Wednesday, August 27, 2014

OPEN FORUM: D181's 2013-2014 Math Pilot Programs

Today we received several comments asking that we open a new topic for comment on the Math Pilot Program taking place throughout the district. We are happy to oblige. To kick things off, below are the comments we have received. Please keep the discussion going. As the math pilots roll out, please share your compliments and concerns about the programs and let us know any questions you send to the administration and the answers you receive.   

Anonymous said...
I'm wondering if the bloggers would be willing to open a new topic for comment on the math pilot programs that are taking place throughout the district. Except for a brief and unsubstantive mention of them at the BOE meeting on, I
believe, June 9 there has been no mention of them at all to parents despite the fact that there are a large number of students participating in them throughout the district. Granted, curriculum nights are coming up over the next week but my guess is that teachers will not have the background facts about why certain programs were chosen, why Everyday Math is being replaced, how the district will choose which program to purchase, how it will make sure that students who were in the programs not chosen have learned the same information as those who were, etc... From what I have heard from other parents and teachers, the Agile Mind program at HMS is a disaster waiting to happen as it is web-based and developed for students at inner-city and low performing schools. http://www.agilemind.com/results/data-snapshots/ My grade school child was just informed today of his participation in a pilot and was told that during its implementation there will be no math "grouping". Who knows what this means but with at least 4 new math programs in use at the various schools, why haven't parents been informed about them? Who was involved with choosing a program such as Agile Mind and what was their reasoning? Perhaps a blog post for parents to post information and ask questions of other parents would be helpful.
Anonymous said...
Yes Bloggers! Please set up a math pilot topic so we can post our comments. I am a very concerned HMS parent, and I think my child is in for a rough year ahead with the new math that will be tried out in his class with no groups. All students will be given the same lessons regardess of ability. This smells of Kurt Schneider and his dream of having everyone equal within a class.
BTW: I also listened to the board meeting and sat in disbelief as I listened to Dr. White and Schneider use fancy lingo and flowerly language about this next school year. I think Dr. White will try to do his best, but based on what I heard, it will take an army of competent staff to pull off what I think is impossible with reporting, measuring, and monitoring of each and every student. It sounds nice, but reality is a different story. Instead of all the fancy language, they should have talked about stopping this ridiculous math pilot and sparing our kids and teachers from a year of frustration!
Anonymous said...
I'm so tired of the secrecy regarding curriculum.

One reason the 4th grade math mess occurred was because the administration didn't address any of the parents' challenges. They just did what they wanted without any proof that this may be more effective.

Here we are again. There are studies showing that this Agile Mind program has shown no statistically significant difference over the control program. It was a 3 year study, 9 schools participated-all underserved areas (sound like our district?-no) . I briefly read the study but just google- An innovative math program Agile Mind: Effective? and you'll find it. We need to hear why they are even considering this program.

79 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another interesting read-goggle-

I want to teach forever:Agile mind software impractical for most classrooms. (this is a blog)

The comments are worth reading.

Anonymous said...

I am very concerned about the math pilot. My child is piloting math in focus but no one in her class is aware of this pilot. The admin is keeping things very quiet. Some of my comments and concerns are:

1. At the end of the pilot, what is the rubric to determine which is the best resource?

2. How will all the kids stay on the same scope and sequence if EM, math in focus and Investigations all have a different scope and sequence lesson plan? If they skip and jump around will these resources be used with fidelity? If not, how do we measure their effectiveness?

3. If we are practicing inclusion and these resources are not a cyclical curriculum, how will we differentiate in class for students who are working ahead of their grade level? Going deeper is great, but what happens when they have gone deep enough? Can they be pulled out and go above grade level with EM or do they need to wait for their peers to catch up?

4. What happens in December? We all go back to EM? How do we make sure kids are not behind their peers due to pilot materials and skipping around?

5. When will the community be told about the pilot? No one but a select few know about it.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to get too far off the topic, but I've wondered why the middleschool kids have 2 sections of ELA and only 1 of math. Instead of always trying to find the "magic" math program, perhaps the middle schools should require 2 sections of math as well-or maybe 2 electives of math enrichment. I think the electives at middleschool should be revamped. What about keyboarding? Latin? My children have taken so many sections of Applied Tech and Chorus, ( they wanted to take computer classes but said they are completely outdated) because nothing else is offered. Several of the summer school classes seem much more worthwhile than the traditional classes offered during the school year. Math related electives would be terrific!

Anonymous said...

I've heard all elementary schools are doing pilots except The Lane.

Was this voted on?

I thought a while back the math pilot for Investigations was voted DOWN! Someone please explain.

Anonymous said...

Check out the June 9th boe meeting

jay_wick said...

The University of Texas is a prime backer of the AgileMinds software and the "rubrics" promoted by the UT's Dana Center
The Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin


It too strikes me that teachers that are familiar with the AgileMinds software are concerned that it may miss its intended target -- Agile Mind software: impractical for most classrooms Of course the opinions of any teacher or group of teachers must be weighed against both their collective goals as well as the opinions of not just other education experts, but also the evaluation of those with a vested interest in the success of students, such a leaders in business / the community and the little bit of info that exists for the AgileMinds math programs in those areas is troubling.

Perhaps the only encouraging thing about this situation is at least the slides used to promote / explain the district's approach to these pilots are online -- Math Committee Executive Summary|D181.org Up to this point this committee has not had parent / community member input -- Math Committee |D181.org

Perhaps Dr. White will re-evaluate the wisdom of holding these meetings behind closed doors.

