Thursday, June 05, 2014

Math Adoption: Thoughts and Analysis

Good morning.   That was quite an evening (and I even got to leave as the Board continue to slog through the lengthy agenda).   I'll try to have another thread about other items I heard about at last night's meeting.

As I go thru this thread, some of these thoughts will sound familiar as I quickly went thru the 11(?) threads I wrote for the comments.  Some of these thoughts are your thoughts and I thank you all for hanging in there and writing them down.  

I note that, as of this hour, the Seattle Times has not one single thing to say on this story.

Update: I did query the Board office about notification to Board members about changes to the agenda.  Here is the reply:


It is the Board Office practice to send the Board an email the afternoon of the agenda posting (Friday), and additional emails on the afternoons of following days if there are additional revisions to the agenda, prior to the Board meeting.  Directors were sent an email at 5 pm on Monday and Tuesday to note revisions to the agenda, and Tuesday's email did note the addition of the second amendment to the Math Adoption item.
 
End of update.


Overall
I believe the democratic process worked and really, that was for the best.   

Our district needs to operate as the public institution it is.  This was one of the single biggest decisions this district could make for students and academic outcomes. 

As someone else said, staff is there for professional input and the Math Adoption Committee was there to bring expertise and fresh eyes to the materials.  (But it was interesting that one reader said that it almost seemed like no real math was examined by the Committee- just alignment to Common Core and costs.)

Math in Focus will cost more money.  How much more is open to debate but we'll see soon enough. (Some advertisers might say this:  math curriculum - $6M.  Higher K-5 math scores across all groups?  Priceless.)

But the district is a public institution and the public - from experts to parents to teachers/administrators - all get to weigh in.  There was some disagreement on how many people DID weigh in and what it meant.  (I note that the last time that the public could see the materials was over a vacation period. ) But the SCPTSA did not think parents got enough of a chance.  Director Blanford thought it was some small "subset" of people who weighed in and to that I can only say that in a public process, it is nearly always that way.

In the end, some of the Board - Peters and McLaren - went the extra 100 miles to do their own research - examining the materials, asking staff questions, asking educators questions, benchmarking and then comparing all that evidence.  Their work came at the end of a process but their work was still part of the process.   That it all seemed late lies in the hands of staff who managed all the process except the Board's work.  The district does this "running late" dance on nearly every major decision.

This time, it backfired.

The Board
The entire Board - save Director Blanford - had done their homework.    I was pleased that none of them went to the "process well" that one speaker during Public Testimony wanted them to go to.  (They may get dinged for some governance issue but again, their job is oversight, not rubberstamping.  They did their job.)

They all acknowledged and thanked the staff and the Math Adoption Committee.

By my count, three of them - Peters, McLaren and Peaslee - also apologized for asking tough, direct questions of staff, even challenging them on some statements.  

To my long-term advocate eye, all were professional, save Director Blanford.

Sue Peters and Marty McLaren were nothing short of magnificent.  They were calm, answered on points and were clear about the passion they have for the subject.

Betty Patu was great and in two ways.

One was her plain-spoken questioning about costs.  It was interesting because Director Carr, because of her work at Boeing, seemed to think that once the choice was made for a curriculum, that the district would lose any negotiating ability.  Betty seemed to challenge that by saying, look, when I buy something that is negotiable, the instant you make the decision it doesn't leave you with no wiggle room.  Carr and Patu being at difference places in their experience doesn't make either wrong.  (But, for the record, I spoke very briefly with one of the Math in Focus vendors and I was told that of course, there was still negotiating to do).

Two, Patu - among all the directors - had the most direct experience with trying to learn math as an English as a second language speaker.  She said she learned best when there were pictures or diagrams, not just words.  The struggle to read AND learn a math concept at the same time was very hard for her.  She also mentioned parents being able to help their children.  She brought that prospective to the table. 

Harium Martin-Morris was his usual big-picture self.   He was right that the most important thing is the teaching.  But to say the book is a "shiny object" misses the point.  It's the curriculum given to the teacher plus how the teacher presents it.  You really can't separate the two.  He was right, though, about professional development and supports needing to be there for teachers. 

Sharon Peaslee, while still getting her Robert's Rules of Order sea legs, kept things going.  She waited for her colleagues to ask their questions first.  She ran for office, promising to give a lot of attention to the math issue.  I don't think she had the time to do the kind of research Peters and McLaren did but I think she made sure she asked the right questions and reviewed input.  I'll be honest; I really didn't know how she would vote.  I'm sure as Board President, it was difficult to go against staff's recommendation.

Sherry Carr was her usual detailed oriented self. Her questioning was good and she pressed staff for clarity.  Her reasoning for picking enVision was fine but the evidence to back it up seemed lacking.

Not enough public input to take it seriously?  She didn't seem to wonder - as a parent and former PTA president - why more parents didn't weigh in.

More schools currently using enVision over MIF?  There could be many reasons for that and since the staff didn't explain why any school was using a different math than EDM, I'm not sure that works as an argument.

Highline versus Shoreline?  Let's ask Susan Enfield in Highline if the number of mobile/immigrant/F/RL students in her district works for the use of MIF rather than enVision.  In fact, as one reader pointed out, the South Seattle area probably has the most number of mobile students and the fact that Highline and Seattle districts will have the same math may work in their favor.  (And again, where were those mobility numbers? Staff presented none.)

Money?  It was firmly acknowledged that MIF was going to cost more than enVision.  But math and reading are the core of all learning.  Of ALL the places to skimp, math is not one of them.  Carr believed all the cost analysis given by staff and I think that was a mistake.

Stephan Blanford was an embarrassment.  I continue to see what must be the slowest learning curve in Board history.

I am attempting to find out how it missed his notice that there was a second amendment to this issue.  That he seemed upset about not knowing was even stranger.  Did he not realize how it would sound to say that outloud?  Then he said he decided to use the same remarks he had written about a dual-adoption for this new issue.  Also odd.

He was the most combative person at the dais and spoke of "math wars" and parents wanting what was best for their child and not considering the other children in the district.

I have no quibble with individual parents considering their own child but I think most parents who weighed in were probably thinking of their child's entire school.  It's the staff's job, the Board's job and the Committee's job to consider the whole district. 

Costs
 I note three things on costs.

One, I attended one half of one MAC meeting.  Shauna Heath was present and was asked about costs.  She said the district had about $2M to spend on the math curriculum.  So it was with surprise that I saw that number inflated - for enVision - to about $3.6M.   And then MIF was double that.  We will know once we see the contract. 

Two, Director Peters really nailed it - again, doing her homework - when she observed that enVision only has paperback-type books for K-2 while MIF has hard cover books for K-5.  She asked if hardback books would not last longer so, in the end, cost less in replacement.  Staff admitted it was a good point.

Three, this was one place where it was quite clear that staff were trying to put enVision in the best possible light and MIF in the worst.
 
Staff
I know it was a difficult night for staff.  They had worked hard and, because of the amendments, had to scramble to provide a response.  But again, it's part of a process.  If they did not consider the possibility of a challenge, given the number of Board members who had ran for office with math as an important consideration, then they erred in their thinking.

