As always, SOUND OFF!

__COMMENTS OF THE DAY:__*Anonymous said...*

*Bloggers: Have you seen copies of the letters sent from the Middle School Principals to the parents of advanced math students? According to the letter I received from Principal Sonntag, there are many students struggling and they are proposing to offer assessment and tutoring to these students. Remember, this is the class that lived through the failed Learning For All plan as it was initially rolled out when these students were in 3rd grade. Every student was accelerated a full grade, ability tiers were eliminated and Everyday Math materials were pushed to the side in favor of DOL created curriculum. Of course, none of these facts are outlined in the letter. Instead, Mr. Sonntag blames only Common Core and the new materials. These things are not the cause of the students problems, they are just making a bad situation worse. We have to remember that MR. Sonntag was one of the key members of the Advanced Learning Task Force that was responsible for continuing and expanding this disaster of a plan. A plan that has failed so many students and teachers from Grades 3-8. Come on Mr. Sonntag, let's tell parents the truth about what has really happened to their students so that they can get them the help that they need in time for high school. Hiding the facts hurts students. HMS parents did you receive a similar letter from Mr. Pena?*

*CHMS Parent said...*

*Bloggers: Here is a copy of the letter CHMS 6th grade advanced students received. I have deleted the teachers' names because I don't think they need to be identified on this blog. I agree that this letter raises many concerns, in particular, it is ridiculous that D181, such a high achieving district, is blaming Common Core for the problems this group of students is experiencing. The lunacy of that suggestion proves once and for all that the administrators running the department of learning are delusional and need to be fired en masse. Everyone with half a brain knows that the problems this GUINEA PIG cohort of students is having in math is a direct result of the Advanced Learning/Learning for All Plan, and yet those "plans" are not even mentioned in the letter. I wonder if the full BOE or Learning Committee were made aware of these issues before the letter was sent out. I would bet any amount of money that they were not. What a shame if this blog has now become their source of information. It should make them all realize that the administration cannot be trusted.*

"Dear CHMS Parents of Students enrolled in 6th Grade Advanced Math (7th Grade Common Core),

The CHMS Administration and Math Department would like to address some of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the 6th Grade Advanced (7th Grade Common Core) math class and our plan to support students whose performance fell below expectations in these classes moving forward. Thank you to parents who have asked questions or shared concerns through our PTO meetings and our Math Coffeetalk a couple of weeks ago.

I want to start by saying that XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX are doing an exceptional job teaching our students. I can’t say enough about how proactive, flexible and positive each of them has been meeting students where they are at and helping them move forward. We are very fortunate to have them teaching math at CHMS.

"Dear CHMS Parents of Students enrolled in 6th Grade Advanced Math (7th Grade Common Core),

The CHMS Administration and Math Department would like to address some of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the 6th Grade Advanced (7th Grade Common Core) math class and our plan to support students whose performance fell below expectations in these classes moving forward. Thank you to parents who have asked questions or shared concerns through our PTO meetings and our Math Coffeetalk a couple of weeks ago.

I want to start by saying that XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX are doing an exceptional job teaching our students. I can’t say enough about how proactive, flexible and positive each of them has been meeting students where they are at and helping them move forward. We are very fortunate to have them teaching math at CHMS.

*I think it is important to note the following grades were achieved during 1st quarter in 6th Grade Advanced Math: 37% earned A’s, 43% earned B’s, 19% earned C’s, 1% earned D’s. I am providing this information simply to provide context and information for this discussion as I have heard misinformation being reported. The vast majority of our students are proving successful (80% achieved an A or B during 1st quarter), and for these students, we need to maintain the pacing and rigor of the course. Remember, successful completion of this math course and the 7th Grade Advanced Math class will result in students taking high school Algebra as an 8th grade student at CHMS.*