Anonymous said...

10:24: Have you sent these valid questions to Schneider and Benaitis? Seems like they should have answers to all of these questions BEFORE the pilots start.

Anonymous said...

I've read past minutes of the June BOE meetings and haven't found any significant discussion regarding math pilots.

HMS students have been placed in standard math, advanced, and acc. math...One commented that there were no groupings. How can that be? was the opt. in meetings, and test scores to help with placement just to appease the parents? I really hope not.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Schneider seems to feel he doesn't need to answer any questions from parents-the same parents that are paying his salary.

Anonymous said...

10:35 -- Why do you say Schneider "seems to feel he doesn't need to answer questions from parents?" Did you send him or ask him questions he has not answered? If so, can you share your questions?

Anonymous said...

All the disses on Schneider are not productive and they derail what was a substantive discussion on the math pilot.

Anonymous said...

I urge Dr. White and the Department of Learning to have a parent meeting about the math pilot. There should be one for the elementary school and one for the middle school and there should be both daytime and evenings options. It would be helpful to have representatives from the math committee and allow time for Q and A.

Anonymous said...

The disses on Schneider are substantiated. After all, he is in charge of curriculum. It is his job. He should have taken some initiative and communicated everything about the math pilot to parents. Parents shouldn't have to go looking for the answers.

Anonymous said...

After digging through boarddocs, finally located the Math Pilot Presentation under the Elementary Math Update on the May 27th board meeting agenda. It includes the middle school as well. I didn't see any information about the Math pilot on the district website. At least none under Curriculum. This seems to be the only source of information.

http://www.boarddocs.com/il/hccsdil/Board.nsf/files/9KHS3W6E82B3/$file/Math%20Pilot%20Presentation_5_27_14.pdf

jay_wick said...

Conceptually I have a problem with ANYTHING that creates the potential for divisiveness with the district.
We are extremely fortunate to largely have high performing schools throughout our district as measured not just by the currently very weak tests mandated by the inept Illinois State Board of Eduction but also the (almost certainly duplicative) NUMATS and InView testing.

I have less confidence that the results of PARCC testing (part of Common Core) will be as consistent, ESPECIALLY due to the decision to make it HARDER for teachers to develop shared strategies as there will be disparate curricular materials at the various schools -- the already limited time that teachers have to collaborate with intra-district peers will likely be spent contrasting where they are at with regard to "coverage" of material instead of the more productive sharing of successful avenues for student understanding. Anyone with classroom experience would far prefer the latter.

The stage has been set for a whole host of problems: will it be said that student groups that do less well on PARCC tests did so because of deficiencies in the alignment of curricular materials with the goals of Common Core; will the blame fall on teachers that may have been less comfortable with certain curricular materials; will the pilot really be sufficient to judge which combination of curricular materials and teacher methodologies was most effective for student learning; will parents fond of the particular philosophy embodied in some curricular materials really put aside such feeling and willingly allow the adoption of materials that may have the appearance of greater success in another of the district's schools without having directly experienced those materials?

Frankly the whole idea of piloting a smorgasbord of math programs at this crucial point in the adoption of PARCC testing seems to be a incredibly inept decision -- basic scientific test design demands that there be a "control group" and experiments with as small a set of variables as possible. Instead some dunderhead(s) in our district have embarked on a ridiculously high number of "trials" that may very well sow the seeds of disharmony, finger pointing and disaster at a time when forces hostile to the very notion of public education are sharpening their knives to pare deeply into one of our most valuable assets.

There needs to be accountability for this foolhardy decision and close monitoring to ensure that the potential for widespread damage is mitigated.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with you, Mr Wick. My child will be participating in the math pilot, and I just don't understand why Dr. White didn't put a stop to it. This "pilot" comes from Schneider, Russell(glad he's gone), Benaitis, and Schuster (thank goodness she's long gone). It's not really a pilot, and I'm sure my daughter will have holes in her learning. This makes no sense. And who will hold Dr. White and his administration accountable? This inept board? Who are we kidding here? They speak in generalities and will blame the difficult PARCC test as the reason why our kids didn't perform as well as they should/could have. They won't place blame where it belongs, on the administration.

Anonymous said...

So sad. I hope for the sake of the students that they will not -- once again -- be lab rat victims.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am extremely concerned about the math pilots planned for the fall. Thanks, bloggers, for providing this forum for parents to share concerns and, more importantly, to share information that will help us ask educated and informed questions of the administration.

I urge concerned parents to email Curt Schneider with questions (with a copy to Dr. White).

On a related note, I pulled up the Assessment Schedule for the year and am also concerned about the number of assessments planned for the year. (If interested in the Assessment Schedule, click on the link below and then the "2014-2015 Assessment Schedule" link on the right side of the page.)

http://www.d181.org/learning/Assessment/index.aspx

Anonymous said...

Why is Madison piloting in 4 grades and Elm and Oak only in one. None at Lane. All schools should have been part of this. It looks like Madison will have a big say in this if they like Investigations which is concerning. If you search on reviews for this program there are districts that have petitioned to have it pulled out of their district.

http://www.pelhammath.com/2012/01/20/federal-study-finds-investigations-students-trail-those-in-other-programs-in-early-years/

This link refers to a review of Math programs by the US Dept. of Education.

http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/~/media/publications/PDFs/education/mathcurricula_fstsndgrade.pdf

We don't seem to be piloting Math Expressions/Saxon.