Listening to the responses was truly puzzling.  These are smart people - I know that because I've spoken with most of them enough times.  But they did not do a good job in presenting their responses.

A decent apples-to-apples chart comparison, especially around costs,  would have aided them (the one they had was not easy to follow).

Not leading with the academics?  Very puzzling because the main issue is not to save money but to get better outcomes. 

Charles Wright, deputy superintendent, admitted that he got pressed into service very late.  His job was to try to explain what might have to be put on hold if the Board chose a more expensive math adoption.  He started with science/Advanced Learning issues.  He also stated that the district had no dedicated recruitment person, no one who just reviews invoices for errors  and no one to go after private grants.  (It's 2014 and our district has none of these types of issues covered?)   He then moved onto Special Ed help (including medically fragile students) and threw in archival needs.

As others have stated, how about fewer administrators at JSCEE first?  It's all about the priorities.

Math Adoption Committee
First, thank you.  I know what that work is like and it is a tough position to be in.

Next, don't be too tough on anyone for not speaking their mind.  You have to understand that you are part of a team.  It feels that way, it's expressed to you when you apply and are selected and you can be loathe to be accused of "hurting the process."  I can say I do regret not speaking out when I was on the school closure committee.

It was a big team and I have no doubt they had differing opinions.  

Waivers
I have no idea what is going on because one slide staff presented clearly stated that some schools using math curriculum other than EDM do NOT have waivers.

As I said previously, there was no info presented (except for arguments about Schmitz Park) about why any school went off-script, how they paid for it and how they chose the curriculum they were using.  That would have been pretty helpful info to know.

Also, fun fact that I didn't know: according to Michael Tolley, Ex. Directors approve math waivers in their regions.  Why, I don't know. 

Will we continue to see waivers?  Maybe but only if the school pays for it and if the curriculum chosen is Common Core cozy.

Advocacy
A big thank you to Rick Burke, Joan Sias, Linh-Co Nguyen, Cliff Mass, Dan Dempsey, and every single one of you who spoke out to the Board.  I hope you now believe that you, yes YOU, can make a difference.

A special shout-out to Ballard High teacher, Ted Nutting.  Mr. Nutting has been speaking out for more than a decade about math in SPS.  I have read many letters to the editor at the Times from him on this subject.  I have heard from so many parents of his students who believe he is a great teacher.  He is retiring this year.  Thank you for your service.

As for me, well, it was one of those nights where you could see democracy in action.  You heard civic discourse and saw elected officials doing their oversight job.  I was glad to be there to witness it. 

93 comments:

Reflecting said...

Director Peters did her homework. Her research included benchmarking, costs etc.

Director McLaren gave a strong speech. She acknowledged that math instruction is not the time to introduce language and heavy comprehension.

No one can say that Directors Peters and McLaren failed to do their homework.

The committee did essential work. They narrowed curriculum and brought important perspectives.

I'm disappointed that the district didn't provide the public with strong numbers related to costs, licensing fees, professional development provided by Pearson, and I look forward to hearing more.

Reflecting said...

I need to add: The staff are good people and care deeply about the children of Seattle.

ScrawnyKayaker said...

Eighteen hours after the vote, and I can find nothing about it on the Seattle Times website.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

reposted from another strand:

This is the second time the board has gone against the MAC and chosen a different curriculum. The last time was to give us EDM and we all know how that turned out. I find it hard to believe that ANY teachers will bother joining a curriculum committee in the future. I am not a fan of envision or Math in Focus. I advocated for waiting another year before adopting to give other publishers a chance to finish writing curriculum that is solid math and has some alignment to the CCSS that students and teacher are going to be tested on. I think that we all deserve a better curriculum. I’m disheartened by this whole process. I am disappointed in the School Board for placing so little value on the hard work the MAC did. I am disappointed in how few teachers actually reviewed the curriculum for adoption. I am disappointed in the board for not doing a better job at listening to the TEACHERS (who did offer opinions and feedback) as they are the ones who have the best understanding of kids, teaching, curriculum and the CCSS. I don’t think that I can keep teaching for SPS much longer.

-teacher

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yep, nothing on Seattle Times. Both KUOW and KPLU covered math adoption and the selection on today's broadcasts.

Thank you, Melissa, for all your advocacy and the reports last night!

-happy parent

Anonymous said...

An irresponsible and egotistical abuse of the public process by the proposers of the last minute second amendment and their lackeys who voted with them.

The public had no time to review the newly proposed sole consideration materials, nor was their time to comment. Most thought, like Director Blandford, that voting would be on the dual adoption, not the complete overriding of the recommendations of a thoughtful publicly convened committee. Due process was not provided.

Now the children are saddled with a regressive, unsophisticated math program from an undemocratic authoritarian state. A lack of imagination as to how children learn on the part of four board members has resulted in a debacle which will hinder our students. Tragic.

I hope the district can find ways to allow those who are successfully using constructivist methodologies to continue. A whole-scale adoption of MIF is a disaster.

For progress

Anonymous said...

Did Charles Wright give any specifics when he claimed that science and Advanced Learning issues might have to be put on hold if the Board chose a more expensive math adoption? I'm curious as to what sort of money they had earmarked for projects in those areas in the first place. I'm guessing none, other than what's been--and still will be--required. My BS meter is going off, but perhaps I'm wrong?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@ For progress, can you elaborate on your statement?

I hope the district can find ways to allow those who are successfully using constructivist methodologies to continue.

Who is successfully using which constructivist methodologies?

Thanks,
HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@teacher:

I've spent 10 years being on a (non-education) technical subcommittee that reports to a political board, and we regularly have our recommendations overturned for purely political reasons; it hurts, but one grows a thick skin.

The district really hurt the MAC with its steerage. There was confusions on how binding the MAC recommendations would be. There were confusions on what we were and weren't allowed to discuss.

Limitations everywhere, for example "you can't ask teachers who have taught Envision and MiF in this district to come and share experiences with the MAC, because that's unfair to Go Math (which is new so there's no teacher to speak for it)".

Whether these sorts of things were legally true... who knows? I think the #1, #2, and #3 priorities of the Dept was not to get sued for a bad process, anything else was secondary. And all in that atmosphere of rush, rush, rush.

In the end, what really mattered is that the Board members DID make an informed decision, clearly informed (with good reasoning on both sides of the debate).

But the method the Dept used sure left a bad taste - incompetence, scheming, or just par for the course? I'll leave the conspiracies to others :).

-stat MAC guy





















Charlie Mas said...

I think I will write to Mr. Wright and ask him about the funds appropriated for science and advanced learning. I would encourage others to write to him as well.

Anonymous said...

For Progress,

Please name the schools that in your opinion are successfully using constructivist curriculum. Seriously, please share. If you know the curriculum they are using (whether EDM or something else) please share that also.

JS

Anonymous said...

Stat Math Guy,

the MIF sales rep last night after the vote told me that SPS RFP rules, in which vendors are prohibited from any communication except with a couple named staff people, is unusual. I am going to follow up and find out what the norm is.

JS

Anonymous said...

JS,

Well, at least it worked in everyone's favor (IMO) with the whole MyMath disqualification...

-stat MAC guy

Disgusted said...

Envision was a Pearson product. Do we know: How many databases would test results would have linked?