Some additional background information is important as well. As we continue to transition to the Common Core Math Standards, we are moving away from only memorizing how to compute math problems. The Common Core Math Standards support traditional algorithms and why and how the algorithms work. Last spring, District 181 adopted Big Ideas as a math resource that includes a component that teachers can use to explore concepts and teach the conceptual understanding behind the concept. These activities (or explorations) are provided by Big Ideas for each math lesson. Each activity begins with an essential question and students are given time to work with a partner. From there, the students may lead a mathematical discussion with the class. The activities promote curiosity, communication, perseverance, and learning. At times, these explorations may be frustrating to students that have been taught math through lecture for many years. Students are not expected to understand a concept based upon the activity alone. The activity is just one part of the multi-pronged lesson. Teachers spend approximately 3 – 5 days to work through one math lesson, depending on the concept and how quickly the students are understanding it. The additional time for each lesson allows teachers to teach mathematical proficiency, including conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and application.

Students are assessed throughout a chapter using formative assessments. Formative assessments are learning checks to tell our teachers if the students are learning what they are supposed to be learning. Some examples of these are mini-quizzes, exit slips, online homework, and accuracy checks. Our goal is to assess students for this mathematical proficiency during their learning. In addition, our chapter tests look different than they did in past years because deeper, essential questions from some activities and conceptual understanding questions are being included, often in short answer form. In a nutshell, students are being asked to do more than memorize and do the math. They are being asked to explain what they did and why they did it to show a deeper understanding.

At CHMS, we administered a short assessment assessing the prerequisite skills that would help students be successful with the new skills they are learning in chapter 3. Each student will come home (today) with a printed report showing their performance on this assessment. If your child does not come home with this today, please email me and we can send you a PDF of the report. For students who struggled with one or more standard on this test, we have put together a short list of resources that students can access from home to help them master these skills. The list of resources is attached to this email and contains links to IXL Lessons and Khan Academy videos. Students are not required to do this work over Thanksgiving Break, but we wanted to get the information to you prior to break in case this is a time that your child can devote to some review.

Some additional background information is important as well. As we continue to transition to the Common Core Math Standards, we are moving away from only memorizing how to compute math problems. The Common Core Math Standards support traditional algorithms and why and how the algorithms work. Last spring, District 181 adopted Big Ideas as a math resource that includes a component that teachers can use to explore concepts and teach the conceptual understanding behind the concept. These activities (or explorations) are provided by Big Ideas for each math lesson. Each activity begins with an essential question and students are given time to work with a partner. From there, the students may lead a mathematical discussion with the class. The activities promote curiosity, communication, perseverance, and learning. At times, these explorations may be frustrating to students that have been taught math through lecture for many years. Students are not expected to understand a concept based upon the activity alone. The activity is just one part of the multi-pronged lesson. Teachers spend approximately 3 – 5 days to work through one math lesson, depending on the concept and how quickly the students are understanding it. The additional time for each lesson allows teachers to teach mathematical proficiency, including conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and application.

Students are assessed throughout a chapter using formative assessments. Formative assessments are learning checks to tell our teachers if the students are learning what they are supposed to be learning. Some examples of these are mini-quizzes, exit slips, online homework, and accuracy checks. Our goal is to assess students for this mathematical proficiency during their learning. In addition, our chapter tests look different than they did in past years because deeper, essential questions from some activities and conceptual understanding questions are being included, often in short answer form. In a nutshell, students are being asked to do more than memorize and do the math. They are being asked to explain what they did and why they did it to show a deeper understanding.

At CHMS, we administered a short assessment assessing the prerequisite skills that would help students be successful with the new skills they are learning in chapter 3. Each student will come home (today) with a printed report showing their performance on this assessment. If your child does not come home with this today, please email me and we can send you a PDF of the report. For students who struggled with one or more standard on this test, we have put together a short list of resources that students can access from home to help them master these skills. The list of resources is attached to this email and contains links to IXL Lessons and Khan Academy videos. Students are not required to do this work over Thanksgiving Break, but we wanted to get the information to you prior to break in case this is a time that your child can devote to some review.