I respect the teachers on the committee but do not trust the old administration and a fair trail of new programs. Would have rather waited for the new superintendent to get control of the district than doing an extensive pilot this year.

The pilot is for two months based on their slides and they will decide a new curriculum which we will be stuck with for the next few years. I am tired of my kids being experimented on for the past two years.

Anonymous said...

@ 9/1 12:45.....They're piloting the curriculum in grades at schools where teachers are on the math committee. Monroe is piloting, too. For those schools where there is no pilot, it means there are no teachers on the math committee. Hope that helps clarify the rationale.....not that anything the admin does in this district is rational!

Anonymous said...

Walker isn't piloting it either. I agree all schools should be part of this and the pilot seems too short to pick a robust program. I feel our language arts curriculum is lacking and hope the district will not pick a program that is just about meeting common core.

Anonymous said...

This district is laughable. We are paying high taxes for this? Weak LA programs and ill-contrived pilots. Nothing like having our kids grade each other's writing and using a new math program for a few months!

Anonymous said...

The Hinsdalean listed the agenda topics for the board meeting on Monday. It's pretty light. No mention of the math pilot or any curriculum issues. Disappointing.

Anonymous said...

9:11: I agree with you that this is disappointing. If Dr. White wants people to begin trusting or buying into his selection of Dr. Schneider to run curriculum, then he better start putting Dr. White in front of the community and board member to not only present on curriculum issues, but answer the tough questions people are asking.

Anonymous said...

The agenda for Monday's (9/8) board meeting has been posted on board docs. Dr. White's report indicates that the Math Pilots will be discussed at the 9/22 meeting (7 pm at Elm School). Parents with concerns should turn out and ask their questions on 9/22. It is fine to discuss the concerns on this blog, but more important to step up in front of Dr. White, Dr. Schneider and the board.

Anonymous said...

I hope that everyone commenting on this blog about the lack of information about the math pilot has e-mailed Dr. White and the BOE about it. And that they come to the Sept. 22 meeting. Showing up really makes a difference at these important meetings. I, too, think it is crazy that most parents found out about their child' participation from their child. Details about the programs and how it will be implemented should have been presented to the BOE BEFORE it was approved or, at the least, before the school year started. Instead of a math pilot presentation, we are getting a presentation on SELAS which, judging by the info. on the district's website took someone a lot of time to put together. Why wasn't this time spent on math?? And then science? Foreign language? SELAS is important but academics are more important and are the reason we send our kids to school. SELAS can easily be taught at home and is for the most part.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with 8:29 in that every aspect of the math pilot should have been communicated to parents prior to the school year, as well as all specifics should have been presented to the BOE (and trust me, I've attended/listened to all board meetings and math pilot information was vague/general); however, SELAS does need to be addressed and incorporated. Yes academics are important but our district has proven that they don't give a darn about the social and emotional well-being of our kids. What they do is lip service, a lot of talk with little to back up what they say.

In my opinion the district falls terribly short on both counts.

Anonymous said...

If 6:08 is talking about the forced and poorly thought out math acceleration for all and the removal of ability based math tiers and programs for advanced students and how they impacted students socially and emotionally, then I agree. Both decisions left students of all academic ability levels with less than positive feelings about school. Some students were overwhelmed with math and others were left bored and unchallenged. To put students of all ability levels next to each other in class full time is a recipe for disaster for all of them. Yes, there are SELAS issues with tiers and pullouts but they are far fewer than feelings of inadequacy and boredom that come with a teacher trying to do too much in the classroom and students feeling "dumber" than other math students for an hour a day. Not to mention the inefficiency of it all.

Anonymous said...

Yes 9:09! That's exactly what I was referring to!!!

Anonymous said...

The Math Pilot is a joke and wasting valuable time for many students. Kurt Schneider should be supervising the pilot. Wait a minute: he's too busy preparing for this:

DuPage Regional Office of Education
Dr. Darlene J. Ruscitti, Regional Superintendent of Schools
Reframing Mindsets for Student Achievement –
A Catalyst for Change
October 15, 2014
8:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Medinah Shriners
550 North Shriners Drive, Addison, Illinois
This event is designed to challenge participants to reflect on the current role and delivery
system of education. The event will:
• Engage you in transformational thinking about the future delivery of education models
• Provoke critical thinking regarding the current status of our academic outcomes
• Reflect on what institutional and political changes need to occur to change our current
thinking about academic success for all students
• Examine how schools can approach discipline to encourage students in becoming more
engaged with learning
• Focus on what inclusive classrooms look like when meeting the needs of all students
Keynote Presenter - Dr. Steve Perry, MSW
• Founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of
the top schools in the country which has sent 100% of its predominantly lowincome,
minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges
• Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC
• Essence Magazine columnist
• Host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE Save My Son
Additional presentations by:
• Dr. Kurt Schneider, Assistant Superintendent of Learning for School District
181, will address the inclusion of all students in high achieving classrooms
• Dr. Decoteau Irby, Assistant Professor in the Department of Administrative Leadership at the University of
Wisconsin at Milwaukee, will address how discipline affects student achievement
DuPage County - $120 per person • Outside DuPage County - $140 per person • Credit - 5 CPDUs
Includes continental breakfast and lunch
Registration closes - SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Anonymous said...