My guess: Plenty.

This may be a win for student privacy.

Mary Griffin said...

Re the Times,
I don't know why the Times didn't cover this, but I am guessing that there may be a perception that it is a tempest in a teapot.

While math curriculum is very, very important to some people, it isn't always something that most people have passion for, except for maybe late at night when their third grader with OCD insists on using the lattice method to do long division. (Cough, cough.) In other words, for someone like myself, we only know what we don't like or is unfamiliar, not what would be best.

My passion tends to be around rights for students with disabilities as well as other populations which I perceive get the short of the end of the stick. For the reason that I am well aware that some groups of short-end-of-the-stick students, one math curriculum probably was better than the other, I did develop an opinion on this matter, and I'm not the first to do so. Robert Moses, founder of the Algebra Project, also successfully argues that Math is a Civil Rights issue.

But, as I remarked to someone else yesterday, I really wish that the biggest thing that bothered me was the math curriculum. There's just so many issues going on in special education, it's like a giant whack-a-mole game where you can never tell if you are making any progress.

Eric B said...

@For progress, Does the political system in Singapore mean that they don't teach math well?

More specifically to your point, the question of whether to adopt MIF or Envision was thoroughly discussed by as many people as wanted to be involved. Information was sent by the district, by the SCPTSA, by local PTA emails, by traditional news media, by blogs such as this one, etc. etc. There was no lack of discussion of the merits of either or both curricula. The only question that was brought up at the last minute was whether to adopt Envision, MIF, or both. Your complaint about last-minute adoption would only make sense if it selected a fourth curriculum that had not had the same public review.

Like many people have said, this was a political decision. Does that make whoever proposed and voted for Amendment 2 ill-informed? Not necessarily, it means they made a political decision. In some cases, the directors explicitly ran on that political philosophy and won election. That seems like representative democracy in action.

Representatives can make political decisions for uninformed reasons, but that doesn't mean every political decision is uninformed.

I don't really care about whether a math curriculum is unsophisticated. I care about whether it teaches math well. If you think another curriculum is better, please let us know which it is and where it is used.

Anonymous said...
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mirmac1 said...

JS, that is de rigueur for an RFP process. That is to provide a level playing field for all proposers and bidders.

I found Westgard's remarks nonsensical. OF COURSE nothing was set in stone. Once the board actually votes on the contract - THAT's the final number.

I thought it was poor form that the 3 board members voted no on the motion to adopt as amended. What? They want to stay with EDM?

Anonymous said...

Reposting unsigned comment:

All the schools who have shortened the math achievement gap between white, (non-free, reduced lunch) students and non-majority students are using constructivist methodologies. In addition the embedded language component of Everyday Math, and similar is having a booster effect on overall achievement as it is developing enhanced linguistic and conceptualisation skills.

Seattle's test scores have gone up since the adoption of EDM and other progressive math materials. But they would be higher if we stopped tracking at middle school and had heterogeneous settings instead. When McClure tried this for one year a few years back, overall achievement increased, but significantly for the most vulnerable students. However the successful McClure experience was discontinued inexplicably after one year, possibly due to the influence of the same regressive forces who have foisted the banal and unsophisticated MIF on our creative chldren.

6/5/14, 12:51 PM


unsigned

Anonymous said...
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ScrawnyKayaker said...

Um, apparently I think half a day is 15 hours, so MY math skillz ain't lookin' too hot today (my comment above).

But now, (double-checking my calculations) almost 17 hours after the vote on the biggest school board issue since the Sup. selection, the ST has finally reported it...in a tiny blurbicle buried in the Education Lab Blog, which is only visible at the bottom of a long pull-down menu under the News tab.

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/06/05/round-up-school-board-selects-new-math-textbook-murray-speaks-out-about-college-costs/

Ya'all should fly your monkeys over there and congratulate them on their excellent journalism.

Anonymous said...

Yup, but I could have lived with Envision.

For Progress

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled Math in Focus was picked. Over the past decade I have spoken several times with Dan Dempsey on math at Seattle school board meetings. I also went to a meeting in Olympia to challenge Terry Bergeson, former state superintendent and influential cheerleader of Everyday Math. All the research I read supported a clear, strong foundation in math instead of word problems pretending to be math.

There will be people, like For Progress, who defend the inquiry-based, constructivist math approach. They will argue it teaches students how to solve real world problems in math. Unfortunately, this approach confuses too many students and they never gain the skills they need to progress to higher levels in math.

Bravo to the new directors who prevailed over the staff and brought a bold new direction in math to SPS. Better late than never.

S parent

Anonymous said...

EDM boosts overall achievement? Do you have a cite for that, unsigned?

I find it hard to believe the embedded language component is helpful, given that I often struggled to figure out what the problems were even asking when trying to help my kid with homework.

I wonder if some people who are upset about the MIF choice even looked at the books?

Parent

Anonymous said...

@Parent,

If nothing else, the MAC public feedback process confirmed that there's plenty of people who would have been upset if MiF hadn't been chosen, but who haven't even looked at the books.

-stat MAC guy

Melissa Westbrook said...

For progress, I am going to let the "lackeys" comment pass but I remind readers, no name-calling. You can certain criticize job performance but no name-calling.

HIMS, Mr. Wright gave no specifics on numbers for either program.

"But they would be higher if we stopped tracking at middle school and had heterogeneous settings instead."

And zing! right at APP and Spectrum. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Please don’t refer to EDM as constructivist. EDM is crap and there was nothing constructivist about it!!

-Teacher

HappyMom said...

I have to add one more tidbit about costs, to put things into perspective and cause me to groan: at Bryant Elementary our PTSA spends somewhere in the neighborhood of $17K per year for playground monitoring (and yes it's OUTRAGEOUS that we are paying anything for what should be budget item for SPS), and that Math in Focus is estimated (even on the high end based on the presentation at the board meeting last night) at an "outrageously" high sum of $16K per school per year. If the three "dissenting" board members want to call MIF "expensive", then they need to do a bit of benchmarking first. MIF is a great deal even at $16K per school per year. And as for the professional development fees that are being floated around: I think there are many teachers who need to be brought up to level and it's indicative of their skills and how we need to shore those up, not how expensive MIF is.

Listening said...

@happy parent can you post the links to the KUOW and KPLU coverage? I can't find them!

@For progress, i'd really like to have a meaningful conversation with you about the merits of your assertions, but I can't even begin to respond to a series of accusations where you present nothing more than your opinion and no evidence. How do you measure success for math? What sources of data do you use to measure that success? Are they peer reviewed, not done by the publisher themselves? Not done by an organization getting funding from the publisher and who has no conflict of interest? What do you mean by "regressive"? IN what specific ways will MIF be a disaster? Where have other districts who have adopted MIF experienced a disaster? This is strong emotional language and I honestly want to hear your evidence, but not your screed. Engage deeply in a constructive way as I am listening.

Anonymous said...

For Progress: HIMSmom, myself, and perhaps Listening are looking forward to getting your list of successful constructivist schools. Please share the list.

HappyMom: Do you have idea of how commonly are parents providing extracurricular tutoring for their kids?

Thank you,
JS

Anonymous said...