*After Thanksgiving Break, students in the 6th grade advanced math classes at both CHMS and HMS will administer a more comprehensive assessment of all of the sixth grade standards. We will use the results of this assessment to help guide our future instruction. For standards in which most of the class struggled, we will use class time to review and make sure that students have the skills they need to be successful. For skills that were challenging for only a handful of students, we will look at other options for filling these gaps. One option will be a self-guided set of resources, like the one we are providing for Chapter 3. We will also explore options such as after school support and/or a math lab class in place of encore classes. Finally, for some students who show significant gaps in their math knowledge, we may recommend that 6th grade standard math is a more appropriate placement after attempting to fill in these gaps.*

Thank you for all of the support you have already provided your children, and for your patience and support as we work through how to best meet our students’ needs. We are excited about the plans we are putting in place, and we look forward to watching your children continue to learn and grow in math this year.

Please utilize the resources at the link below if your child needs them.

Sincerely,

Griffin L. Sonntag, Principal

6th Grade Chapter 3 Prerequisite Skills Assessment Resources.docx

Thank you for all of the support you have already provided your children, and for your patience and support as we work through how to best meet our students’ needs. We are excited about the plans we are putting in place, and we look forward to watching your children continue to learn and grow in math this year.

Please utilize the resources at the link below if your child needs them.

Sincerely,

Griffin L. Sonntag, Principal

6th Grade Chapter 3 Prerequisite Skills Assessment Resources.docx

*HMS 6th grade parent said...*

*Bloggers: Here is the HMS version. I too have redacted the teacher's name. I wasn't planning to send this to you, but since it is so radically different than the CHMS version, I thought the community should see it. I ask, why would the HMS version be so much shorter? Can you update the Comment of the Day to include this?*

November 20, 2015

Dear HMS Parents of Students Enrolled in 6th Grade Advanced Math (7th Grade Common Core),

The HMS Administration and Math Department would like to address some of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the 6th Grade Advanced (7th Grade Common Core) math class and our plan to support students whose performance fell below expectations in these classes moving forward. Thank you to parents who have asked questions or shared concerns with either teachers or administrators.

I want to start by saying that XXXXXX is doing an exceptional job teaching our students. I can’t say enough about how proactive, flexible and positive she has been meeting students where they are at and helping them move forward. We are very fortunate to have her teaching math at HMS.

I think it is important to note the following grades were achieved during 1st quarter in 6th Grade Advanced Math: 31.5% earned A’s, 44.4% earned B’s, 21.3% earned C’s, and 2.8% earned D or below. I am providing this information simply to provide context and information for this discussion. The majority of our students are proving successful (75.9% achieved an A or B during 1st quarter), and for these students, we need to maintain the pacing and rigor of the course. Remember, successful completion of this math course and the 7th Grade Advanced Math class will result in students taking high school Algebra as an 8th grade student at HMS.

Students are assessed throughout a chapter using formative assessments. Formative assessments are learning checks to tell our teachers if the students are learning what they are supposed to be learning. Some examples of these are mini-quizzes, exit slips, homework, and accuracy checks. Our goal is to assess students for this mathematical proficiency during their learning. Students are being asked to do more than memorize and do the math. They are being asked to explain what they did and why they did it to show a deeper understanding.

After Thanksgiving Break, students in the 6th grade advanced math classes at both CHMS and HMS will administer an assessment of all of the sixth grade standards. We will use the results of this assessment to help guide our future instruction. For standards in which most of the class struggled, we will use class time to review and make sure that students have the skills they need to be successful. For skills that were challenging for only a handful of students, we will look at other options for filling these gaps. One option will be a self-guided set of resources, such as IXL lessons and Khan Academy videos. We will also explore options such as after school support and/or a math lab class. Finally, for some students who show significant gaps in their math knowledge, we may recommend that 6th grade standard math is a more appropriate placement after attempting to fill in these gaps.

Thank you for all of the support you have already provided your children, and for your patience and support as we work through how to best meet our students’ needs. We are excited about the plans we are putting in place, and we look forward to watching your children continue to learn and grow in math this year.