Dr. Schneider can now truly state he is the assistant superintendent of learning which he was stretching last year at these presentations. I hope Dr. White is more savvy and doesn't allow our students and tax dollars to be used for someone else's dream. I am so fed up with this inclusion nonsense. Why don't they visit some local youth games to see how kids are really excluded and how much selas is being practiced by the parents. Now you have to feel like you have to hide the fact that your child is good at academics or heaven forbid unusually good or "gifted". But lets continue to celebrate with our favorite sports heroes and celebrities who are successful because they had a gift and worked hard.

Anonymous said...

The Math Pilot presentation has very little information. What feedback will we provide as parents if everything is kept a secret.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't thrilled when I found out that my child was part of a math pilot. I was wondering why minimal homework was coming home-that was the clue. It'd be a big step in the right direction if this administration would be more honest with us. Please show us a little respect.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who has commented on this blog about their concerns regarding the the math pilot need to go one step further. You should make your objections known to the BOE in a LIVE setting. Please attend tonight's D181 board meeting and make a public comment expressing your concerns. It will take place in the Elm School gym at 7 pm.

Anonymous said...

I have talked to many parents about both the pilot and the inclusive delivery process that is being used in many classrooms around the district (parents need to realize that Common Core, the pilot program and inclusive classrooms are 3 very different things and are not dependent on each other.) Parents have no clue if their students are in pilots (someone told me that her son is in one at CHMS and it wasn't mentioned at all at Curriculum Night and her son hasn't mentioned it to her). They also have no idea if their child is in a classroom that is practicing inclusion (all ability levels in one class with students moving from "station to station" with very little time with a teacher)or tiers (where kids move to classrooms grouped by academic ability levels (the former model that Learning 4 All tried to replace and which was successful for most students). Parents have no idea what is going on with math in this district and if they knew that elementary math was being delivered in the haphazard and random way it is being delivered they would be appalled. It is not the crazy 3rd grade pilot from 2 years ago but it is close for the students in inclusive or pilot classrooms. Parents think it is problem with their child when they struggle. They have no clue that it is a district decision that has caused this mess. If your child is bored or struggling in math, you need to talk to your friends and e-mail your teachers, principals, BOE and administration asap as well as come to the meeting tonight to send a clear message that our community cares about math. Decisions are being made now that will impact the entire year and parents have no clue.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked when I heard that the administration didn't present on the math pilot last month at the BOE meeting and, instead gave a huge presentation on SELAS complete with a consultant that we hired to help with it. This district seems to have forgotten that math and core academics are more important than SELAS in the majority of student cases. Nothing was ready for math this year because the admin. focus and resources were on SELAS. Crazy. And where is the SELAS concern for students struggling or being bored in inclusive classrooms?? #crocodiletears

Anonymous said...

Everyone is talking about elementary math but what is going on at the Middle Schools. We have heard very little about the program and nothing about what will happen to students of all levels in January. My child's teacher tells me that they have not been told what will happen in with and students in January. How can you roll out a pilot program and have no idea what resources children will go back to when it is over - the control group, the program the kids have been using all semester or the "winner"? Can they even order materials and train teachers in a new program by January? Why don't teachers know this and why hasn't our BOE asked these questions before the pilot was begun? Isn't it their job to look out for our students?

Anonymous said...

My son at Prospect received a letter last year saying that he tested into the "advanced class" but I don't believe that he is in that class now. Have things changed since last year? Shouldn't they have to notify parents if that is the case?

Anonymous said...

Before they chose a "winner"-I'd hope they will present data from other districts that have used the chosen math program. Dismantling our current curriculum (especially middle school) for some new one should be taken very seriously. I want to see some evidence/data from other districts etc. -just not a few opinions. Also-wouldn't it be wise for the Math dept. at the highschool to weigh in since most of D181 students attend Central-where there are many DIFFERENT levels of math classes. I think their perspective would be invaluable. We need to know that the next curriculum is MUCH better before ditching the current one. Someone made a comment (from a teacher) that test scores in this district where higher 10 years ago. Over the years I've seen LESS writing, LESS grammar, LESS math-not too hard to figure out. I think our Learning/Curriculum Dept is not focusing on the right things to improve this district. Too much effort is focused on inclusion, noninclusion, social issues, assembles etc-where's the emphasis on actual curriculum matters? Parents in this district want specifics-not generalized statements.

Anonymous said...

Yes-we should know exactly what is going on. But, I guess our BOE and administration feel differently. Right now my middleschooler's math experience doesn't resemble what my older child experienced. It is less rigorous, and there is less homework. Do we have to wait for highschool to realize this is not good?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with 12:53. High school is too late for kids to catch up. I'm surprised that many elementary parents still think that this is an advanced student issue. Inclusive classrooms are an issue that is negatively impacting the vast majority of students in this district. I have yet to speak to one teacher who thinks that this is the best way to deliver math services.

Nancy Hamp said...

After interest in the Math Pilot Program was expressed at the first meeting of SALC--the Superintendent's Advisory Learning Committee--in late August, the presentations the Board of Ed. saw starting last year were sent to members, and a letter was emailed to all parents in the district on September 10 from the Learning Department about the Math Pilot Program.

Six or seven programs at the elementary and middle school levels were researched in depth by the Math Committee last year. These were narrowed down on based on educators' assessments of their likelihood of helping students achieve the depth the Common Core Standards require, among other considerations. The D181 website has details about the Pilot Program. Check out the links in your email, then click on the presentations and documents on the right of the Math Pilot page for more details. Yes, other districts around ours are using these resources. Students in Pre-Algebra and Algebra are using other resources.