HappyMom: I forgot to specify that I asking about Bryant school: Do you have idea of how commonly are parents providing extracurricular tutoring for their kids?

Thank you,
JS

Anonymous said...

In 2011 math teacher Dan Dempsey did numerous studies showing poor achievement levels in math at SPS, comparing elementary school results with other scores in the state. He blamed Everyday Math and said after four years it was a disaster and getting worse for educationally disadvantaged minority students in particular.

The board directors at the time yawned over these studies, saying that good teachers can overcome anything. Director Michael deBell finally tried to get a better curriculum in high schools, but the other board members ignored him and we got Discovering math instead of Holt.

Mercer middle school on Beacon Hill saw improvement after switching to Saxon math.

Curriculum matters and we finally got a good one. Great news for Seattle kids — not so good for outside math tutors.

S parent

Anonymous said...

BUT wait, the district is “offering” schools wavers for envision. There is strife amongst teachers within buildings and many schools are going to adopt envision any way. What a total mess!!!!

=-Teacher

Anonymous said...

Here's the KPLU story: http://www.kplu.org/post/seattle-school-board-rejects-districts-choice-new-math-textbooks-makes-its-own-pick

-Happy parent

Charlie Mas said...

Any claims about the effectiveness of one set of instructional materials over another are specious unless they come with some kind of attribution analysis.

There are a universe of factors that contribute to student academic achievement. The bulk of them and the bulk of the determination are from home-based factors. Any claim that the outcomes are attributable to instructional materials is going to require a pretty heavy set of control populations.

Was the improvement due to a change in the student demographic, changes in family engagement, changes in instructional practice, changes in school or district leadership, outside tutoring, or something else.

We can't say if the gaps closed due to EDM or despite EDM without this sort of attribution analysis and, to the best of my knowledge, no such analysis exists.

Possibly the best examples of this are Schmitz Park and Dearborn Park.

Both schools showed some success and were then swamped with new enrollment. It took time for the schools to assimilate the new population into the school culture. It took time for the new teachers and students to learn the ways of their new school, and the culture was not just diluted by the influx, but changed by it as well.

There are myriad influences; it is classic confirmation bias to attribute outcomes to one of them because it appeals to you.

Charlie Mas said...

I heard a story about a school where the math instruction was so bad, that a majority of the students attended an after-school math club and got the bulk of their instruction there. The math club was very good and, as a result, the school's test scores rose dramatically. It made the school look good when, in fact, the school's instruction was very bad.

HappyMom said...

@JS I have no idea of the # of parents doing formal tutoring or in home tutoring. Sorry! I would be curious to know. Parents tend to be pretty proactive at Bryant so I wouldn't be surprised if there are lots of extracurricular math activities happening.

Anonymous said...

Well, Bryant, if the shoe fits.

UnhappyDad

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

My daughter attended Roosevelt hs and the math instruction was so bad the teachers were recommending tutoring. Furthermore, they teach the way Cliff Mas wants, lame. I am glad the principals are rallying to counter the boards meddling ways. This is a board made disaster.

Sps parent

Anonymous said...

@ =-Teacher:

This could be, I think, a really intriguing wrinkle, depending on how it plays out. Several of the staff (or a few of them several times) last night indicated that the waiver policy would remain in effect -- and that schools could continue to request waivers. At the time, my sense was that they were assuming enVision would be selected, and that the waivers would be for MiF (and lots of folks were worried about how that might work, given staff antipathy towards MIF (either substantively, or because it represented a challenge to their choice, and thus maybe a challenge to their authority). But -- now the waivers will be for a curriculum that they (or at least Ms. Heath) preferred in the first place --- AND one that is cheaper. It seems to me that the outcome of all this may be that we end up with a de facto dual-adoption process, whether that is a good thing or not. Leaving aside the "kids as guinea pigs" factor, which is not good, we may end up being a sort of laboratory for the two (depending on how many schools request waivers to use EnVision. Given parental pressure for MiF, it will also put principals/teachers who boot MiF in favor of Envision in an interesting position -- because if you are going with a more text-heavy, less intuitive, approach -- you had darn well be ending up with superior results, or families will be furious!

I don't see this as "a mess." (Although I guess if staff wants to create a mess from it, out of spite, it would be an easy thing to do). I see it as a huge opportunity. Schools with high ELL or other populations that will clearly benefit from an MIF approach will get it without needing a rich PTA and/or the ability to jump through waiver hoops. Schools who think their kids will actually do better under enVision will, I suspect, have no difficulty getting a waiver to use it. Then, they just have to be sure their families like it, and their kids are learning well with it. I am having a hard time finding a down side to this. What do you think?

Jan

Anonymous said...

A call of alarm on math came in 2008, when sixty University of Washington math and science faculty members issued a statement expressing concern about the declining level of math competency. They stated that students arrive with poor mastery of essential mathematical skills such as algebra, manipulation of fractions, trigonometry and basic mathematical operations.

These are many top students from our area and they are having trouble in math at the university level.

On your website on August 30, 2011 there were statistics saying 40 percent of high school students were not passing algebra and the pass rate for low income students was abysmal at 36%.

Poverty is a factor for many students but they deserve the best chance possible for success. Best practices in curriculum have not been studied at SPS.

It appears to me that curriculum has been a problem for students of all levels at SPS. Math in Focus will be a step in a new direction and I believe it will help since it does not rely on story problems and language to teach math.

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"BUT wait, the district is “offering” schools wavers for envision."

Are you talking about new waivers? Because honestly, I don't think that is going to happen for two reasons. One, cost. The district is not buying MIF and paying for extra materials for enVision. (That said, I suppose a school already using enVision could probably continue.)

Two, two words - Common Core. While enVision was found to "align," the district will likely want as many schools on the same page as possible.

That's my take.

As for principals, only the PASS Board voted for the MAC selection (and even then, I'm not sure everyone was for it). Also, I"m doing some checking into a claim made last night about principals; I'll let you know what I find out.

Anonymous said...

There are some teachers where it doesn't matter what math curriculum you give them to use they are going to fail. They use the chicken feed delivery approach to education and simply are not math fluent. I'm still looking for the "best guess" operation used at SBS!

My experience with SPS shows it's mostly a game of chance if your child will land in a class with a good math teacher. Once word gets around on who the best math teacher is the politics starts and it seems certain parents are better than others in insuring their child gets preferential class assignments. Perhaps it's based on PTSA donations?

Worst of all is the practice of having the same teacher for two years in a row!Looping as it's called multiplies the damage of having a math illiterate teacher ,but is very profitable for Kumon.

--Michael

Anonymous said...

By the way, teacher, I don't mean to imply that ONLY ELL types might do best with MIF over a more text based approach. I have an APP child who also thrived on math curricula that presented things visually, with examples, and that moved quickly through material, as he intuitively grasped the concepts behind many of the math principles and algorhythms. Frankly, ALL my kids did better with an MIF approach (though when I used it with them, it was still called Singapore math, and actually came from Singapore). I concede however, that there may be others who do best with other materials. Long live the waiver policy!!!

Anonymous said...

Oops -- sorry Melissa, the above post was mine.

Jan

Anonymous said...