Sincerely,

Ruben Pena, Principal

November 20, 2015

Dear HMS Parents of Students Enrolled in 6th Grade Advanced Math (7th Grade Common Core),

The HMS Administration and Math Department would like to address some of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the 6th Grade Advanced (7th Grade Common Core) math class and our plan to support students whose performance fell below expectations in these classes moving forward. Thank you to parents who have asked questions or shared concerns with either teachers or administrators.

I want to start by saying that XXXXXX is doing an exceptional job teaching our students. I can’t say enough about how proactive, flexible and positive she has been meeting students where they are at and helping them move forward. We are very fortunate to have her teaching math at HMS.

I think it is important to note the following grades were achieved during 1st quarter in 6th Grade Advanced Math: 31.5% earned A’s, 44.4% earned B’s, 21.3% earned C’s, and 2.8% earned D or below. I am providing this information simply to provide context and information for this discussion. The majority of our students are proving successful (75.9% achieved an A or B during 1st quarter), and for these students, we need to maintain the pacing and rigor of the course. Remember, successful completion of this math course and the 7th Grade Advanced Math class will result in students taking high school Algebra as an 8th grade student at HMS.

Students are assessed throughout a chapter using formative assessments. Formative assessments are learning checks to tell our teachers if the students are learning what they are supposed to be learning. Some examples of these are mini-quizzes, exit slips, homework, and accuracy checks. Our goal is to assess students for this mathematical proficiency during their learning. Students are being asked to do more than memorize and do the math. They are being asked to explain what they did and why they did it to show a deeper understanding.

After Thanksgiving Break, students in the 6th grade advanced math classes at both CHMS and HMS will administer an assessment of all of the sixth grade standards. We will use the results of this assessment to help guide our future instruction. For standards in which most of the class struggled, we will use class time to review and make sure that students have the skills they need to be successful. For skills that were challenging for only a handful of students, we will look at other options for filling these gaps. One option will be a self-guided set of resources, such as IXL lessons and Khan Academy videos. We will also explore options such as after school support and/or a math lab class. Finally, for some students who show significant gaps in their math knowledge, we may recommend that 6th grade standard math is a more appropriate placement after attempting to fill in these gaps.

Thank you for all of the support you have already provided your children, and for your patience and support as we work through how to best meet our students’ needs. We are excited about the plans we are putting in place, and we look forward to watching your children continue to learn and grow in math this year.

Sincerely,

Ruben Pena, Principal

## 24 comments:

Everyone knows there is grade inflation at the middle schools so unless the administration can honestly say that the A's and B's are not grades that were pumped up with homework and extra credit opportunities, it is doubtful that the A's and B's are true 90-100 or 80-90%.

So because the administration has messed up so many of these guinea pig students, now one of their options will be to give up encore classes so they can be remediated? Or "after school support" --aka tutoring??? How wrong is that? And haven't a bunch of these students already been given additional D181 paid for tutoring when they were in elementary schools. No doubt the administration needs to offer support for these students, but unless there is a permanent change in the idiots running the department of learning, this will simply be the latest sad chapter in the "Downfall of D181," a book I hope someone in the community is writing. It is time to shine a big bright spotlight on this mess!

Bloggers: Here is the HMS version. I too have redacted the teacher's name. I wasn't planning to send this to you, but since it is so radically different than the CHMS version, I thought the community should see it. I ask, why would the HMS version be so much shorter? Can you update the Comment of the Day to include this?

November 20, 2015

Dear HMS Parents of Students Enrolled in 6th Grade Advanced Math (7th Grade Common Core),

The HMS Administration and Math Department would like to address some of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the 6th Grade Advanced (7th Grade Common Core) math class and our plan to support students whose performance fell below expectations in these classes moving forward. Thank you to parents who have asked questions or shared concerns with either teachers or administrators.

I want to start by saying that XXXXXX is doing an exceptional job teaching our students. I can’t say enough about how proactive, flexible and positive she has been meeting students where they are at and helping them move forward. We are very fortunate to have her teaching math at HMS.

