At the Feb. 14 Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education meeting, Mathematics Supervisor John Veninger made a presentation on the successes of the Everyday Math program and encouraged the board to renew the program to the 2012 version.
Many of the board members found Veninger’s presentation informative and helpful and they seemed to agree that renewing the program would be in the best interest of the children. The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education will be voting on the renewal of the Everyday Math program at the Feb. 21 meeting.
Veninger informed the board that last year’s goal of the mathematics department was to align the programs with the content standards of the common core standards put forth by the state. Now that the programs are aligned, the goal this year is to focus on the practice standards.
During his instructional update he explained the practice standards to the board as well as presented a movie of the elementary school students learning math in their classrooms.
In Veninger’s movie, Dr. Evans, Principal of Coles Elementary said that Everyday Math shows that the students love math and teachers love to teach math.
“I’m very confident this program addresses what really matters in teaching the mathematical program,” she said.
Following the movie presentation, Veninger stated that the view into the classrooms should demonstrate that the current program aligns to both the content and the practice standards.
“Though we always endeavor to improve student performance we can say that the program has been successful for a wide range of students based on our longitudinal testing data and student affect - those visible by the high schoolers,” he said.
He added that the 2012 copyright version of Everyday Math comes with new technological applications that parents can use at home, which they are very excited about.
When the meeting opened to the public, Fanwood resident Michael Lewis discussed his concerns with the Everyday Math program and reminded the board of a study done by the Bridgewater-Raritan School District about the limitations of the program. Lewis also submitted the same letter to Patch which you can read here.
“It’s not a matter of winning or losing or right and wrong it’s what is best for the children,” Lewis said.
Board member Douglass Layne thanked Lewis for bringing the letter to the board’s attention and said he found it to be very informative reading about the program.
Layne also asked Veninger if the district is seeing a drop in the number of students taking algebra in high School because it is one of their goals is for students to be at the algebra level before freshman year.
Veninger said they are consistently seeing a drop in High School algebra students and there is only a small subset of students who continue to need extra time to mature into algebra. He added that there are also an increasing number of students taking top classes and most students make it to the calculus level.
Jeanne Cleary of the Board pointed out that when her son was in elementary school she had frustrations with the Everyday Math program but after her initial concern she realized the success of the program after by seeing how excited her son was to do math.
Board President Trip Whitehouse added that his wife, a math teacher in another district, said she sees no issues with Everyday Math and it is most successful when followed through into Middle School and High School math, which the SPF district has been doing.
“A program like this that does allow you to come up with your own strategies with the support of the educator in the room, I don’t think we want to let that go,” Whitehouse said. “Especially where we are seeing results.”
Whitehouse closed by saying that finances will never be a driving force on what curriculum choices the board makes.
For Patch’s previous article on the board’s examination of the Everyday Math program, click here.