This subject is will be discussed further at SALC on September 25. If you were unable to address the Board of Ed. yourself, or choose not to write a letter, you can always share concerns with the SALC member from your school. Their names are on the D181 website. We all hope to help communicate community concerns to the Administration and I believe it is interested in hearing them and responding.

Anonymous said...

For anyone listening to the BOE meeting tonight, you should know that appendix a of the common core state standards was adopted in 2010. We began automatic grade compacting in 2012.

Anonymous said...

How about all those parent comments at last night's board meeting! Way to show the board how much we like the math pilot by not showing up. Go Bears!

Anonymous said...

It sounded like there is no more acceleration or just isolated cases in elementary. Is this really better? No advancement for anyone since all kids are the same. I have not seen any increase in differentiation within the classroom for the past year but a decrease in the amount of enrichment time since teachers don't have time. Kids can decide instead which activity to do and trust me they will pick the simpler one.

jay_wick said...

First off, whoever mockingly said "Go Bears" as a reason for why BOE attendance was so light may I humbly suggest that perhaps the unfortunate decision of the foolish D86 BOE to redo their schedule so as to conflict with both D181's traditional Monday meeting AND a nationally televised event may be more to blame, especially as the traditional audience for the D181 BOE is not especially congruent with that of the "Monsters of the Midway".

Secondly it is not at all unusual for even "worry wart" parents to try to give not just their own child's classroom teacher and building level staff the early year "benefit of the doubt" but to also extend a bit of leeway to district level staff.

Even the most tear stained checks of precious fragile snowflakes are rarely enough to motivate the most ferocious genus Panthera matriarch / autogiro progenitor to unleash full fury with less than 30 days of classroom time...

That said, I do wonder if anyone is brave enough to see if Dr. White stands hard with the "invitation only" policy of our previous administration in what looks like an announcement of an "open meeting" for THURSDAY'S Curriculum Committee Meeting -- "NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District 181, Cook and DuPage Counties, Illinois, has called the Superintendent’s Advisory Learning Committee meeting on Thursday, September 25, 2014, at Elm School, 15W201 60th St.,Burr Ridge, Illinois.
The meeting will begin at 4:00p.m.
"

Agenda: 25 September 2014 -- Superintendent’s Advisory Learning Committee

Any one brave enough to just show up?

Sorry, I'll still be working...

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jay Wick-

Perhaps many of us have been blindsided by this pilot. Yes, I wasn't paying that much attention because I thought another one of my children "made it" to the middleschool, where we have had a very good experience (math), and my other child escaped the compacting experiment. Within a few weeks I knew something had changed. Thank you BOE and administration for wanting to "over communicate" now that the pilots are in full swing. What's the old saying? -better ask for forgiveness than permission? . Perhaps parents didn't feel prepared to speak because this information is so new to us. I'm in that camp. My main concern is that a weaker program will be chosen. Where is the analzysis of the Spring MAP data for that 4th grade experiment?How can you continue on this path without looking at the data? Also - the schools that feed into HInsdale Central-what math curriculums are they using? What math curriculums are the top tier schools using? This is important imformation we should know. Exactly who are the Math experts/majors? - I'd hope the highschool math dept. has been involved in this process because BEFORE you enter highschool, everybody takes a test and that will determine what math class you'll be placed in. It's not one size fits all.

Thank you Nancy Hemp for the information. Please let us know what other school districts are using the Pre-aglebra, alegbra resources, and exactly what resources are being piloted.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Let me get this straight. Just a few years ago we had tiers and ACE. That was dismantled about three years ago and replaced with the Advanced Learning Plan, math compacting, and we often heard "Raise the floor to raise the ceiling." This change was done with little to no data or community support. Suddenly, all of our children were gifted advanced learners and advanced opportunities were open to all. Flexible groupings were the moto. Opt in was allowed. The plan then changed names to Learning for All. Then last night, yet another change. Again, with no notice, no data analysis, no community buy in, and no BOE vote. Now, at the whim of our well paid Department of Learning, there is no more grouping of students (except for the fifth grade). Now students of all levels learn in one inclusive classroom. Grade compacting is gone - poof. Everyone is a grade level learner. No one is allowed to advance above grade level without an RTI. A student who grasps the material is allowed only to "dive deeper" into grade level materials - whatever that means. I have whip lash!!! Oh and 4 plus 4 isn't just 8 anymore. We need to understand the plus sign and the equal sign.

Anonymous said...

But all of that compacting happened in another era!!!!

Disgusted Parent said...

I have just finished listening to the podcast of last night's BOE meeting and I can say that despite all of the flowery language used by Schneider, Benaitis, Walsh, and yes, even Dr. White during the math pilot presentation and discussion, all I came away with was reaffirmation that the curriculum department is being run by the wrong people who are all unqualified and inexperienced to be leading any kind of curriculum changes in any district, let alone one of D181's caliber.

Did Schneider really claim that we are living in a "new era" and that the common core standards have changed everything? YES, that is what he said as justification for moving away from all of the BS he forced down our throats over the last 2 years in the ALP/Learning for All Plan that HE, yes HE, brought to our district!

Is he out of his mind? The Common Core standards were not recently developed. They haven't "changed" in the last few years. Districts have been planning their implementation for more than 5 years! Vetting of the Common Core standards began by Dr. Stutz in D181 long before Schneider arrived on the scene and no one currently running the curriculum department can possibly claim that something "new" in the standards has suddenly made them realize that the Learning for All plan model of acceleration for all is no longer viable.

