Striving for excellence in mathematics
Math education has gained a lot of attention in the Windham Central Supervisory Union. Over the past year and a half, the WCSU Math Committee, comprised of teachers from each of the member schools (Dover, Jamaica, Marlboro, NewBrook, Townshend, Wardsboro, and Windham Elementary Schools and Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School) have collaborated to establish "non-negotiables," the content and skills all students must learn at each grade level. The mission of the WCSU Math Committee is:
"Every child in the supervisory union achieves the numeracy skills (number concept, number sense, and procedural fluency with understanding in four whole number operations) by the fourth grade and then use the numeracy skills and spatial sense to be capable of learning meaningful mathematics appropriate to their grade level and beyond as advocated by Common Core State Standards in Mathematics."
In order to accomplish its mission, the WCSU Math Committee created Grade Level Documents for all teachers of mathematics that guide teaching and learning, and include the aforementioned non-negotiables, Common Core State Standards including the Mathematical Practice Standards, levels of knowing, and models of instruction. Common assessments and resources specific to grade level and subject will also be included in the near future. Teacher feedback throughout the supervisory union has been very positive as the documents are a succinct resource that guide their work.
From the beginning, Dr. Mahesh Sharma has played an instrumental role as a consultant for integrating the Common Core Mathematics Standards and demonstrating instructional methods for deep conceptual understanding. Not only does Dr. Sharma provide consultation for the committee, he has taught several workshops and courses at both the elementary and secondary levels to WCSU teachers. Recognizing the value of Dr. Sharma's methods, teachers from across southern and central Vermont have attended his two graduate courses offered at Leland & Gray.
Parents and students have experienced big changes in math class. At the elementary level, educators inform parents about the increased expectations required in the Common Core as well as the new math strategies. At the middle/high school, educators inform parents about the math interventionist and math support courses designed to address learning gaps by strengthening students' foundation in numeracy and spatial sense. All students are expected to perform at or above grade-level, and are supported in school to achieve the new learning. Given student supports, teacher professional development and the work of the WCSU Math Committee, we expect that all current WCSU third graders will attend high school-level Algebra I in eighth grade.
If you would like to learn more, please contact either Laura Hazard (802-874-4822), co-chair and Principal of Jamaica Village School; or Chris Barton (802-365-7355), co-chair and Leland and Gray math teacher.
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