My 3rd grader entered K5STEM at grade level and has recently tested at 6th grade in math (97th percentile) on the latest MAP test -- and my son now LOVES MATH (priceless!). Almost the entire class -- general ed students -- test above grade level in math. The 5th grade class at STEM mean MAP score for math is at the high 11th grade level. This is after using MIF (American "Singapore math", published in California). K5STEM has truly only used the MIF curriculum for one year. MIF works. It is the best curriculum out there. If you don't believe me, peruse the web and you will see similar results in MIF districts around the country. I was definitely for the single adoption of MIF because ALL kids deserve good solid math.

Happy K5STEM Mom

Haven't Been Around Long Enough said...

@teacher: "This is the second time the board has gone against the MAC and chosen a different curriculum. The last time was to give us EDM and we all know how that turned out."

As someone who was not involved at all in the public school system seven years ago, I searched the web for info on this. What I found was actually from this very blog (May 8. 2007):

"At the prompting of a blog reader, I contacted Carla Santorno and asked her a few questions about the elementary math curriculum decision. Here's her response:

""I will be recommending Everyday Mathematics along with Singapore as a supplement to the Student Learning Committee this afternoon. It will be introduced on May 16th with a final vote scheduled for a special Board meeting on May 30...""

This led me to more research. Carla Santorno was the Chief Academic Officer at the time. This says to me that it was district staffers, not the School Board, that "chose" EDM. I couldn't find many more details but I think maybe there were two options from the MAC? EDM or TERC?

Melissa, can you or one of the many very knowledgable people at the time tell me what happened? I believe that the Where's the Math contingency was urging a 'no' vote on both EDM and TERC on the basis of being fuzzy/reform math.

I'd love to know more. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any more posts about the 2007 adoption or even coverage of the Board meeting where EDM was adopted.

As someone who did spend hours poring over the materials, I can proudly say the district got it right this time! A big thank you to McLaren, Peters, Patu, and Peaslee!

Kathleen V. said...

Excellent analysis, Melissa. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

For the record, I am not the author of the unsigned comment at 12:51, but simply reposted it as it was unsigned.

unsigned

Anonymous said...

My principal was told that a waiver for envision would be paid for...including professional development.
Teacher too

Anonymous said...

How do schools find out if they will indeed be using MIF, or whether the principal will go with enVision? Will there be a concerted effort to subvert the MIF adoption?

-wondering

Anonymous said...

I think this is an appropriate time to review DeBell's 2009 comments during the Discovery math adoption 5 years ago.

DDeBell's Comments, April 2009 re: Discovery Algebra, etc.

What was true then is even more true today.

What I recall most vividly from that time period was Carla Santorno's comment to DeBell a week earlier during a presentation, explaining why the Singapore supplemental materials had never been offered in support of the EDM, as promised in 2007: "It's not that we aren't doing it. We just haven't gotten to it yet."

Change has finally come. Wherever Michael is today, he should be smiling.

WSDWG

Brava! said...

Our PTA spent $30K to supplement Every Day Math.

Bravo to the Seattle School Board; this is indeed an issue about equity!

Anonymous said...

The Board Curriculum and Instruction Committee of the Board will meet next Monday. It is inconceivable to me that waivers will not get considerable attention at this meeting.

If your school is non-EDM and might want a continuation waiver, than you should probably be contacting the Board to suggest ideas for near term policy so that your school's situation is appropriately addressed.

Last night staff said they need to know by June 10 (next tuesday) how many schools will need MIF.

The Board will probably have to come up with draft answers to the following questions on Monday.

1. Schools slotted to have a new principal next year, and which have an established use of non-EDM materials (e.g., North Beach): Does the outgoing/incoming principal decide if the school will seek a short-term or longer term continuation waiver? Should staff/parents decide?

2. Will HMH (the vendor) allow negotiated price to hold through next year for non-EDM schools that might want to delay a decision on whether to seek a continuation waiver or switch to MIF?

3. What will be required in the waiver application packet for a continuation waiver at non-EDM schools?

4. Will any schools be allowed to seek a waiver for Envision? Wouldn't this be same as dual adoption, which was rejected?

1. Is it actually imperative to require a decision from each school by June 10 at latest? It seems to me that answer to this ought to depend mainly on what's the latest date HMH needs the purchase order, and how much time -within reason - does staff need to prep the order?

I know for certain from the public disclosure docs that the vendor does not need the P.O. before end of June. We still need to get answer from Vendor whether the order can come in any later than late June. Hopefully we will know actual factual latest P.O. submission date by Monday's C&I meeting.

JS

Haven't Been Around Long Enough said...

@WSDWG, so was the EDM adoption a staff recommendation (from Santorno) or a rogue School Board decision as alleged by @teacher?

Anonymous said...

wondering: I cannot imagine that there is enough time, at this point, to get a waiver for next year, unless maybe the district makes waivers available for those schools that already have them in place (i.e., are already using envision) and want to continue with that curriculum. I assume the District will order books for all other schools for next year, and the question would become -- do schools want a waiver for future years, and if so, why? It will be interesting. If you are in an EDM or envision school and are worried, I would ask your principal what they have heard, and what they intend to do. (And, if you don't like it, you might find out how much teacher and parent support for one or the other exists, and go from there.

Jan

Anonymous said...

Haven't Been Around: I'm not Melissa (or Charlie) and they will both have better recall, as would many other commenters, but my recollection (I haven't gone back through the posts to confirm) is that a VERY VERY flawed committee process produced a recommendation for TERC, and that Santorno sailed in at the last minute saying she hated it, and basically had the MAC redo the decision, in favor of EDM, which was her preference. The Board then "adopted" the committee's recommendation, but the entire process, from committee selection, to committee proceedings (was this the adoption where any committee member could "blackball" any curriculum they didn't like -- and take it off the list? -- or was that middle school?), to Santorno's late interference, to the rubber stamping by the board, was badly done.

One thing that went MUCH better this time was the committee selection and process. It still was flawed (in terms of weight given to CCS, conflicting use of price as a consideration, etc.), but it was much better than when EDM was adopted, or so it seems to me.

Part of the problem last time around was that some of us disliked BOTH EDM and TERC -- I don't know how many of us that included, but I thought they were both bad choices.

Jan

Anonymous said...

Eric B,


The math content and sequesningthey teach in Singapore is reflective of the social- political situation. Linear, orderly, uncritical and hierarchical. Perhaps suited to a Confucian based society, with an emphasis on tradition and compliance. There is no right to freedom of expression in Singapore and there is the highest per capita death penalty rate in the world. Small offenses are harshly punished. Having a curriculum that emphasizes simplistic conformist skills are more of a priority is such a society than in the less tradition bound US. Remember Singapore Math made its way to the US via the conservative home-school based movement. Traditionally schooled parents were able to master its unchallenging premisses. Now Seattle has a chance to rise to such heights.

For progress

Haven't Been Around Long Enough said...

Jan, thank you so much for the clarification. I knew there would be someone on here with the info stored away in their brain! I hope that @teacher realizes that they are incorrect on that front. I've seen the same assertion made on other blogs (by the same person?) and I think that it is important to note that the Board going against a staff recommendation is unusual. This, in my opinion, validates the Board's decision here. Extraordinary circumstances (staff's refusal to compromise and a flawed process sent to the MAC) called for extraordinary measures.

