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With the adoption of new State Standards for Math, the Natrona County School District is looking to update its math curriculum in K-12. A recommendation has been placed before the Board of Trustees to adopt Glencoe as the common curriculum for every school and every grade level. The Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the recommendation at its next Board Meeting on May 13, 2013. To help parents better understand the decision behind this recommendation, we asked Cheryl Gettings, Director of Teaching and Learning at NCSD, to answer some questions.
1. Why are we changing to one program for all grades in all schools?
For the past 16 years schools have chosen their own programs to teach math. Different programs provide a different focus for students. As students move through grade levels these differences can lead to confusion for students and parents. In addition, as students with many different math approaches begin taking high school math, secondary teachers can be left trying to fill-in gaps that may have been left by some math programs.
2. Why did the committee recommend Glencoe?
Committee members extensively reviewed all the materials submitted. The elementary, middle, and high school committee members determined Glencoe math resources offered a seamless transition for NCSD students.
3. How is Glencoe customizable for all students – will it address the idea that every student learns differently?
Glencoe resources provide teachers opportunities to individualize instruction for all lessons.
4. What does the Common Core have to do with it?
The Common Core was adopted as the State Standards for Math and Language Arts by the State of Wyoming in 2011. Following these standards in our district is NOT a choice, it is a requirement set forth by the State Department of Education. The Common Core State Standards for Math outline what students should know and be able to do in order to succeed in college and a modern work force.
5. What if my child has been successful with his/her current math program?
Current programs in the district have been written to support success on old standards. In order for students to continue to experience success in math teachers need new resources that were designed to meet the new standards.
6. Will my child fall behind in math?
The concern is not that our students will fall behind, rather that we give our students the opportunity to move ahead and compete in the workforce. The math standards require students to dig deeper than ever before and apply skills within their grade level to new problems. Assessments will now require students to explain their thinking and justify their work.
7. Who studied the different options?
The committee was comprised of 21 NCSD teachers and administrators. There were 10 members representing K-5 from 10 different schools; six middle level members representing five different schools; and five high school levels representing three different schools. The committee reviewed resources using a tool designed to screen resources to determine the ability of the resources to support implementation of the new standards.
8. How will this adoption affect schools of choice?
As a parent, what was the basis for your choice of which school your child would attend? Common resources for math standards won’t change a schools philosophy, culture, staff strengths, location, and opportunities for parental involvement. Common resources will allow teachers from all schools to work together, using researched best practices, to increase student achievement for all NCSD students.
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