Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Seattle Schools seeks members for Math Adoption Committee

From SPS:

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is accepting applications from SPS families and community members interested in serving on the District’s Math Adoption Committee.

The committee will advise SPS on the selection of mathematics instructional materials for kindergarten through Grade 5 students that meet the new Common Core State Standards for mathematics. The goal is to have materials adopted in time for the 2014-15 school year.

The committee will be composed of mathematics teachers from Seattle Public Schools, as well as community and family members with experience in mathematics and with a wide range of skills, knowledge, experience, and working style. The goal is to ensure diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, school/student population representation, and perspectives.

Applications are due to the Math Adoption coordinator no later than Oct. 16, 2013. Those selected as committee members will be notified by email or by telephone during the first week of November.

The Math Adoption committee will require a commitment of approximately 50 hours between November 2013 and spring 2014, including a minimum of four daytime meetings, each runningfrom 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Additional meeting dates and alternate times may be necessary.

The first meeting date is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98134.

Those interested in serving on the Math Adoption Committee should complete the application form (Word or PDF) and email, fax or mail it to Math Adoption Coordinator, Curriculum and Instruction, by Oct. 16, 2013.

The email address is 

The mailing address is:
P.O. Box 34165, MS 32-156
Seattle, WA 98124-1165

The fax number is (206) 252-0179.


Anonymous said...

Forgive my ignorance/cynicism, but do they usually want experts/competent people in these roles, or is it all just lip service to be able to check off the "community input" box on their checklist? (Kinda like screening out the experts in jury selection.)

--Math Ingenue

Anonymous said...

The high school bearded math teacher, who was at Ingram a couple of years ago, he would be great for this. He was passionate about teaching kids, especially struggling kids, math. He saw that investigational methodology was failing the kids, he was able to scaffold them into algebra and beyond (using the "old text books" that he cannily stockpiled and used). Please, what is his name, where is he currently teaching? Would Love to make sure he participates. His insights with real-life kids, not just pedagogical theory, is utterly invaluable, and should be the foundation piece that drives the textual choices for curriculum.

-go Ingraham!

Linh-Co said...

@Math Ingenue - They are mostly looking for group think. At the last high school adoption, we begged Dr. Jack Lee, a UW math professor, to apply to the committee. He teaches a course for future high school geometry teachers. The district did not pick him as one of the members. He also did a written analysis of the Discovering Geometry book for the State Board of Education which basically found it incomplete. Of course, the district went ahead and adopted the Discovering series.

I'm hoping the process is more balanced this time and will be contacting some great teachers and professors to serve on the committee.

Anonymous said...

How about Cliff Mass, or some of the other 60 UW faculty members in math and science who complained in 2008 about the math skills of incoming freshmen? The district does not seem to listen to them and they should.

Or how about Ted Nutting, the Ballard H.S. math teacher who teaches advanced classes? He published many articles about math and described which textbooks actually prepare students for success.

Let’s hope they don’t use surveys again this time to weed out people who dislike investigational methods. We need basic skills for students instead of text-heavy approaches. The story problems do not work.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Please make sure no one on the committee who adopted Everyday Math is even allowed to apply.

- Just sayin'

Patrick said...

Many of the people who might want to serve on the committee will have trouble attending at least four all-day meetings during the workday. Would any of the SPS high school math teachers get release time for that?

Anonymous said...

This is not a HS math adoption. It is an elementary math adoption. We need highly skilled elementary teachers who are well versed in CCSS. This will not be a repeat of the last adoption; so much time was spent looking for a curriculum that fit with our state standards. The curricula out there now is aligned with CCSS. The focus can be on what will be the best fit for our diverse district.

Anonymous said...

Last comment written by MV

Scrawny Kayaker said...

Didn't Charlie sink a bunch of time into an Advanced Learning committee, only to have the district abandon all their work?

Admittedly, choosing to buy one textbook vs. another is (or should be) a less painful decision than the capital project of allocating students and programs to buildings, but at this point I have little belief that the district would give the work of the committee any weight.

+1 to what Linh-Co and S Parent said.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is a discussion around the adoption of elementary texts, but our child is having the misfortune of using the Geometry text at present. It seems too easy and devoid of the formal proof I remember from high school. Proof isn't even mentioned until the last chapter of the text. Will the class even cover it?? We have supplemented our way through EDM and CMP, as well as Algebra. The teacher does not seem to be providing much instruction, just working through the text. My question for the math folks - how do you supplement for Geometry? I'm concerned about what's not being covered. Any recommendations?

math tired

Anonymous said...

Well, @#$%. From Bruce Ramsey's editorial in the Seattle Times (5/12/2009):

Ted Nutting, who teaches AP calculus the traditional way at Ballard High School, recalled the year he tried a reform text. "It was a disaster," he told the School Board May 6. Nutting told them he sent his daughter to Holy Names Academy so that she could learn real math.