Anonymous said...

@For progress

Are you for real, or are you just trolling us?
Its the math, stupid! (paraphrasing Clinton -not a personal insult)
MATH... you know... addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, calculus, algebra, geometry etc etc….. What the f*** does it have to do with 'freedom of expression, political oppression, conformity, capital punishment, conservative homeschooling, authoritarianism'. Its simply math, it's a numbers game, and your trying to insert a political or ideological agenda that isn't even there. So you don't like the Singaporean regimen? Thats fine, we're adopting a version of their math (adapted for the US market I might add) - not their system of government. Our students will be competing with these 'compliant' 'simplistic conformist' curriculum-educated students in the international jobs/skills market and right now they are lagging way behind - not just behind these societies but many many others. Your 'constructivist methodologies' are trying to turn math into something it just is not, and it is not working out for the majority of students in the US. The reason we now have MIF in Seattle is precisely because we are not all those things you rail against - 'traditional ', 'compliant' and 'conforming to those in authority ' and we do have a (somewhat) healthy democracy- and that was in action last night.

Geez, what are you smokin' dude

Anonymous said...

@HBALE:

I think Jan has it about right. I recall '09 better than '07, but in '09 they doubled-down on Discovery/Inquiry Math for MS.

I know Santorno promised in '07 to supplement EDM with Singapore, but "hadn't done it yet" by 2009.

WSDWG





Anonymous said...

So, math teachers can cane kids now?
Wow.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Geez, what are you smoking has it exactly right. Well said!

S parent

Anonymous said...

What even are constructivist methodologies anyway?
Sounds like edu-speak to me.
I guess I'm old fashioned but kids shouldn't have to find the math - it's not a voyage of self-discovery, it's about hard, tangible skills. So I'm glad to sing "ding dong EDM is dead".

no new-age math

Anonymous said...

I taught Math in Focus in another district. It is a wonderful curriculum. The district will really need to invest in PD as without it bar modeling is tough, and many teachers will struggle-- because teaching MIF requires deep conceptual understanding. My former district had a huge PD commitment and I feel that it really opened my eyes to math in a new way, and gave excitement to my teaching. I am deeply hopeful that naysayers at my building do not push us into a wIver request. Math in Focus is amazing-- but it's not traditional. Teachers have to really invest time up front to understand the curriculum and progression. It is extremely oriented to place value, a weakness IMO of US traditional approach to elementary math. Parents, keep up the pressure for MIF and make sure to press the district to offer adequate, continuous, cohort-based professional development for teachers!

Primary teacher

n said...

My memory of the EDM adoption: I was taking a leadership course (DMI) and our math trainer guaranteed me that TERC which was a program that supported DMI methodology would be adopted for sure. I questioned because the District has so often promised one thing and produced another. DMI which is totally inquiry-based demanded an appropriate curriculum and Investigations (TERC) was it. He promised several times that TERC would be adopted.

Lo and behold, EDM was the adoption. When I confronted him - and yes, it was a confrontation, - he blamed the Baord. He said the Board was responding to parental pressure much like you're seeing with the MIF-enVisions debate. I have always believed that.

However, Santorno's influence may be absolutely correct. Perhaps he did not want to actually tell me that it was a District director that made the call.

Finally, we did get our supplemental Singapore math books. Each grade level was given a classroom set of books covering remedial, workbooks, practice, etc., and teachers guide, and we were told that they were NOT consumables because we could not reorder them.

Many schools probably still have them unused. You couldn't copy them legally and if you used them (consumed them), you wouldn't get any more.

I've used mine over the years as alternative teaching opportunities and a way to teacher a grade level higher without actually teaching the regular program leaving that for the next teacher. I hope that doesn't sound like a ceiling as I'm totally against ceilings so I taught much higher by using the supplements.

Interesting that it all began with Santorno. Isn't she in Tacoma?

I was totally into inquiry at the time and really appreciated the depth of knowledge the DMI classes gave me. I say that even though today I am a MIF advocate. Perhaps as some have said both programs are good programs.

I really like Teacher's comment that waiting a year for a fully-vetted common core edition might have been a better idea.

mirmac1 said...

Geez..., Amen to that!

"For Progress" says: There is no right to freedom of expression in Singapore and there is the highest per capita death penalty rate in the world. Small offenses are harshly punished. Having a curriculum that emphasizes simplistic conformist skills are more of a priority is such a society than in the less tradition bound US.

Seriously, I thought I was on the Fox News website for a moment. Yeah, Seattle - the new Silicon Valley - is math dumb and authoritarian. DOH!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note about Ted Nutting, as Melissa called him out in the original post.

I did pretty well in math through the 8th grade. That year, the district adopted their first "discovery math" textbook (Integrated Math for the Algebra/Geometry series). In retrospect, those texts were pretty tame, though still impossible to use.

My math grades suffered in 9th and 10th grade. By the time I got to honors PreCalc at Ballard High, I was way behind. Somehow, we were using college textbook for this course. I finally started to catch up, but at the end of the year my teacher would not advance me to Calculus (Nutting was not yet teaching Calc).

I went into Nutting's regular Precalc class to try and catch up. He was such a great, methodical teacher. I only took the first semester of the series, electing to hang out with friends in photography rather than finish the second semester. While I did take Calculus in college, I regret not finishing the series with Nutting. I think he would have really filled in some gaps for me with his logical, methodical style.

The one thing I'll always remember was being in his class (2nd period) on 9/11/01. The TV was on, we'd gone to school just as the first tower fell. By the time 2nd period rolled around the second tower had fallen. We started class and Nutting told us that he just didn't think he could teach today and told us to watch the coverage. I don't think he said another word the whole period. As a 30-year veteran of the Coast Guard and a man of great integrity, he was in total shock. I don't really think any of the students said anything else, either. All these years later, his reaction to the towers falling is the one I remember the most.

I wish him the best in his retirement. He's been a fighter for real math for so many years, and finally got to see it happen.

northwesterner

Anonymous said...

I should correct the Santorno quote at 6:09. She actually said: "Our intent regarding Singapore as a supplement has been delayed, not eliminated." That happened at a Board Meeting on 6/3/09.

The exchange occurs 27:28 to 33:45, and to her credit, Carla was giving and honest explanation. It just demonstrates perfectly how things went in SPS back then. I so hope we've progressed since then. We'll see.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Point of the above, was that it had already been two years since the earlier adoption in '07, and no Singapore supplemental materials had yet been used. 2 YEARS ON.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Scarsdale Schools, one of the top public school districts in the country (families move there for the schools) use Singapore Math. Evidently the curriculum can actually help teachers weak in math instruction to gain skills. Read this:

http://www.thedailyriff.com/2010/06/singapore-math-demystified-part-4-how-to-make-it-happen-in-your-school.php

Ann D

Norton said...

Hard to believe Blanford's comments were related to a DUAL adoption.

Kathleen V. said...

You know, what I really wanted someone to say following Blanford's ridiculous insistence on reading his objections to a dual adoption that was no longer being debated was that he should no longer have any objections! Indeed, it seemed from his comments that it was the necessity of a single adoption that was driving his dissent. What was being presented was a single adoption, fully in line with the majority of the rest of his comments. Well, Stephan, problem solved!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teacher Too, any chance you might tell us your school? Because I cannot believe the district has the money for that after last night's statements about money from Mr. Wright.

