other math resources and teachers will add their resources to the curriculum. There’s no one resource out there that teaches everything that is included in our curriculum.”

During public participation, Sarah Beier, president of Council of Newtown PTA and co-chair for Citizens for Newtown, supported the proposal to have all of the elementary schools adopt the same program.

Later Ms Beier told The Bee, “I think I speak for many parents when I say we want equity and consistency across elementary schools and even within schools and across teachers. We support the superintendent and assistant superintendent’s efforts to achieve this. We want this as taxpayers because efficiencies are created when there is one standard that everyone teaches and trains to.”

Superintendent Evan Pitkoff also told the school board that he supported the concept of having all of the schools use the same program.

“I strongly feel, especially in regard to reading, writing, and mathematics, that it is important to have a consistent program across the board. If you want excellence, everyone has to have a common goal,” he said. “If someone has a wonderful program in one school they need to bring it and foster it and use that resource to improve all the schools. It’s a way to improve on an already super, duper system.”

The second textbook series involved a high school textbook, Nature of Mathematics. Last fall the school board approved the College Prep A course for seniors who do not want to take calculus but want to keep their skills fresh for college. Already 40 students have signed up for the course that is slated to begin this fall.

Ms Jackson told the board that the text was applicable to everyday life and that students that reviewed it found it to be exciting. But Elaine McClure, board chairman, was somewhat hesitant to endorse the new high school text.

“I’m curious as to why that book was chosen, it seems too simple,” she said.

She said she noticed that it contained lots of basic concepts students had already been exposed to in Integrated Math I, II, III.

Ms Jackson responded, “It was reviewed by the Math Curriculum Committee and they absolutely loved it.”

At the close of the meeting most of the board members were in agreement about the advantages to having the elementary schools all working in the same program. Elaine McClure stressed that she was not against the adoptions of the particular materials but wanted to be prudent when making such a decision.

“We need to think about the direction the board is going in [in the math adoption process] and make sure we are clear on our direction,” she said. Out of respect for Ms McClure, the board unanimously decided to table the math adoptions until they further review the information.

Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply