Friday, May 26, 2006
CSC hears presentation on Carlisle School math program
Math Coordinator Liz Perry presented an overview of the math program used at the Carlisle School on May 17 at the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) meeting.
The children use Everyday Mathematics, a comprehensive kindergarten through sixth-grade curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. The curriculum has been used for over 15 years in Carlisle and is adapted to meet the state curriculum frameworks. According to Perry, classes spend an average of 50 to 75 minutes on math each day.
Math practice outside class
Perry spoke about programs for enrichment and intervention. Students in fifth through eighth grade can participate in the competitive Intermediate Math League of Eastern Massachusetts, along with 50 other schools. Perry said, "We placed second this year in our division." There is also an "a.m." and "p.m." math club that meets before and after school that gives students extra time to learn concepts and gain competency. Younger students can take the early bus to join the "a.m." math club. Older students can stay to attend the "p.m." math club and take the late bus home. Perry visits math classes throughout the week; she meets with teachers and figures out what is needed.
Community involved in math
There has also been an outreach to the community. There is a well-attended Family Games Night. Also, everyone is invited to the last Math League Meet. "It's a wonderful way to end the season," says Perry. Parents and students work together on problems and have pizza. This year there has been three "round-table" discussions on the math curriculum where parents discussed their concerns. Superintendent Marie Doyle asked, "Is the program working? Is there something better out there or not?" She said the school would collect data and would consider piloting a new program and assessing it. Perry said, "No matter what we pick, it must be supplemented one way or another."
In addition, this year teachers have been creating benchmarks, to precisely document what concepts are taught throughout the year at each grade level. For this effort, teachers start with the Massachusetts Frameworks and define what they do to meet those Frameworks. Perry says the benchmarks are in the final stages of editing and should be completed this summer.
Incentive program for teachers
The school has an incentive program to encourage teachers to get more comfortable with math and increase their interest in it. Teachers can be awarded $500 by completing four steps, which include reading a 100-page math resource book and writing a summary; doing 20 math problems from different levels and discussing them with others; reading four student math-related books and developing two lessons for classrooms; and attending either a relevant conference or a Carlisle College course on math taught by a colleague. Eighteen teachers attended the National Council of Teachers of Math Conference this year. Seven teachers have completed the incentive program to date.
More information, including examples of math problems and links to Chicago Math, can be attained through the links on the school's web page, www.carlisle.mec.edu.
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