There are a couple of you who have extra-long names - please read our comments policy. It makes it hard for others so please two-word monikers only.

Thank you Northwesterner for that memory of Ted Nutting's class. Very classy guy.

The previous math adoption? Honestly, I think Charlie covered that so my recollections are very fuzzy. I do remember the push from Carla Santorno and the question of how we got to that pick.

Listening said...

@ Ann D nice article on the Singapore math teacher. It reminds me of a wonderful book I read with many of the same themes: the fact that teachers must have deep conceptual knowledge of elementary math to be able to teach it. Liping Ma compared Chinese and American teachers approaches and discovered astonishing differences. PD will be essential. Her book drives home the importance of procedural and conceptual understanding and how they are impossible to disentangle. http://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Teaching-Elementary-Mathematics-Understanding/dp/0415873843/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402034978&sr=8-1&keywords=liping+ma

Linh-Co said...

@Haven't been around long enough

The Board did not go against the recommendation of the MAC in the Everyday Math adoption. That committee never finished the process and did not make a final recommendation. They were down to 2 finalists - TERC and Everyday Math. Carla Santorno pushed Everyday Math through.

That Board just rubber stamped staff's wish.

,

RickB said...

Regarding the last adoption cycle, that's a sordid tale. Think back to the days of Rosalind Wise as head of the math department.

It was a K-12 adoption effort, started in 2006, I believe. The adoption committee was divided into K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 bands to evaluate and recommend materials. The 6-8 band quickly converged on CMP2 since most 6-8 teachers were already using the prior edition of the same drivel, CMP.

Elementary and high school were highly polarized. The high school committee split among two programs, with many teachers/staff favoring IMP (Interactive Mathematics Program), which read like a novel. You could go for pages without seeing any numbers. A few strong high school teachers (thank you Ted Nutting!) made a legitimate case that the schools using IMP were underperforming, and the high school adoption was suspended awaiting updated materials from publishers.

The K-5 group which I was part of was where I first experienced belittling for being a math-focused parent. It was outright dysfunctional. I heard comments like, "Why are we even meeting, when everybody knows we are just adopting TERC Investigations?" That process was shrouded in mystery, with the goal being a consensus recommendation. No numerical scoring, no transparency. The committee was divided into smaller working groups, each tasked with bringing forward finalist programs. Any group could kill a program by not bringing it forward. Somebody at my table claimed about Saxon Math, "This program isn't leaving this table."

The K-5 group deadlocked with two finalists (TERC and EDM), only because the TERC edition we were reviewing was pre-publication, so it consisted of stabled together loose-leaf pages for many books. The decision was made to await final versions of TERC and reconvene then.

Enter Carla Santorno, who had used EDM in Denver, and had a friend who worked for the publisher (really, I heard it from her own mouth). She railroaded EDM through, and at the last minute, community motivation got her to agree to include Singapore Math as a supplement. The board motion passed (Staff support for EDM, community support for Singapore), and the Singapore supplement was promptly defunded. A few books were delivered to some schools, but most students never saw the materials.

So, all blame for EDM can go to Santorno (or the credit for saving us from TERC).

Charlie Mas said...

I am always amused by the "guilt by association" argument like we see here: Singapore is a repressive regime therefore Singapore math is an expression of repression.

I like to remind people that the leaders of the repressive Singapore regime also breathe and eat. Will you stop doing those things?

If Hitler was a vegetarian, would that make vegetarianism evil?

If there is a subliminal political message buried in the Singapore math materials, or, more to the point, the Math in Focus materials, then tell us about that, but guilt by association is an empty bag.

Anonymous said...

I credit my kid's excellent performance in Algebra this year as a 6th grader to EDM, and to the aversion of our Elementary School Principal to meeting the needs of mathy kids.

Those two things caused me to homeschool math with Singapore (negotiated said kid out of math homework to make room for it). We had fun together. I re-learned a ton of math. (Very user-friendly textbook..I didn't even bother to buy the teacher's guide). Kid's love of math revived after being nearly tamped out due to 4 years of EDM.

Thank goodness for that Principal! Teachers wanted to challenge kid but he was dead-set against any way to do that. But for his intransigence, kid would be at a lower math level with less understanding and less love.

And, kid is a very critical and creative thinker, and has not been turned into a automaton by using an organized, linear process to learn math.

SPS mom

Listening said...

@ For Progress

I'm sort of questioning my sanity for trying to engage you as I don't think we play by the same rules. But let me try. You assert that Singapore math "Linear, orderly, uncritical and hierarchical...." and results in "simplistic conformist skills". Pretty provocative language. These statements do not amount to a testable hypothesis that could be supported/refuted by evidence and data. If you are honest about really wanting to improve math (unclear what your vision is and what the right path is), and you believe that MIF is the wrong way to achieve your vision, then prove it. This community I suspect is inherently evidence-based and we could have a constructive conversation about the merits of evidence for/against a testable hypothesis. However, if your real goal is to inflame passions or simply vent, I would suggest that that is not how problems get solved in our community and society. Your reckless assertions are not productive.

Linh-Co said...

Here's a thread from our friend, Meg of Highline SD:

At Highline District board meeting Wednesday night a PPT was presented about our changing assessments. A review of this year's growth was part of the presentation. Because Highline piloted the SBAC we will not see any data in August. So, the MAP scores is all we will see to indicate how are students are doing.


I took notes, then had my notes verified by the presenter, Dr Alan Spicciati. The irony of the whole evening was I was reading the blog about the SPS math adoption at the same time. This information would have only enforced the decision to go with MIF.

I have no other data to compare these numbers. So really, it is just as said. A couple of notes to remember when you look at the results : HSD moving to a dual language model. Only some of our schools are dual language and teach Math in Spanish. These classes are not as strong as the English only. Also, this is the first year HSD is using Course 1, the MIF replacement to CMP. Course 2 and 3 is being piloted is select classes this year.

http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/hpsdwa/Board.nsf/files/9KSS8B52E8A2/$file/Student%20Growth%20Board%20Presentation%20June%204%202014.pdf

And here is my conversation with Alan.


Meg,

Yes, that's what I said. You were paying attention! :-)

We were seeing growth on MAP in math exceeding national norms a few years ago and people thought "hmm", since our state test scores were low. And when the state test scores came back, we saw it on the tests. I recall Paul doing a presentation in public comment to the board showing Highline's progress on the MSP. I have had similar findings. In 2011 and 2012, we made huge gains on the math MSP.

Angus let a study that came up with six factors of building an excellent math system. I can't remember them all, but curriculum, PD, assessments, and interventions were all big ones. Math in Focus was our curriculum move. We've done a lot of PD. We put in place math benchmark assessments aligned to standards that gave teachers important feedback on what students didn't understand (distractor analysis). And we added adaptive software programs that helped with practice and interventions.

The convergence of our math strategies has been most successful in the late elementary grades. We made up a 17 point deficit from the state average in 6th grade and actually have beaten the state two years in a row. That is pretty significant considering the poverty and number of English language learners in Highline.