I think it is important to note the following grades were achieved during 1st quarter in 6th Grade Advanced Math: 31.5% earned A’s, 44.4% earned B’s, 21.3% earned C’s, and 2.8% earned D or below. I am providing this information simply to provide context and information for this discussion. The majority of our students are proving successful (75.9% achieved an A or B during 1st quarter), and for these students, we need to maintain the pacing and rigor of the course. Remember, successful completion of this math course and the 7th Grade Advanced Math class will result in students taking high school Algebra as an 8th grade student at HMS.

Students are assessed throughout a chapter using formative assessments. Formative assessments are learning checks to tell our teachers if the students are learning what they are supposed to be learning. Some examples of these are mini-quizzes, exit slips, homework, and accuracy checks. Our goal is to assess students for this mathematical proficiency during their learning. Students are being asked to do more than memorize and do the math. They are being asked to explain what they did and why they did it to show a deeper understanding.

After Thanksgiving Break, students in the 6th grade advanced math classes at both CHMS and HMS will administer an assessment of all of the sixth grade standards. We will use the results of this assessment to help guide our future instruction. For standards in which most of the class struggled, we will use class time to review and make sure that students have the skills they need to be successful. For skills that were challenging for only a handful of students, we will look at other options for filling these gaps. One option will be a self-guided set of resources, such as IXL lessons and Khan Academy videos. We will also explore options such as after school support and/or a math lab class. Finally, for some students who show significant gaps in their math knowledge, we may recommend that 6th grade standard math is a more appropriate placement after attempting to fill in these gaps.

Thank you for all of the support you have already provided your children, and for your patience and support as we work through how to best meet our students’ needs. We are excited about the plans we are putting in place, and we look forward to watching your children continue to learn and grow in math this year.

Sincerely,

Ruben Pena, Principal

As a district parent, here are my conclusions:

1. The timing of the middle school letter is quite obvious. Principals were directed to send these out during a holiday week when many families are out of town and not focusing on school issues. This is how our devious administration works, folks.

2. The Department of Learning is a joke. The Assistant Superintendent of Learning (Pupil Services) and staff should be terminated sooner rather than later. Their contracts are up next year. The BOE must demand accountability or they should be shown the door.

3. Superintendent Don White should also go because he is allowing the failed programming to continue under his watch.

4. I and other parents have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars in private tutoring, but our 6th graders and other kids are just not showing the growth they should or could be. Tutoring is not the answer and will not solve the huge problem.

5. BOE - get your head out of the referendum fog and open your eyes as to what is happening INSIDE our schools. A new pretty HMS will not solve our problems and it is now a distraction for the administration to do nothing. This should bother each one of you.

Who is paying for the tutoring? Taxpayers, that's who. And, since first quarter in math often contains a lot of review, I wonder what the grades are for 2nd quarter? Worse I bet. If the problem was just Common Core and new materials, wouldn't all of the grades 1-7 be having the same issues and wouldn't we be trying to remediate all of them? Obviously this is a 6th grade only problem. For now.

Reposted to this post at request of 12:15 pm.:

Anonymous said...

The focus on "showing a deeper understanding" is good. Students who understand it will be better off. Teachers who understand it will also be better off. The top students were already developing an understanding of this as they moved through the grades, so this is really not additive for them, although they may be understanding it a bit sooner.

The key among all of this distraction is buried in point 4 of 1:19s comment above, "If an increasing percentage of students are prepared of Algebra II and Geometry, and are successful in those classes, then you are doing well. If the percentages are declining or the students are struggling, then you are not doing as well."

What we need to know from the administration is whether d181 is on track to improve the percentage of students in each grade who are prepared to succeed in Algebra II and Geometry, when they are delivered to d86, or are those number going to deteriorate? If they can demonstrate that those percentages are improving and demonstrate that the students are in fact on track to get there, then, in my opinion, they are succeeding, regardless of current test scores.

If they are failing to launch students successfully into advanced mathematics in increasing numbers when they complete d181, then they are failing.

Why can't we seem to get a straight answer to this question?

"At the current trajectory, how is all of this impacting the percent of students who will be prepared to succeed in Algebra II and geometry when they begin 9th grade?"

