Schools of Hope Needs More Math Tutors

Sandy Cullen:

Expanding on its efforts to increase the reading skills of elementary school students, the Schools of Hope project led by the United Way of Dane County also is focusing on helping middle school students develop the math skills needed to be successful in high school, college, employment and daily life.
Since the Madison School Board adopted the goal that all students would complete algebra by the end of ninth grade and geometry by the end of 10th grade, the option of taking less rigorous classes, such as general or consumer math, has disappeared.
All high school students are now required to take algebra and geometry – or two credits of integrated mathematics, combining algebra, statistics and probability, geometry and trigonometry – in order to graduate.
“These are really gate-keeping courses and skills,” said Mary Ramberg, the district’s director of teaching and learning. She added that without them, students “will have a lot of options closed.”

Rafael Gomez is organizing a Forum on Math Curriculum Wednesday evening, February 22, 2006 at McDaniels Auditorium. Look for more information soon.

5 thoughts on “Schools of Hope Needs More Math Tutors”

  1. FYI — Hamilton MS is having a Math Night on Wednesday, February 8, at 7:00 in the Hamilton LMC. The program includes a discussion of the Hamilton math curriculum (which, presumably, is not too different from the math curriculum at the other MMSD middle schools — or won’t be after the middle school redesign occurs) and the sequence of math course offerings at West HS (led by MMSD TAG coordinator for middle and high schools, Ted Widerski).
    The program is explicitly intended for anyone who will have a student at Hamilton next year, but I can’t imagine parents of current and future middle school students from other parts of the District would not be welcome — again, especially given the goals of the middle school redesign effort.
    A public discussion of the MMSD middle and high school math curriculum is a rare event, in my experience, so I encourage everyone to attend.

  2. My understanding is that the Math Night will not be so much a discussion as it will be a presentation of what math looks like at Hamilton. I’m assuming that this will be similar to presentations that were given a few years ago on an annual basis at Hamilton. Unfortunately current eight grade parents will not be able to participate as the West High orientation for 8th graders is scheduled for the same night and the same time. Mr Schmelz (the principal at Hamilton) saw no reason to change the date of the meeting as it is intended for parents of students attending Hamilton next year.
    I encourage current 6th and 7th grade parents to attend and try and generate a true discussion of our middle school math curriculum, a discussion that the District Administration has avoided ever since Connected Math (CMP) was implemented.

  3. Parents of fifth graders, too! And yes, get a substantive conversation going. One thing you can ask about (even email Mr. Schmelz beforehand) is for the number (percentage) of eighth graders taking algebra over the past, say, five years, and if that has changed since the full implementation of CMP. Ask also about the performance (in algebra, on 8th grade standardized tests, etc.)of eighth graders over the past several years, again, with an eye towards any changes since the implementation of CMP. Finally, ask about the percentage of students choosing to take Core Plus math at West. (Core Plus is a high school level integrated math curriculum — i.e., the high school version of CMP.)
    Jane, any others?

  4. I just came back from a Math meeting organized by the bilingual teachers at Leopold School for the parents and students who are English Language Learners (which is why I missed the school board meeting). We had an incredible turnout. There were perhaps thirty children and twenty-five parents in attendance. We discussed various techniques to assist parents of young children to increase their fact fluency, number sense, and homework help. The parents had a lively discussion on how math is taught in the district and how they play a vital role in the education of their children. Our hope is that through parent and school collaboration we can work towards closing the minority achievement gap. I often hear about a lack of participation of parents of color in our district. Tonight, like many other after-school meetings, proved that with the hard work of teachers, parents, and the children themselves, we can work together for the common goal of educating all children.

  5. Our own elementary school is having a 1st grade Math Night next Tuesday (Feb 7th). IN some ways the most interesting part of that statement is that it is a FIRST grade math night. Last year, we had a Kindergarten math night. We have never (at least in recent memory) had any for any other grades. Odd, isn’t it? We have a fourth and a fifth grader at the same school, and their classes have never had something like this, in spite of having had many of the same teachers. There is something to be said for having galvanizing parents in your child’s grade, with the subject and organizational know-how to set up events like these. I just wish it weren’t so apparently challenging that other levels fail to take it on.

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