IT NEVER WAS!! Why can't these educational experts simply admit that their Learning For All Plan was hopelessly flawed from the outset, didn't work in years 1 and 2 and won't work in years 3 through 7? Why can't they admit that their use of our students as guinea pigs and lab rats didn't result in positive results in their curriculum experimentation of acceleration for all? Why can't they admit that they have finally realized that it is better to throw in the towel on this model and go back to grade level instruction with some forms of acceleration for students who might need it?? Why can't anyone in that godforsaken administration building ADMIT TO THEIR MISTAKES? Why won't Dr. White realize that until someone in the admin center OWNS UP and accepts responsibility for past mistakes, the parents whose kids have been repeatedly screwed over by all the curriculum experiments will NEVER trust the administration?

Is it because it would bring this district back full circle to the point this whole debate on tiers and appropriate placement of students began? Back to the real problem of finding and using appropriate identification tools? A problem that the curriculum department refused to tackle and instead tried to take the easy road by declaring all D181 students as gifted and ready for a full year of acceleration in the Common Core plus 1 model they called the Learning for All Plan?

Eliminating the acceleration for all model -- as was admitted to during last night's meeting -- but allowing acceleration for some students has led us right back to the beginning. Soon the chant from angry parents will start -- What is the identification method you are using? What is the objective criteria? What data do you have to support cut-offs or subjective placement decisions by teachers?

After three years of failed experiments which now Schneider claims is just a "new era" we find ourselves in, will anyone in the curriculum department be able to answer the never before answered identification questions?

I'm not going to hold my breath.

And by the way, if we are in a "new era" that requires us to stop the acceleration for all model, please tell me why Schneider is continuing to go out on the lecture circuit and preach about it?

Anonymous said...

Bravo 12:17!! You are absolutely correct on all counts. Too bad so many other parents in this district still have no idea what you are even talking about in your post and haven't made the effort to learn. Your kids are the lucky ones. Kudos to you and thanks for your post, I couldn't have said it better myself. White and Walsh have a chance to turn this thing around, but Benaitis and need to go! BTW, doesn't it seem that all Schneider contributed to the discussion Monday night was talk about mission statements and philosophy while Walsh handled the substantive discussion? Oh, and let's not forget the extensive SELAS presentation he gave last month while our kids continue to receive substandard math delivery. Our tax dollars at work. Oh, and while we're on the subject of tax dollars, when are they going to notify the community that, as a result of their failed plan, we all paid for a huge number of 4th graders to be tutored after school last year. Where is the budget line item for that???

Yvonne Mayer said...

I am responding to Jay Wick's last comment. I have contacted the D181 administration and confirmed that community members are welcome to attend and observe the Learning Committee meetings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Yvonne-

Perhaps we can gain a better understanding of our curriculum (and what ideas/ improvements will be/hope to be made) from D181 volunteers because we certainly haven't seen much from our Learning Dept.

Anonymous said...

I also listened to the mtg. No mention of ISAT scores to help make decisions in this "new era." Neighboring districts have already sent ISAT scores home. What's the matter Kurt Schneider? Afraid of sending out scores based on 100% Common Core ISAT test? Have too many students fallen out of the meet and exceeds categories?

Anonymous said...

We still have not analyzed spring map scores

Anonymous said...

Where is the leadership from our new highly paid superintendent Dr White? He is obviously supporting Schneider and his charade. No depth. No data. No contract needed for yet another year of nonsense.

Nancy Hamp said...

Big Ideas is being Piloted at CHMS. Agile Mind is being piloted at HMS -- both of these are at the Pre-Algebra level and below. Algebra has not been changed. It is aligned with D86. The book, Algebra 1, published by McDougal Littell, is by one of the authors of Big Ideas. It is the elementary pilot programs that I should have said are being used by other districts around here, not middle school resources. They are listed on one of the Board Math Pilot Presentations on the website.

On another note, if you've ever had a high schooler go through D86, you know that some D181 students are multiplying by parts or using matrix grids to try to solve simple multiplication problems in advanced science courses and math courses. Some never caught on to the standard algorithms for multiplication and division because of Everyday Math. This is not what colleges want to see.

Anonymous said...

Dr. White and Administration-

We understand many changes have occurred in our district but the ISAT information should be send out especially since other districts has done so. Also-what's the point of taking the MAP tests if we need to wait months, and months, and months for analysis? Perhaps you need to ask why aren't they analyzed yet? Why can't our sprawling Learning Dept. handle this? This is information the parents want in a timely fashion. What other priorities are keeping your staff from doing their job on a very basic level. Please consider these questions as time goes by . Seriously-
Are you working for our children? or is it the other way around? It's feeling ike the later. Dr. White-we are counting on you! During the last BOE meeting, there was a comment that MAP scores really won't be considered a reflection on the success/failure of the math pilots etc..(or past math degrouping etc). Why? Why are we wasting more time and subjectin our kids to more testing? Parent are going to start to boycott MAP -especially the winter test.

Anonymous said...

If the 4th and 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade students haven't caught on to the standard algorithms for multiplication and division (by highschool) it CAN"T be blamed on Everyday Math. The teachers and parents are to blame. Don't make the majority of the students bored to tears because they have caught on.

How did those children even get through a MAP test, ISAT test.There had to be many, many red flags.

Anonymous said...

If other school districts have released the ISAT test results to parents, there is no excuse for why D181 is sitting on our results, unless of course they are creating a spin to try and explain away poor results in one or more schools.