November 24, 2015 at 9:56 AM

1:44: Your Point 1 is spot on. Do the administrators really think we are all fooled by their deviousness? It never ceases to amaze me how they continue to show their lack of transparency. They know full well that most parents will ignore emails they receive as they are leaving town, but haven't they learned by now that the parent blog will continue to expose their bad behavior! Thank you again to the bloggers!

I also agree with your other points, but they have already been shouted from the rooftops for three years and these administrators have still not been held accountable. So I am not hopeful that any changes are forthcoming. By my count, only three board members - Garg, Gray and Burns -- care enough to call for accountability. One more vote is needed. Will Clarin, Vorobiev or Giltner PLEASE join the board minority to save our children's D181 educational experiences????

Ruben Pena didn't include all of the BS in his letter because he didn't need to. Unlike Griffin Sonntag, Mr. Pena was not a member of the Advanced Learning Task Force and, thus, doesn't need to detract from or defend the fact that he was part of the problem for the students who he is now trying to save. No one listened to the parents or teachers who pointed out the obvious: There was no way that this was going to work as well for the vast majority of students as the system that had been in place prior to the ALP. What a disaster for these students and their families.

I would just like to reference the comments made by 9:24 on Nov 24. Middle shool grades are not inflated. A student's math homework counts for 10% of a student's grade and they will receive 100% on their homework as long as it is completed and turned in. 90% of a student's grade comes from tests and assessments. Extra credit is not some magic wand. A student could do all extra credit and if they were on the cusp of a grade - for example 2% points takes you from a B to a B+ - a student may be able to boost their grade into a B+ by doing the extra work. C students do not become B students through extra credit. We can safely assume that these are true grades and have not been inflated.

Sorry, 8:18. You are mistaken regarding the grade inflation that has been going on for years at our middle schools. Kids and parents get a dose of reality when they get to Central and realize what true grades really are and what they represent. Middle school teachers, especially now with all the ridiculous changes that have taken place during the past few years, are faced with more challenges than ever in their classrooms. I have had teachers confide to me (and I am a former teacher from another district) that they are feeling the pressure and have little to no support from the administration. They raise grades, in many cases, to save face and to avoid conflict. Let's face it, teachers have been basically silent while they have been asked to do more with this full inclusion stuff that was popular in the 1970s. Grade inflation exists, it's real, and we shouldn't try to diminish it just because it's hard to accept.

I received Sonntag's letter. After I read it (and re-read it), I couldn't figure out why it took an adult, with an advanced degree no less, seven full paragraphs to get to the point he was trying to make. And even then, I was left with more questions than answers. For instance, when is this test (I refuse to call it an "assessment") that will "guide" future instruction and what materials will be covered? Back in the dark ages, schools would routinely tell students (I refuse to call them "learners")this type of thing so they could (what used to be called) "study."

Instead, we got a one page (double sided, in fairness)"printed report" showing our respective student's performance on a test. To be clear, we didn't get a copy of the completed test; nor did we get an example of the problems on the test. We just got the "printed report" which consisted of jargon laden labels for types of problems and a notation as to whether the student got them correct or not. Now, if the district was really interested in helping these kids, wouldn't it be useful to send home a copy of the test so the parents could see where the breakdown occurred and what types of errors the student was making? Heck, we could use this type of information for - Oh, I dunno - studying. Instead, as it stands today, I have no reason to believe the teachers in the classroom have done this type of analysis.

As with most communications that come from D181, the truth is obfuscated with mountains of minutiae. The administration is incapable of being direct because the unmitigated, spin-free truth is the curriculum is in shambles, the teaches have no idea what to do with this nonsense, and the administrators are unqualified to do their jobs. But this would make for a much shorter letter...

This district is so bad I can honestly say that if Illinois utilized a school voucher program, I would use it in a heartbeat to get out of the so-called "high achieving" D181.

