New curriculum urged for math

By NANCY WHYTE

This fall, Avonworth middle school students will most likely be using a new curriculum for their math lessons.

During last Monday night’s work session, assistant superintendent Jeff Hadley presented the school board with detailed information about the Carnegie Learning Math Program, which he is recommending that the board approve purchasing next week. The program is designed for grades 6-8 and employs a problem-based approach to learning math. It is aligned to the recent shifts in core standards, unlike the Glencoe program currently used.

Hadley said during this school year, the math teachers in grades 6-8 selected and taught one module (unit) from two different highly-rated math programs: Illustrative Mathematics and Carnegie Learning, to get a realistic feel for the programs and to gauge how students reacted. Hadley said the teachers thought both programs were superior to the current curriculum. The teachers also stated that the examples and assignment problems of the Carnegie system were more engaging than those of Illustrative Mathematics, according to Hadley. The consensus was that the Carnegie curriculum was preferred by the teachers and better suited for Avonworth students.

Other positive aspects of the Carnegie Learning Math Program include being created by a Pittsburgh company begun in 1998, which has embedded into their curriculum from the beginning, the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The program has been designed by a small number of authors, thus resulting in a consistent voice and a designed approach to the subject. Hadley said the program mirrors the skills and methods the Avonworth teachers have previously learned through New Tech. The Carnegie Learning Math Program utilizes a blending learning approach in which the students learn together as well as learn individually.

At next week’s meeting on June 10, the school board will decide whether to authorize the $65,000 to purchase the Carnegie Learning Math Program for the middle school students.