APPLETON – After a two-year process, the Appleton Area School District will revamp its math curriculum to make it more consistent from kindergarten to 12th grade.
“This allows us to have a consistent resource and standard to provide opportunities to minimize our instructional gap,” said Thai Xiong, director of STEM and health and human performance for grades seven through 12.
The Appleton school board approved the changes with an unanimous vote Monday evening.
The math review that led to the changes was carried out by a work group with teachers, administrators, interventionists and representatives from special education, English learners and the talented and gifted program.
Here’s what you need to know about the review process and the changes to come, according to information Xiong shared with the school board.
Every teacher surveyed said the current math materials aren’t working
During the review, the district surveyed teachers in every grade level. Among elementary school teachers, 85% said they would support the adoption of consistent materials.
But 100% of the teachers surveyed said the math materials currently being used aren’t working and they’d like to explore other options.
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The changes are supposed to create a more cohesive math experience for students from grade to grade
Currently, Appleton uses two different sets of standards. Elementary schools use standards that come from the state, but middle and high schools use national standards.
There’s only a slight difference between the two, Xiong explained, but using one set of standards could better support students as they move from grade to grade.
“Having a consistent progression set of standards and resources 5K through eighth would allow our students to be better prepared when they get to high school,” Xiong said.
What changes will Appleton make to math?
The district will use state math standards for all grades.
Your instructional materials will be streamlined to just two publishers: one for kindergarten through eighth grade and another for high school.
The goal was to use the same publisher for all grades, but the committee felt the other publisher was a better option for high school and complemented elementary and middle school materials well.
The exception to this will be Kaleidoscope Academy, which will use a different material more aligned with its approach as a project-based charter school.
ELA changes need to be implemented first, so some schools won’t see math changes for a few years
Middle and high schools will implement the new math curriculum for the 2023-24 school year, but most elementary schools will not.
Next school year, elementary schools will field-test a new English language arts curriculum. The outcome of that will determine when they implement math changes. Administration emphasized literacy as the foundation of all learning, which is why ELA improvements are being prioritized.
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“It doesn’t take long to realize that if you can’t read the problem, it doesn’t matter how well you are doing at your math skills, it’s very difficult to solve those particular problems,” said Steve Harrison, assistant superintendent of assessment, curriculum and instructions.
However, some charter and magnet schools in the district were elected to implement the new math materials in elementary grades starting this fall.
How much will the changes cost?
The new materials for kindergarten through 12th grade will cost $771,337, according to a public document included with the agenda for Monday’s meeting. Those dollars will come from the 2022-23 budget for the assessment, curriculum and instruction department.
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Reach AnnMarie Hilton at [email protected] or 920-370-8045. Follow her on Twitter at @hilton_annmarie.