Although a ton of attention is paid to our math problems, the writing curriculum is even worse. First quarter is over and so far I have seen exactly one graded writing assignment come home. Stunningly, there was no mark or comment anywhere on the paper. Instead, attached to the assignment was another one page "printed report." This time the report stated whether the student sufficiently organized his paragraphs or used correct grammar. There is no earthly way anyone can learn to write better by referencing a "printed report." The only way to improve writing is through substantive comments about the specific piece. And then, the writer must re-write the piece after considering the substantive comments. This is because we learn best by reflecting upon our mistakes. Mistakes are the best teachers. But if nobody points them out, the learning opportunity is lost.

If you tell this to a district administrator, however, they look at you as though you have three heads. But hey, they have a Ph.D. in education from a bottom tier school, so what do I know?

Just to clarify "they have a Ph.D. In education." I don't think they have a Ph.D in anything, only an Ed.D. Much easier to obtain, in my experience. No comparison to a real Ph.D.

I am writing in response to the current state of math and the math resource in D 181. I have three children in D 181. Two children that are accelerated 1 and 2 years in math and one child just entering the school system. I am disappointed and disgusted with how the roll out of this program has happened. First, there are no best practices and no clear thought processes as to how a roll out and implementation should be done in year 1. Currently, my two older children who are in math just one year apart are graded vastly different AND exceptions are made for one but not the other with respect to how math tests, math homework and grading practices occur. When comparing my daughter's tests to a parent in a similar grade but different school, I find that the teachers at various schools grade differently too and hold to different exceptions and standards.

I'm confused. I thought we moved to this program for consistency, better in depth understanding of math and to lift the floor to meet the ceiling or some sort of nonsense. Instead we are punishing our high ability learners and our advanced learners by marking off if their visual representation of their math is not correct. I didn't realize my 5th grader needed to be an artist. Im considering getting a math tutor but what would be the focus? My daughter is getting every problem correct but her methods and her visual representation of her math is poor. According to the school she doesn't have deeper understanding, so what if she can get the answer right? Oh I'm sorry--I didn't realize that if the answer is right but the diagram is wrong she is wrong. Isn't this considered a teaching point in year 1 of roll out? Or is it just that we want to punish kids who were taught under the old system? Or just punish our advanced learners and their families? And what about the fact that we still use the MAP for placement? And what of the fact that kids in grade 5 math were not taught this NEW way of doing math with visuals rather than algorithms. SHouldn't there be concession? And if there isn't concession then is the focus really the method and not the answer now? Or is it both? Because if it is both then it is a teaching moment but kids shouldn't made to feel small for not being an artist.

I apologize for my candor and my disgust. But the truth is-I"m so tired of the emphasis here NOT BEING ON LEARNING. Instead, I get weekly emails about fundraising or the new HMS or donating to some cause but when I ask for accountability with school and academics and a justification for why there is STILL INCONSISTENCY and INADEQUACY among our buildings I am met with-this is a learning year. Well my kid isn't an experiment and I just pay too much money in taxes to live in a school district that considers my child a guinea pig. If I hear one more word about a new middle school I'll scream. Clean up the math mess. Clean it up.

The new math program should've been rolled up, starting with Kindergarten, taking 5 years to completely implement. You can't flip a switch and ask 5th graders (or even 2nd, 3rd, 4th) who have been taught with Everyday Math to all of the sudden do Singapore Math. THAT was not best practice.

My child's 3rd grade math test came back recently. Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe my feelings or hers over it. I think that as as district we are once again foolishly rushing head first into something without thought and proper placement and time. First we have the debacle of the new criteria for advancement and acceleration in mathematics. No one at the district office can really even appreciate the magnitude of 2 SD above a district mean. Second, we have the disappointing performance of 6th grade currently advanced in 7th grade math overall because of sloppy foundational skills due to Learning for All. Third, we have this new Math In Focus resource that is viewed as the second coming and yet nothing nothing changes about math. Nothing changes. Math is still math. We didn't adopt math in focus as a resource because our higher students were failing. We didn't adopt this resource because it was the BE ALL AND END ALL of math. Even math teachers who have piloted the program are now floundering as en masse a district we have rolled this out and the standards among each school are different. At my school, if you don't use a ruler and protractor to draw your visuals you are marked off. And yet, nowhere in Math In Focus teacher manuals does it say kids should be drawing models to scale. Are we artists? I guess so. Art teachers--start using perspective in KG! These kids need better visuals pronto.

