I had a meeting today with several of the curriculum folks with the Greenwich Public Schools. As with my previous visit with Dr. Lulow, everyone was very interested in my thoughts and ideas, and we had a good conversation. That is not to say I got an agreement to do an immediate curriculum review (that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?).
We agreed to disagree on that, but I understand their constraints (as I did before) and they know I will continue to push utilizing a variety of means. Only by having a clear and informative Math Monitoring Report (and reports for the other subject areas) will the Board of Education be in a position to judge where reviews need to be done and where resources need to be committed.
We reviewed my thoughts and ideas on the Math Monitoring Report, some of which will appear in the next version. Hopefully all of the data issues will be corrected. The format of the report will remain the same, and I will forward my suggestions for changes to the format/organization to the Board of Education members, who are talking about how to improve all of the Monitoring Reports.
The author of the section containing comments from Middle School teachers about “the grade 6 students’ preparation for middle school math: difficulty reading problems, basic fact fluency, operations with fractions, long division competency” clarified that the report should have stated that this “informal poll” pertained not to all students, but to a small sample of students with learning disabilities. Noted.
I am glad that most of our sixth graders are not having difficulty reading and, by extension, translating English word problems into math problems to be solved. But I will go back to a comment made by an administrator from another district who said that Everyday Math is a “language rich” program, and that they don’t even use Everyday Math for their special needs learners. Might this be a cause of our lack of progress for the English Language Learners and Special Education students?
And what of long division? It seems that the school has realized it is important and it is now being taught, although the lessons are being supplemented outside of EDM. Several parents of middle schoolers, however, including parents of honor students, have mentioned that their children don’t know how to do long division and that they (the parents) have had to show them. Maybe a catch-up session is needed.
And do you really feel comfortable with your fourth, fifth, and sixth graders’ command of their basic facts?
Upon further review, even with the clarification, I will stick with my 2.5 strikes against Everyday Math.