Someone with a student in D181 should file a FOIA request asking for their immediate release, or at a minimum send a letter to the principal demanding release of their student's scores. There is no legal basis for D181 to withhold the test results from any parent who makes this request.

Anonymous said...

ISAT scores come home Friday and will be discussed at next BOE meeting. Maybe more than 10 parents will show up. I heard that Monroe's scores were low again.

Anonymous said...

If ISAT results are poor, the spin will be that it's the first ISAT test that is 100 percent Common Core and our district isn't fully aligned to Common Core. That's Dr. Schuster would spin and unfortunately, Dr. White seems to be headed down the same path.

Mathyone said...

@anonymous "If the 4th and 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade students haven't caught on to the standard algorithms for multiplication and division (by highschool) it CAN"T be blamed on Everyday Math. The teachers and parents are to blame. Don't make the majority of the students bored to tears because they have caught on.

How did those children even get through a MAP test, ISAT test.There had to be many, many red flags."

Why do you think that? The alternative algorithms are taught by Everyday Math. They are allowed to be used on the Map and ISAT test.

Why is it the parent's and teacher's fault if the students are using the Everyday Math algorithms they were taught? How can it not be Every Day Math's fault that they use what they learned in Everyday Math?

Not using the standard algorithms does not become a problem immediately. It becomes a problem when they advance in math and as more complexity is introduced, the alternative algorithms either do not work or become too cumbersome to use effectively.

Anonymous said...

Mathy one-

Everyday math teaches kids the lattice method, and partial products etc (I can't stand these methods-but I'm old and traditional!) , but it also teaches the traditional methods of multiplying, division, etc.

Most of the time on the homework and tests it will say- use the partial products method-or use the traditional method.

My three children preferred the traditional method, but I guess the "math experts" feel different ways of finding the answer early on is benefical for some students. I'm not a math expert. I'm going to guess that any other math program constructivist in nature-Investigations, AgileMind etc will still promote the range of methods. I would have been thrilled if our district adopted Signapore, Saxon Math-but guess those are just too traditional, too much practice etc. Even though those programs are impressive. Oh well-we were never told the reasoning behind the pilot choices, or the data that supported their decisions. There are studies out there-and some are pretty critical of Investigations, and Agilemind. My fear is if we scrap EM -a more constructivist "fuzzy math" program will be adopted. My children are older and won't have to deal with Investigations- but do a little research. Districts are demanding it be replaced. Children are falling behind in this program.

Nancy Hamp said...

Why so many people believe Everyday Math must go:

Is Everyday Math the Worst Math Program Ever?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/12/10/is-everyday-math-the-worst-math-program-ever/

As this article states, wealthy districts can make do with substandard math materials and get by, because the students have mitigating resources, but there are legitimate reasons why mathematicians and scientists hate Everyday Math.

I want D181 students to excel. Math fundamentals matter and standard calculation matters. At lower levels students can get through tests using their multiplication by parts and their matrix-like charts from not having standard algorithms emphasized, but not in high school.

What I would like to learn from the Math Pilot is why we should believe a program that has been developed for readying students for Common Core Standards measurement (PARCC) will prepare our students better for high school math and beyond.

Anonymous said...

The Math in Focus program being piloted at Oak and Monroe is Singapore Math. It is really good. The problem with the pilot, and the inclusive classrooms, is that ALL students are being taught grade level materials as a base with some students going deeper and some given support. This is a waste of time for everyone not at grade level (and the teacher) and doesn't meet any students needs except the ones that are at grade level. Bring back ability based tiers and incorporate flexibility and differentiation within those. And improve the identification issues that were present before. All students needs will be met with this system. Grade level alone doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Nancy Hamp! AgileMind is awful! Developed for underperforming districts and untested in any except lake Forest. Not to mention that Hinsdale Central chose not to pilot it. Why would we even consider it? To use our students as guinea pigs for the PARCC test and see how they do with an online resource. Get ready for major scaffolding for the students using this program...

Mathyone said...

" I guess the "math experts" feel different ways of finding the answer early on is benefical for some students. I'm not a math expert. I'm going to guess that any other math program constructivist in nature-Investigations, AgileMind etc will still promote the range of methods. "

This is not correct. There is a common misconception that Everyday Math was developed at the University of Chicago, which does excellent math research, and so it must be developed by their math experts. While is was developed at U of C, it was developed by the education department not the math department.

Educators tend to focus on finding methods that are easier and more fun for students. I support that, but only when student's long-term math potential and base knowledge is not being impaired. The standard (read old-fashion) algorithms are the standard algorithms for specific reasons. They still work when the numbers are not round, or the numbers are large, or have many decimals. I do not know a single person with a degree in mathematics, engineering, physics, economics, finance or statistics who uses any of the alternative algorithms.

In my mind, the goal should be build the base level of knowledge that will allow these students to be successful in advanced math in high school and college and their careers, if they so choose, without outside intervention by parents or teachers or tutors to put them back on the right track.

To me, the most concerning thing about these "fuzzy math" programs, is that the people concerned about their use tend to be people who most understand the importance of math to a child's future prospects. When the people who know the most about the subject are the ones who are concerned, we should all listen carefully.

Anonymous said...

Board docs are up for the meeting on Monday. Check out the last report listed which compares MAP growth by school. The 5th grade growth is unbelievably low.

Anonymous said...

Link to 5th grade results. http://www.boarddocs.com/il/hccsdil/Board.nsf/files/9PJGXH45E95F/$file/2014_10_03_MAP_Student_Growth_Summary_School.pdf

Anonymous said...