I dont even know where to begin anymore. We are totally disappointed as parents living here. Academically everything is average. Certainly not worth the tax dollars or the hefty mortgage. We are putting our home for sale in spring. Time to move to another district that might not be greener but a lot lot cheaper.

I have seen enough to be 100% convinced that Dr. White, and Dr. Schneider need to go. Their handling of the math situation makes that clear. Both continue to back this new and failing process, at the expense of our kids. Dr. White seems well spoken, but has been unable to see through the smoke and mirrors.

There can only be one priority here and that is to do what is necessary to help the students. That means terminating both of them and maybe others associated with this mess.

How much longer do we have to watch the administration tap dance, double talk, make excuses, and tell the community that the falling test scores are not the fault of their "Lower the Floor and Lower the Ceiling" program. The time for talking is over. They need to go.

When will Ms.Vorobiev or Mr. Giltner decide that they have been responsible for inflicting enough damage on the students of this district?

When will they decide to put the students first?

When will they demand accountability?

When will Mr. Turek demand the accountability that he promised to require from the beginning?

When will this fiasco end?

Did anyone go to or listen to the Learning Committee meeting that was held yesterday?

Also did anyone hear finance committee meeting?

I just finished listening to the podcast of The Learning Committee. Lots of interesting tidbits in that meeting. Here's what I gleaned

-Conceptual vs procedural math: These buzz words, used over and over again, are here to stay. Kids will have to draw diagrams, bar model and learn to be visual learners regardless of whether they can do the algebra, algorithm or what have you. Know the answer? great. Show me the model. That's the word.

-Kids who are accelerated or double accelerated are held to a higher shtick. But all students district wide are having highs and lows in their math days. Whether you are ability grouped in the high high group or the high low group or the low low group you have days where you struggle and days where you soar. The struggle is the learning of new processes and new ways to do the math. For most students anyway.

-While I think the 2 SD criteria is going to go away next year, I think it is quite near impossible for kids to jump grade levels in math unless they are not only way beyond the material procedurally but also conceptually able to do math the MIF way. Next year, I anticipate continued strong numbers of students accelerated even if the criteria lowers. In essence, you need to learn the MIF way of doing math. Period. This is doubly frustrating when you think of how this program was rolled out-as a shock system rather than a gradual release in KG and building up.

-Even the kids at pilot schools are pacing similar to the district wide pacing guide. And supposedly they are the experts.

-Winter MAP is here but who knows for how long? It is the hope that it will disappear.

-Just because your kid is having a harder time bar modeling doesn't mean they are not capable of doing the math. Struggle isn't dirty and taking a few extra days to do something won't hold you up. You can always make it up later in one of the non essential chapters. Because apparently there are non essential and essential chapters in each grade level. All teachers will do the Common Core aligned chapters however but not necessarily the Singapore ones. Huh. That's interesting.

-Wait a few days, weeks or a month. The wind will change direction. Just wait.

Hey, what ever happened with the crackpot who was supposed to revamp our technology? I remember we paid him a bunch of money last year and he gave a couple of speeches where he either insulted parents or couldn't justify his existence. Now, crickets. Anything ever come out of this expenditure?

11:23: Nothing except a $50,000 (at least) bill.

It's been swept under the rug and no accountability for waste of time and money. THey made a grand production of the sessions with teachers and community members. Anyone who wanted more info on why we need more technology and is not on the 1:1 band wagon is labeled a naysayer or behind the times. These people need to wake up and open their minds to how technology is becoming an addiction and will eventually rob our children of their critical thinking skills by making them dependent on technology. Our kids are not behind. They know how to use plenty of devices and conduct searches on the internet, use iMovie, iphoto, etc. etc. That's what summer camps are for, learning coding, more applications etc. Add a technology class instead of making every class period about technology.

How about updating the elective classes at HMS and CHMS. The choices now are very outdated!

Or at least teach them how to keyboard as an elective! No brainer!

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