Friday, April 04, 2014

Seattle Schools Math Adoption Materials Available for Review

From SPS Communications:

Elementary math instructional materials - We want your feedback!
The elementary math adoption committee work has reached a critical stage. In looking to partner with parents and community to find the best possible math program for Seattle Public School students for the 2014-15 school year and beyond, the committee invites you to give us your thoughts and opinions.

The committee is excited to have three possible math programs as viable candidates. Click here for more information, or below for translated fliers. One of the original candidates, My Math has been removed from consideration.

While the math committee prefers community members review the materials in person, we know that’s not always an option. You can review materials online starting April 1. Visit

• Amharic
• Chinese
• English
• Oromo
• Somali
• Tagalog
• Tigrigna
• Vietnamese

Click here for the Instructional Math Adoption Web page.


Linh-Co said...

At least the worst program has been removed. My Math shot themselves in the foot by violating policies. They initiated contacts with 180 SPS staff and were going to their own dog and pony show.

No big surprise they are a McCraw-Hill product like Everyday Math.

Eric B said...

Of the remaining contenders, which ones are good?

Greg said...

Anyone able to get through the Math in Focus and Go Math online evaluation logins? Neither worked for me when I tried.

I was able to get through on enVision, but the website is very difficult to use. From what I can see, there's no easy way to skim through the material. And there's certainly no way to do what I wanted to do, easily compare the candidates.

I'm not sure what the committee is seeking in terms of thoughts and opinions from the community, but this set up makes it very hard to review the materials or provide anything constructive.

SusanH said...

I know we always want community involvement in district matters, but it seems silly to ask parents who know nothing about math curricula to weigh in. Shouldn't the district rely on the experts to make this huge decision? Like the UW professors who have had definite opinions in this area, or other education professionals? How am I supposed to know...

Anonymous said...

Hi SusanH,

I'm not sure if your comment is meant to be sarcastic, referring to the district's usual way of doing things, or if you really don't know what parents have to add.
I was planning to go look at the proposed new materials. There are really two things I am looking for: The first one is clarity/ non-wordiness. In other words, can a person (either the child or the parent) look at the text & understand what is being explained, or read the questions and understand what is being asked? A lot of math books are so text-heavy, or use of lot of jargon or unneccesarily complicated language in lieu of simple, everyday vocabulary, making it difficult to figure out what they are trying to say. Sometimes my kids will show me their math homework and ask me what a particular question means, and I have to read it several times to try & figure out what they are asking (I'm an engineer. I do math all the time at work. I should not be scratching my head over elementary school homework because whoever wrote the problem was incapable of expressing the question clearly).
The next things I would like to see are a more thorough and consistant approach to teaching topics - not this circling back/ 5 methods in 2 weeks approach the everyday math has, which never gives kids enough time to really master a concept before they are done with it, or move on to a different way of doing it. Also there needs to be more focus on basic arithmetic (adding subtracting, multiplying and dividing) - kids really need a good foundation in these basics, because there is no way to do well at any higher level of maths without knowing the basics first. (Even for people who don't like math and avoid it as much as possible, you have to be able to do basic arithment just for functional things like paying the bills). Basic arithmentic is boring, it needs to be memorized, it is not fun or creative, BUT the time needs to be spent on it because it is so fundamental to everything that will be studied in math for the rest of school.

My .02 of what I'm looking for as a parent. I'd be interested in other suggestions for things to consider.

Mom of 4

SusanH said...

Thanks Mom of 4!

Nope I wasn't being sarcastic. I just really feel unqualified to judge a math curriculum. But everything you say makes perfect sense, and is what I've heard again and again from parents and teachers alike: more "math", more mastery, etc.

disgusted said...

Susan H,

My child suffered through Discovery Math and it cost me time and resources to send my child to Kumon to make up for curriculum deficiencies. You know more than you think.

Anonymous said...

423545815Susan is a welcome voice for the parents who don't read this blog, can't read this blog (because they are immigrants or are not in "the loop"), or any number of other factors.

Folks, this is not rocket science. If the district simply hired Cliff Mass or any number of other true university caliber people (I'm not referring to the School of Education types), it would be a no-brainer.

This report says it all:

SusanH was in no way sarcastic, but was a breath of fresh air.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the thing: I'm not qualified to judge whether these are good or not. That's why we had a committee and teachers look at these differing math approaches.

I also agree that it would have been great to ask some people in higher ed about them.

But one thing that is important to understand is that parents will be helping with homework. Sometimes it's the freshest/most untrained eye that catches something.

No one has to look thru these but I do appreciate the district putting it out there.

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