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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Changes OK’d for math, science |

"The Milton Board of Education approved curriculum changes, focusing largely on math and science programming and sequencing, during a regular meeting held on Nov. 13." inform Kim McDarison, Correspondent, Milton Courier.

The changes, as presented to the board by curriculum committee and school board member Shelly Crull-Hanke, had been previously outlined for committee members by the district’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction Heather Slosarek on Nov. 8.

During the committee meeting, Crull-Hanke said, an extensive PowerPoint presentation had been shared by Slosarek, including a summary of programming designed to bring district curriculum into better alignment with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) as initially adopted by the Milton School Board during the 2015-2016 school year, and changes made to better align science curriculum with new state requirements as well as Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), also adopted by the district during the 2015-2016 school year

During a follow-up interview, Slosarek said: "We are working on alignment to improve growth scores." During a state report card presentation given to the board on Nov. 27, Slosarek noted that curriculum changes would also help with the district’s ongoing initiative to "close gaps," a report card category designed to measure the district’s ability to bring certain state-identified demographically similar groups’ performance scores more in line with those earned by the overall population.

From the report
Slosarek’s PowerPoint focused upon three topics, including a 2017-2018 curriculum implementation update, a "science scope and sequence overview," and new course proposals for the high school.

Curriculum update
Under 2017-2018 Curriculum Update, the report discussed the "implementation of past and new curriculum," with implementation defined as teacher support provided by prepackaged course materials publishers and company trained district staff members working to further support district staff, and was broken into three categories: Literacy, Math and Science.

Defining literacy as English language arts (ELA), reading and writing, current implementation (teacher support) practices and pilot program initiatives across the K-12 continuum, were outlined.

In elementary and intermediate grades K-6, teachers were being supported through a three-year implementation process while using the Jan Richardson’s Guided Reading Framework designed to help teachers "provide powerful small-group literacy instruction," the program’s website states.

A one-year implementation process was also underway to support teachers using the Lucy Calkins’ Unit of Study in Writing, designed to develop skills within the narrative, information and persuasive writing domains... 

Implementation strategies used for math were outlined within three grade level categories, beginning with elementary and intermediate grades K-5. Teachers using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Math Expressions Curriculum within grades K-5 would be supported for three years, the report stated.

Teachers using the 2018 edition of Math Expressions, focusing on "further differentiation and tech" within the grade category would receive one year’s worth of implementation support.

In the middle and intermediate grades 6-8, teachers using the Big Ideas math curriculum would receive four years of support. The program will include two strands (or curriculum pathways): math, grades 6-8, and enriched math in grades 6-7, followed by eighth-grade algebra.

Schigur defined NGSS as national standards that are supported by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and embraced by most area school districts. The district is working to adopt prepackaged materials that are aligned with NGSS, he said.

Within the science curriculum presentation, grades K-3 and 4-5, were broken out into separate blocks. Teachers of K-3 students were experiencing their second of a two-year implementation process using NGSS-aligned quarterly science units, which further aligned with literacy programming.

No new curriculum would be implemented within grades 4 and 5 as teachers worked to determine an appropriate transition, the report stated.


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