How about the 200+ slide presentation White will present on Monday. Are we supposed to be impressed? MAP scores are still low, except for a grade here and there. Some grades have only 30-40 something % meeting growth. And White spins this and says he can get 75% meeting growth targets? Ha!

Anonymous said...

I was recently with a group of parents who were discussing the Math Pilot and the topic of this blog came up and the question why so many people post 'anonymously' ? The answer was that there is some kind of a backlash at school on the student if the parent speaks up publicly!!! I was extremely shocked to hear this. I hope this is a rumor. Has anybody experienced this? or knows of somebody face this situation?
I would be extremely disappointed with the Administration if they cannot engage in a dialog without repercussions.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:02: Yes, its true, or at least it was under Schuster's reign of terror. I know of at least two cases where she threatened complaining parents with a board policy that could have allowed her to kick them off school grounds. One made a public comment and another wrote an email expressing various curriculum concerns. And I know parents who attended IEP meetings and where bullied during those meetings. This was not an environment that promoted parents stepping up publicly, let alone identifying their names. In fact, I know a couple parents who were called into Schuster's office and point blank accused of being the bloggers. So, while this was all under Schuster's reign of terror, some of her administrators still are in D181 and two have actually been promoted by Dr. White. I totally understand why people are still afraid to give their names. I am.

Anonymous said...

I will never disclose my name on this blog. I don't trust Schneider or Benaitis. Call me crazy but I need to protect my children while still publicly expressing my concerns. Thank you to the bloggers for providing the public an avenue to do exactly that.

Anonymous said...

I have heard of teachers mentioning to students that their parents have e-mailed them. The problem is that when you complain about what is happening, there is the possibility that the teacher will feel defensive or "outed". I think that you get around that by sharing your concerns about a classroom issue to the teacher first and, if you are still unhappy, go to the BOE and administration. On the flip side, many teachers will tell you that all of these decisions were made by the administration and that they are just implementing - pilot design, inclusive classrooms with significant differentiation, workshop model, etc... They will tell you that they appreciate parents who speak up about these issues in a respectful and sensitive way.

jay_wick said...

Hey, mathyone --

You are free to express your personal opinion about anything but your implication that there is anything less than completely honest about UofC's involvement in School Mathematics is not supported -- Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education CEMSE is a Research and Development Center that resides within the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the University of Chicago. CEMSE continues the University of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to improving precollege education and aims to support high quality mathematics and science instruction and learning [among] all students.
The Physical Sciences Division is the same part of the UofC that runs some of the most prestigious research in the world -- Division of the Physical Sciences |University of Chicago "The division includes the Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geophysical Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics. The history of each department is intertwined inextricably with the history of science.
Research at Chicago was interdisciplinary before the word interdisciplinary was coined. Today, the Enrico Fermi Institute, the James Franck Institute, the Computation Institute, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics bring scientists from different fields together to unlock the secrets of nature. Many of our scientists have joint appointments at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory. The University of Chicago has a management role in both labs, as well as Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. ...


The UofC has no "School of Education" and makes no effort to churn out folks with administratives licenses whose intent is largely to use far fetched theories in schools to re-make society.
In point of fact, the approach of the University in even its most direct efforts to improve urban education are based on among the most classical efforts at understanding productive approaches to learning -- The Role of the Committee on Education The Committee enables scholars throughout the University to explore these implications, deepening the work in each domain, uncovering new questions, and intensifying interdisciplinary scholarship in education.

... In the charter schools UEI [Urban Education Institute} controls, the University puts to test its best ideas about how children learn, about how school and classroom organization can support learning, about the incentives and management practices that best support effective practice...


Finally I would point anyone to the excellent resources that the University of Chicago devotes to increasing the proficiency of teachers of mathematics. Unique among all other programs Everyday Math recognizes a major failing of past effort: Part of the Back-to-Basics movement of the 1970s was actually an emphasis on 'teacher-proof' materials. Thus, when UCSMP was founded in 1983, the project's Elementary Teacher Development Component was breaking new ground. One key finding from work carried out in the 1980s by Paul Sally and Sheila Sconiers at UCSMP was that staff development needed to focus on building teacher's understanding of mathematics. Other work at the University of Chicago showed that while teachers used a variety of teaching formats in areas such as language arts and social studies, including student projects and small-group work, in mathematics instruction by those same teachers was dominated by individuals filling in answers on page after page of arithmetic problems (Stodolsky, 1988). The Research Behind the Curriculum| University of Chicago

Anonymous said...

In the medical community you halt an experiment if it is harming the subjects. The same should apply to education. I urge admin to halt the Investigations and Agile Minds pilots TODAY - allow those students to return to Everyday Math and Glencoe. Continue the pilot with Math in Focus vs Everyday Math and Big Ideas vs Glencoe.

Each child gets one chance in each grade (hopefully). Elementary school is short. Students cannot waste valuable time on bad pilot materials that will never be chosen. Admin waited too long to fix math compacting. MAP scores show that those children have been seriously harmed. Don't do it again. Stop half the pilot. And while you are at it, bring back flexible groupings. It is not too late to save this academic school year.

Please start exercising some common sense

Anonymous said...

Yes! Halt part of the pilot.

AgileMind and Investigations are inferior math programs that should never have been chosen.

If they are concerned more about our children's educations than experimentation, it should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Are they going to offer free tutoring to the kids that are stuck in the Investigations and AgileMind pilots?