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Board of Ed Discusses Renewing Everyday Math Program

Board members discussed the Curriculum Committees proposal to renew Everyday Math as the Jan. 17 meeting. Also discussed was replacing exterior doors for security.

During a meeting of the Curriculum Committee, math supervisor John Veninger and math teacher Charlene Hall discussed the program Everyday Math and whether the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education should replace or renew it.

Vice President of the Board of Education, Nancy Bauer announced at the Jan. 17 Board meeting that Veninger pointed out that many of the Everyday Math materials are from 2001 and 2004 and it has become increasingly difficult to replace journals, workbooks, etc.

Bauer said she was impressed by the amount of time Veninger and Hall put into researching different math programs and they ultimately suggested to renew the Everyday Math program.

“We’ve had very good math scores with this program,” Bauer said.

After researching the other two curriculums out there, members of the math department decided they were each missing something that Everyday Math already had.

“One of the benefits of the new version is a lot more enrichment and mediation that our teachers are really excited about,” Bauer said.

Bauer added that although not the reason, renewing Everyday Math would also save the Board of Education money, because if they were to institute a new program training costs would be involved.

Board member Jeanne Cleary who also sits on the Curriculum Committee said it was important to note that Veninger, Hall and their team took the time to see what other programs were out there.

She said that Everyday Math is, “meeting the goals we as a community decided were important to us.”

Veninger pointed out that in addition to math skills, Everyday Math also focuses on attitudes and practices, such as perseverance.

The Curriculum Committee will meet once more before the Board will vote renewing the Everyday Math program.

Also discussed at the Jan. 17 Board of Education meeting was the transfer of funds originally allocated to bathroom upgrades, to instead go towards exterior building doors.

At the previous Board meeting it was voted that $150,000 be spent renovating six middle schools bathrooms, but business administrator Deborah Saridaki asked this be moved to cover the door project.
Resident, Michael Lewis asked how the bathrooms became less of a priority and why the doors were in need of replacement.

Saridaki stated that the door project is an effort to increase security in the school buildings and that the bathrooms will still be renovated from money that exists in the budget.

The motion to spend the $150,000 to replace exterior building doors will be voted on at the Jan. 24 Board of Education meeting.

G Morrison January 23, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Michael Lewis January 23, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Full disclosure: I believe "Everyday Math" provides a completely inadequate foundation to meet the Math-related challenges of a changing - and ever more-competitive world. That said, I have spoken with a number of people who feel that the program is defensible on merit, and I cannot argue unsatisfactory progress on the NJ ASK. "Everyday Math" is being measured against "Go Math" and "Math in Focus". Because the Report of the BOE Curriculum Committee to the full Board was a summary finding it dealt - by definition - in generalities so there was not much discussion on what the other programs left out, or migration to / from the other programs on either an overall or discriminant factor basis. The latter two are variations on what is known as "Singapore Math" which places a stress on mastry of topics before proceeding onward. Mr. Veninger, the Math Supervisor, is to be presenting his team's recommendation in greater depth to the full Board in "early February" (the next Agenda meeting is February 14); it would be my hope that he would be prepared to compare and contrast in greater depth at that time. In the interim, I would strongly urge people who have an interest in what the children of this district are learning in the way of Math, and how, to explore the relative merits of the three programs and address questions to the Board so as to allow a complete examination as to the true merits of retaining "Everyday Math".
Susan Bonnell January 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM
EveryDay Math is an abomination. It may meet the goals that the Board of Ed has set for its math scores, but it has absolutely failed my goals as a parent. My children have learned nothing to mastery. Every night is a horror show of tears and frustration. My younger son (4th grade) consistently feels "stupid" when he's doing his math homework. If this district doesn't take this opportunity to find a program that teaches REAL math, to mastery, then they have failed me as a taxpayer and a parent. And most importantly, they have failed my children, and EVERY CHILD in this district.
bgporter January 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Two interesting links on the topic -- an article from the Chicago Trib http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-08/news/ct-x-everyday-mathematics-20120808_1_math-curricula-everyday-math-curriculum The University of Chicago's "About" page for EM has tons of useful information about the curriculum: http://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/about/
Rich Fortunato January 23, 2013 at 02:33 AM
I sympathize with Susan B. My three children went through the school system, the youngest being a senior now at the high school. I had (blissfully) put out of my mind the difficulties they had with the EveryDay Math techniques of multiplication and division. The concepts of partial products and lattices were quite hard for them to understand. It all seemed to me to make things far more complicated than would have been the case if they had memorized (yes, heaven forbid, through rote learning) their multiplication tables backwards and forwards.
Mr. B January 23, 2013 at 04:24 AM
I'm sorry to hear of the complaints against the math program. We have 3 children who have been taught through EveryDay Math and have loved it. They appear to have a better understanding than I ever did and can connect the concepts to real world applications. My family are supporters.
Ann January 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I also support Everyday Math. The way they offer various options for solving problems means that students can choose the method that works for them. They require the children to explain their thinking which is so important in developing higher level thinking skills. The spiraling curriculum means that the class always returns to a topic rather than "learning" it (short term memory) and then never addressing it again. The new version is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. I'm glad that SPF is staying with it.
Sue January 23, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Perhaps the Board should also discuss Park Middle opening school doors a few minutes early so that students don't have to stand around like sitting ducks in 10 degree temperatures! It's a security risk and just plain old mean!
Nicole Bitette (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Thank you, Michael!
Barry Garelick February 02, 2013 at 10:08 PM
See http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/its-not-just-writing-math-needs-a-revolution-too/263545/ and http://www.educationnews.org/commentaries/13361.html
jacinda barrett March 17, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Not a fan of EDM either. They do not learn to mastery and often take longer to find the solution with their "new math" than I would. I do not know how this will serve them when they need these basics at their finger tips to compete with children on the national level.


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