If You Care about K-5 Math in Seattle Public Schools...

...then get down to the John Stanford Center and review the proposed ideas for math.

From the district:

GIVE US YOUR INPUT! First Phase of Adoption Reviews:
Seven new Mathematics programs for Kindergarten through Grade 5 use are on display in the Professional Library on the second floor of the John Stanford Center. These are the textual materials that are being reviewed by our Adoption Committee for potential use by the district in the coming years.
You may visit the display of materials any time that the Stanford Center is open between now and January 8, 2014. There are Public Review Forms if you wish to add comments or suggestions for the committee’s consideration.

Please use your voice to help us choose new Math materials for our elementary students.


Thursday, December 19, 2013, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM in the Professional Library of the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence.

Two things to consider:

- one, at the webpage there is a link to Common Core math.  That is a huge consideration if you wonder how materials got picked for this list.  

- two, yes, not great timing to say to come down during the busiest holiday season of the year.


Po3 said…
Seriously, they can't upload links to materials and info about each text to the website and provide a means for feedback?

You would think it's 1960.
Catherine said…
Me thinks they want to say they asked for input, not actually get input....
Shannon said…
Can someone clarify. When they say "instructional materials" does this mean "curriculum?"

Is this a chance of getting away from Discovering methods or are all the options versions of discovering?

Anonymous said…
I looked at them all. They vast majority of all the student books are fill in the blank type question. Minimal if any questions that show deep understanding.

They should wait a year and see what changes all the publishers make as a result of feedback from the field. None of these have been field tested!!!

- Concerned Teacher
Anonymous said…
Why not Singapore Math? Schmitz Park showed that this is a worthwhile approach, it is used in Scarsdale Schools (one of the top public school districts in the country), and they have done the work to show where the standards are covered:


Ann D
Anonymous said…
I wish they would ask experienced math teachers, like Dan Dempsey, which math materials would work better. Why don’t they also go to UW professors like Cliff Mass, who see first hand which skills students are lacking?

Singapore and Saxon materials should be what they are looking at. It is disconcerting that they are still ignoring curricula that work.

S parent
word said…
Historically, UW professors in science and technology (such as Cliff Mass) HAVE weighed in extensively on the poor SPS math curriculum and have suggested alternatives.

The school district blatantly ignored them. How can this response be changed. The problem is not a lack of good, tested and available curriculum…the problem is the Seattle Public Schools' responsiveness on this issue.
Anonymous said…
I saw a list of the materials being considered in a comment on another post -- not sure which one now. Maybe someone can re-post it here?

For those asking about Singapore math, the first item on that list (Math in Focus) indeed appears to be Singapore math. I don't know if it's different from the Singapore math currently used at some schools.

Lincoln APP is using My Math, also on the list. Maybe someone can weigh on how it's working there?

--not sure
Lynn said…
This list of programs under review was posted on the Friday open thread:

Programs under review:
Math in Focus
My Math
Connecting Math Concepts
Ready Common Core
Origo Stepping Stones
Go Math
Anonymous said…
If we could eliminate programs on name alone, "Ready Common Core" would get the axe. Perhaps it's a fine program, but bleck, what an awful name - it sounds like more marketing than math. I can hear teachers saying, "Pull out your 'Ready Common Core' books now."

Po3 said…
Haven't several schools given up on the adopted text and replaced with Saxon and Singapore materials and have shown remarkable improvements?

And yet, neither makes the list?

Anonymous said…
I know Mercer Middle School on Beacon Hill adopted Saxon math and scores went up significantly.

William Hook at the University of Victoria did studies of school districts in Calif. in the last 10 years who switched to Saxon. Results improved and it worked as well for economically disadvantaged students as it did for high performing ones.

The slavish devotion to discovery math without any evidence that it works better is pretty disheartening. Laurie Rogers, an advocate for better math in Spokane, wrote that the school district there finally admitted the current curriculum wasn’t working — then turned around and adopted a new online math program that was completely untested.