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/waslTrend.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=104&reportLevel=District&orgLinkId=104&yrs=&year=2012-13&gradeLevelId=6&waslCategory=1&chartType=1

I would love to say we have seen the same in reading, but we have not. I would characterize our results in reading over the same period as flat. It is difficult to know how much of that to attribute to language acquisition, as 22% of our students are in the ELL program, but at least as many have a language other than English spoken in the home. At any rate, these are deserving kids and we have to figure out how to do better. I was inspired by the young lady who received a STIA scholarship last night, who spoke 20 words of English four years ago. We can do better in literacy.

Alan

Linh-Co said...

Here's the summary from Highline's presentation:

- a 4 year run of solid student growth. This is attributed to PD, tech resources and new curriculum

- exceed national growth, especially in the elementary grades

- staying even nationwide with middle school

- closing ground and approaching state averages in student growth

Anonymous said...

@Linh-Co included that Highline uses adaptive math software.
Does anyone know which software they use?
-Wondering

Linh-Co said...

@Wondering,

They use ST math.

Anonymous said...

HappyMom: thanks for sharing impression of Bryant The fact that Bryant is a top performer suggests that the amount of tutoring and effective teaching is sufficient to make up for the deficiency of EDM.

A parent at Schmitz park tells me she doesn't know of any kids being tutored: Parents at the school trust the curriculum.

If Bryant switches to MIF, the Schmitz Park example suggests parents won't need to provide as much tutoring to get the same good results.

For Progress: Still hoping you will share your list of successful constructivist schools...I am especially interested whether any of these successful schools have a significant FRL population.

JS

HappyMom said...

@ JS I think your assessment is probably accurate. There is definitely a math culture at Bryant. I think the 4th grade math club did super well in a city competition this past year and I know that there is also a 5th grade math org too (I'm not involved in either with younger kids).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linh-Co said...

At Anonymous:

How do you account for the Highline scores exceeding the national growth with 70% free and reduced lunch?

Linh-Co said...

This is an excerpt from Mary Waight, Assistant Superintendent, North Middlesex Regional School District, MA - remarks to National Math Advisory Panel in September of 2006.

Implementation of Singapore Mathematics: In the fall of 2000, five of the institute
participants implemented the curriculum and textbooks from Singapore in six classrooms,
grades 5-8. The experience was successful: over the next six years the implementation
extended to all grades (1-8) and from 6 classrooms in 2000 to 130 in the 2005-2006
school year. Throughout the implementation phase, faculty involvement was voluntary,
the only requirement being the teacher’s enrollment in a district-sponsored mathematics
course. Appendix A depicts the expansion of Singapore Math in North Middlesex.

Outcomes: North Middlesex’s trial with Singapore Math was expanded because of the
many indicators of success. Appendices B and C present a longitudinal history of student
outcomes on the MCAS at grade 10 (1998-2005) and the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills at
grades 2, 5 and 6. As Appendix B indicates, North Middlesex grade 10 students
performing at the advanced level on the MCAS math exam increased from 9% in 1998 to
57% in 2005, while the failure rate over the same period declined from 39% to 2%. 3

There are other indicators of success:
1. all grade 8 students now enroll in Algebra I (in contrast with 25% of the
population in 1999)

2. there is a significant increase in the percentage of grade 9 students enrolled in
Algebra II (from less than 25% in 1999 to 45% this year); and

3. in the 2005-2006 school year (for the first time) there were students enrolled
in AP Calculus (BC);

This fall, 100% of students in grades 1-7 and 75% of students in grade 8 are in the
Singapore Math program. Singapore Mathematics is no longer an initiative, but the way
North Middlesex delivers mathematics instruction.

Anonymous said...

[scribd links to files responsive to following public disclosure request will provided as soon as Julian has time to put them in SPS Leaks. I am providing this because these documents would seem to be highly pertinent to the current discussion]

Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014
To: Barbello, Julie A
Subject: Re: ---

Hi Julie,

I hope that you are not seeing this email until Tuesday, and have had a wonderful holiday weekend.

I would like information about the "exception schools" referred to in Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath's testimony to school board on May 21, and which is quoted below.

Specifically

1.What are the names of all the "exception" schools from 2006 though today?

2. For each "exception" school, what curriculum did they obtain a waiver for, and what amount did the district provide to pay for their waiver materials

3. Date of waiver, period covered by waiver, and when were the materials purchased?

4. What criteria did district use to decide which waiver schools would get money to help pay for waiver materials, and did they apply the criteria uniformly and equitable to all schools seeking waivers?

5. Who decided on these criteria? Were the criteria approved by the superintendent or the school board?

Thank you so much,
Joan

These comments appear around minute 75 or 76 on Tape 2 of the May 21 School Board meeting. These are not exact quotes, but are near exact quotes:

Michael Tolley; Schools choosing waiver are required to provide the funding. That is not funded by district typically. But there are exceptions.

Shauna Heath: as far as we know the exception was that the waiver was supported at the same rate that we were providing for the other buidinggs around Everyday Math. So if it was the cost of the textual materials for EDM, that was the same rate we gave to the exception schools.

Hi ---,

We are in receipt of your request. Please find attached the records I was able to locate that may answer some of your questions. Please keep in mind that the public records office cannot answer requests for general information—I can only provide records. Questions regarding approval of waivers or the exception schools should be directed to Shauna Heath.

This confirms completion of your request. Thanks!

Julie

a.k.a. Public Disclosure Queen

Anonymous said...

[scribd links to files responsive to following public disclosure request will provided as soon as Julian has time to put them in SPS Leaks. I am providing this because these documents would seem to be highly pertinent to the current discussion]

Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014
To: Barbello, Julie A
Subject: Re: ---

Hi Julie,

I hope that you are not seeing this email until Tuesday, and have had a wonderful holiday weekend.

I would like information about the "exception schools" referred to in Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath's testimony to school board on May 21, and which is quoted below.

Specifically

1.What are the names of all the "exception" schools from 2006 though today?

2. For each "exception" school, what curriculum did they obtain a waiver for, and what amount did the district provide to pay for their waiver materials

3. Date of waiver, period covered by waiver, and when were the materials purchased?

4. What criteria did district use to decide which waiver schools would get money to help pay for waiver materials, and did they apply the criteria uniformly and equitable to all schools seeking waivers?

5. Who decided on these criteria? Were the criteria approved by the superintendent or the school board?

Thank you so much,
Joan

These comments appear around minute 75 or 76 on Tape 2 of the May 21 School Board meeting. These are not exact quotes, but are near exact quotes:

Michael Tolley; Schools choosing waiver are required to provide the funding. That is not funded by district typically. But there are exceptions.

Shauna Heath: as far as we know the exception was that the waiver was supported at the same rate that we were providing for the other buidinggs around Everyday Math. So if it was the cost of the textual materials for EDM, that was the same rate we gave to the exception schools.

Hi ---,

We are in receipt of your request. Please find attached the records I was able to locate that may answer some of your questions. Please keep in mind that the public records office cannot answer requests for general information—I can only provide records. Questions regarding approval of waivers or the exception schools should be directed to Shauna Heath.

This confirms completion of your request. Thanks!

Julie

a.k.a. Public Disclosure Queen