District re-calculates math curriculum

BY SYDNEY WIDELL —

After an extended process of evaluation and investigation, the math department has selected the new material that it will implement into its revised curriculum, which will take effect beginning next school year.

At the high school, students should expect to see the discontinuation of the Integrated Math curriculum, in lieu of the traditional progression of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus and Calculus. This change will be implemented over the course of the next five years, beginning next year with the transformation of Math I into algebra I. Materials supplied by Pearson will replace the preexisting Core+ textbooks.

“The new book has got some really cool stuff in it,” said Brett Aiello, math department chair.

Its features include an online text accompanied by a virtual tutor for students. In addition, teachers will have access to a wide selection of templates for pre-written assignments and tests.

“Being able to access all of the online forms will give us more time to spend actually engaging with students instead of making worksheets or making tests,” Aiello said. “Now we can put our time into stuff that really benefits the kids.”

The new program will veer away from the discovery based approach students in Math I-IV are familiar with, in favor of a class structured more similar to AP Calculus.

“I’m excited to teach something different,” Aiello said.

Aiello has had experience teaching both integrated and traditional math during his career at Shorewood. By transitioning to the new curriculum, he predicts that it will be much easier for students to transfer into the district and be placed in an appropriate math class.

“Before, you had a student coming into the district who had taken up to Algebra II … The concepts they had learned are not necessarily going to fit into any specific point of our curriculum, because our curriculum cycles back to these concepts each year,” Aiello said. “That made it difficult for us.”

By the time they graduate, a Shorewood student learning math under the old curriculum will know just as much as a student learning math more traditionally, the only difference is the order that the material is taught.

1b math
(Olivia Loomis) Troy Thibedeau, math teacher, helps Tommy Chamberlain, senior, in AP Calculus. Thibedeau is creating a BC Calculus class, which will be one alternation to the current math curriculum.

While the high school material will no longer be taught with an emphasis on discovery, teachers will still be able to turn to their old course work as additional resources.

“The things that worked well with the discovery approach are going to stay,” Aiello said.

At the intermediate school, the Connected Mathematics III textbooks will be switched for the Big Ideas curriculum.

At the February 9 school board meeting, Lara Perry, eighth grade math teacher, explained the rationale behind their decision.

“Many of the things we like about it, in terms of it being best for students and family, is just all the resources that support it,” Perry said.

The elementary schools are choosing to update their verions of Everyday Math, which, according to Amy Miller, 5th and 6th grade math teacher at Lake Bluff,  complements their vision of expeditionary learning.

“With that as our lens, we were able to move forward and determine what our other priorities were,” Miller said.

Curriculum was reevaluated because the district needed to replace many of its math text books.

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