S parent
Anonymous said…
Back in June Linh-Co shared this list of Seattle Schools using alternate match curricula:

North Beach - Saxon
Schmitz Park - Singapore Math
Boren STEM - Singapore Math
Alki - Singapore Math
LaFayette - Jump Math??
Montlake - Envision
Lincoln - My Math
Beacon Hill - some classrooms are using a translated Chinese math program
Thurgood Marshall- Envision??
Salmon Bay - some classrooms are using TERC Investigations
Thorton Creek - TERC Investigations

Anonymous said…
There is this article from an educator who was involved in helping bring Singapore Math to Scarsdale Schools and Patterson, NJ schools:

How To Make Singapore Math Happen In Your School

I've been using Singapore Math independently with my first grader for two years now. I think that the Common Core drafters were looking to it as a program that was teaching better skills and understanding but instead we get plastic math programs that say they are Common Core. :/

Ann D.
Linh-Co said…
Math In Focus is Singapore Math but not the original translation like the Primary Mathematics series which produce the #1 results for Singapore on the TIMSS for a decade.

It is far better than Everyday Math and TERC Investigations. I think there are some workable programs on the list. JUMP Math from Canada also looks decent. This looks better than the last round.

Linh-Co said…
Here's my updated version:

Alki - Singapore Math
Thurgood - Envision
Boren - Singapore Math
Schmitz Park - Singapore Math
Beacon Hill - Various teacher created materials
Thorton Creek - TERC
North Beach - Saxon
John Muir - ST Math
Montlake - Envision
Lincoln - My Math
Salmon Bay - TERC, JUMP Math
McGilvra - Envision
Jane Addams- Envision math for K-5
Coe - My Math
Lowell - My Math
South Shore - Envision
Lafayette - JUMP Math
Po3 said…
Would it be fair to say that Math in Focus and My Math could be good picks?

Any idea why Saxon did not make the cut?
Anonymous said…
What do you think will happen when the new curriculum is selected? Will individual schools be able to petition to continue to use alternate curriculum?

Ann D
Linh-Co said…
I've heard My Math is weak but I'll have a better idea at the end of the week when I review the materials.
Linh-Co said…
Here's a great article written by a textbook editor about how textbooks are written. Click on the link to read the entire article.


Some years ago, I signed on as an editor at a major publisher of elementary school and high school textbooks, filled with the idealistic belief that I'd be working with equally idealistic authors to create books that would excite teachers and fill young minds with Big Ideas.
Not so.
I got a hint of things to come when I overheard my boss lamenting, "The books are done and we still don't have an author! I must sign someone today!"
Every time a friend with kids in school tells me textbooks are too generic, I think back to that moment. "Who writes these things?" people ask me. I have to tell them, without a hint of irony, "No one." It's symptomatic of the whole muddled mess that is the $4.3 billion textbook business.
Textbooks are a core part of the curriculum, as crucial to the teacher as a blueprint is to a carpenter, so one might assume they are conceived, researched, written, and published as unique contributions to advancing knowledge.
In fact, most of these books fall far short of their important role in the educational scheme of things. They are processed into existence using the pulp of what already exists, rising like swamp things from the compost of the past. The mulch is turned and tended by many layers of editors who scrub it of anything possibly objectionable before it is fed into a government-run "adoption" system that provides mediocre material to students of all ages.
Anonymous said…
The California versions of both Go Math and Math in Focus (Singapore math based) can be viewed online:


CA has adopted Common Core as well, so I'm assuming they are similar to samples Seattle has on view.

Damon said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
From Laurie Rogers, in Spokane, comes a report of their latest math adoption for K-8.


They plan on using EngageNY, a completely online resource, in what seems to be a bridge to a more comprehensive adoption of Common Core materials at a later time.

I suppose Seattle Schools is in a similar position - they are due for new materials, yet looking at Common Core aligned materials that may not have been used in classrooms long enough to evaluate their effectiveness.

Anonymous said…
I believe they are taking email/ online feedback, per this page on the SPS website: http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=823fb9533ec7c5bd63c835db3e4116ea&sessionid=46bb27fb8b290da9a373488853a8683c&pageid=293767

Mom of four

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