January 2, 2007

Everyday Mathematics reviewed
The district is in its second year of the Everyday Mathematics Program at the elementary level, and teachers are seeing many strengths of the new curriculum.

Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., updated the School Board on the program’s implementation that was extended this year to sixth grade.

Elementary teachers were asked their perceptions about Everyday Mathematics at teacher meetings earlier this year. Bauman reported that they identified the following as strengths of the program:

  • Students are able to verbalize their mathematical thinking.
  • Students notice more mathematics in the world around them and can apply mathematics concepts.
  • Students have more than one way to solve a problem which deepens their understanding of mathematical processes.
  • The spiraling curriculum acknowledges that not all students grasp concepts at the same rate.
  • Concepts are integrated into lessons rather than being isolated.
  • Teacher comfort level with the program has increased after one year.
  • A dramatic improvement in student learning from last year to this year has occurred.

Areas to be addressed include a need for more extension and enrichment for high-ability students and constructed-response activities. The elementary resource teacher for gifted and talented programming will assist teachers with extension and enrichment activities. Grade level teams will share ideas and resources for including constructed responses in which students explain their mathematical thinking in writing.

In their first year with the program, sixth grade middle school teachers reported that implementation was going smoothly. All sixth grade teachers attended a summer training workshop before teaching the curriculum. Fifth and sixth grade teachers will meet later this year to discuss the transition from elementary to middle school mathematics.

Because the Everyday Mathematics curriculum is designed only for elementary grades, seventh and eighth grade mathematics teachers reviewed other programs – both standards-based like Everyday Mathematics and those with a traditional approach. They decided to continue using the school’s traditional curriculum and supplement it with materials that provide more application and real-world problems.

School Board Member Gerald Schmitz asked Bauman if the district made the right decision two years ago in choosing Everyday Mathematics.

Bauman said teachers have been impressed with the program because it gives students a deep understanding of mathematics.

“Teachers would report definitely that it was a good decision,” Bauman said.

School Board Member Lynn Kristensen has observed elementary classes and said she is encouraged with the program. She said parents may have to provide more drill work with their children to help them memorize math facts, but the program will be effective in getting students to high level mathematics.

Bauman said the district will continue to monitor student mathematics achievement by analyzing results from common assessments, MAP testing and the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam.

“We will be looking at all of these and are confident we will see math achievement rise,” she said.

Summer school program set
Plans for the 2007 Summer Opportunities Program were approved as recommended by summer school director Richard Ladd. Enrichment courses for students in 4K through eighth grade will begin June 25 and end July 20. Middle school promotional courses are June 25-Aug. 3. The high school PASS Program will operate two sessions: June 18-29 and July 9-July 20.

Each class will have an $8 fee. Parents will contract with Dairyland Bus Company for transportation.

School Board Member Michael Hyland asked if $8 would be enough to cover program costs. Ladd explained that personnel and operational expenses are covered through the state aid that the district receives. The course fee covers only consumable materials used during summer school.

Incumbents running unopposed
The deadline for School Board candidacy passed at 5 p.m. on Jan. 2 with only incumbents Gabe Kolesari and Gerald Schmitz filing papers to run. Kolesari holds the Village of Sussex seat and Schmitz is in an at-large position.

Students and staff recognized
Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan presented various students and a staff member for recognition.

Hamilton students Kelsey McCaigue, Jennifer Posh and Kayla Vogel were honored because they were nominated for the Kohl Scholarship.

Members of the high school’s one-act play were recognized for their achievement at state competition. Certificates of achievement were presented to high school drama advisor Erin Brigham and students Sarah Buck, Kathryn Doyle, Kyle Florence, Joshua Greiveldinger, Michael Guzman, Gabrielle Mears and Jaclyn Michl.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board appointed Richard Adams as the temporary high school custodian and night shift foreman.