I'm not sure which text he's referencing - Algebra, Geometry, or - but, argh.

math tired

Josh Hayes said...

math tired,

Is this in high school? My son did geometry two years ago at Ingraham, and BOY did he moan about all the proofs they had to write - mostly in the first half of the year. AFAIK, they used the standard district Geometry text. But maybe the instructor was supplementing? I don't think so, though, because I distinctly remember seeing him getting proof problems out of his textbook.

Linh-Co said...

@Josh Hayes - Ingraham does not use Discovering Geometry. They use the old Unified texbooks and also another textbook that I can't recall the title.

I have 2 kids at Ingraham and I have never seen either Discovering Algebra or Discovering Geometry textbooks. One is a senior and the other a sophomore. In fact that is why we chose Ingraham instead of Ballard which is our neighborhood school.

RickB said...

@ MV, you stated:
"We need highly skilled elementary teachers who are well versed in CCSS"

Highly skilled, yes. Passionate about teaching math to their students, yes. Well versed in CCSS, not so important. Good math teaching and learning has existed long before CCSS was hatched, and will exist after CCSS is forgotten.

Whatever elementary textbook is adopted should support students, teachers, and families in learning fundamental math rules, and build procedural fluency and understanding on this base.

The selection committee should include the elementary teachers who will be using the books, but also high-performing middle school and high school teachers who are downstream of the elementary grades, and math experts in the community and higher education.

Anonymous said...

Can we just buy Singapore?? Please?? Let's skip the whole committee, let's just get Singapore!! It's particularly supportive of ELL students as well as advanced students. Simple straightforward math. Really. Really!

By the way, some common core standards are actually lower than Washington State grade level expectations for math in elementary. And I would strongly posit that runs counter to wanting to add rigor for all in all GEN Ed classes! We must not dilute standards or expectations.

Besides, we are supposed to be using Singapore as a District anyways, as a supplemental materials to Everyday Math.

Spiraling curriculum? Noooooo.

And for anyone attempting to draw the distinction between curriculum and textbooks, the textbooks are essentially the curriculum when the rubber hits the road in the classroom. Let's not pretend it is anything other than that. Professional teachers get sanctioned when they go "off roading" with their own materials they've brought in. I've seen it happen. It's totally on acceptable, but completely the way these days. Really great teachers getting sanctioned for teaching and being discouraged for using their own judgment. It's sad.

Dan Dempsey, please, weigh-in.

Games are great, tactile and manipulatives are fantastic. Different learners have different learning styles, and lessons need to be able to reach each and every child, absolutely. But games and group play with manipulatives, well, those shouldn't supplant direct instruction and modeling and pencil and paper work. Doing everything as a group in math especially in k5 is just nuts. Group work may be particularly "in vogue" now, and yes, functioning as part of the team in a community is an essential learned skill worthy of being taught in our elementary classrooms during class times. But that can be done during social studies projects or science kits, it shouldn't be for teaching math or or spelling tests or grammar (oh wait, that's right, we don't teacher kids grammer in elementary school, I forgot).

Signed: Please

Anonymous said...

We should have data from the various schools using different math texts - Singapore, EnVision,... What programs are being considered and what is being used now that's not EDM? I'd be interested in what different schools have to say about the programs they've chosen. Thurgood Marshall started using a new program last year, Lincoln is using a new program this year, Schmitz Park (and the new K5STEM?) is using Singapore. How are the various programs working out?


Anonymous said...

Professional teachers get sanctioned when they go "off roading" with their own materials they've brought in. I've seen it happen. It's totally on acceptable, but completely the way these days. Really great teachers getting sanctioned for teaching and being discouraged for using their own judgment. It's sad.

On the flip side, we've experienced some teachers that have used rather bad judgment in their material choices (primarily in Language Arts/Social Studies). Really bad choices. I don't know how you balance academic freedom with ensuring minimum quality or appropriateness of teacher chosen materials.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I was told that parents at Montlake bought Envision for their school to use. I didn't get to ask why. Is this a good one?

Linh-Co said...

Envision is a popular choice these days. Shoreline school district replaced EDM a few years ago with Envision. I haven't actually looked at the material, but my friend who served on their adoption committee says it is better than EDM but not as good as Singapore. Mercer Island SD also uses it. It is from a big publisher with all the bells and whistles but I still prefer Singapore for its rigor and brilliant bar modeling. It is the compromise curriculum for fuzzies and traditionalists.

A few years ago when Bellevue had their adoption, they actually piloted multiple programs in several different schools. The teachers, students, and parents were able to rate the programs on content and accessibility. Both EDM and TERC Investigations were not chosen because of this process. Too bad Seattle will not have enough common sense to do this.