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The following Guest Column appeared in the December 22, 2005
issue of the Wayland Town Crier.

School Committee: Evaluating Math Program
By Wayland School Committee/ Guest Columnists
Thursday, December 22, 2005

As part of the Wayland Public School's ongoing curricular review, the school administration conducted an audit of the elementary math curriculum funded through a grant from the Wayland Public Schools Foundation.

A Math Evaluation Committee, consisting of teachers, administrators and parents, worked with two outside math consultants. The committee's mission was to evaluate the mathematics program for K to 5 to determine its strengths and weaknesses, and to make recommendations for changes and/or next steps in developing the program.

Below are the key commendations and recommendations, as well as the planned next steps.
  • Commendations:
    • Wayland has a well-informed professional and paraprofessional staff.
    • Students are interested and involved in doing math.
    • Most parents are very interested and involved in their children's mathematics education.
  • Recommendations:
    • Reevaluate the use of the TERC (formerly known as the Technology Education Research Center) program.
    • Develop other means of assessment.
    • Focus on differentiation of instruction.
    • Begin a new round of in-service professional development training.
    • Develop a district-wide set of criteria for placing students into appropriate mathematics levels as they move from fifth-grade into the middle school.
    • Determine grade level expectations and mastery levels of math facts and algorithms.
  • Next Steps:
    • Appoint an administrator and form a new mathematics committee to look at the findings of this evaluation.
    • Use the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and other appropriate frameworks to help determine concepts and skills and also determine placement of these at appropriate grade levels.
Cyndy Dunham, principal of Claypit Hill, who has extensive expertise in math curriculum and professional development, is going to oversee our response to the recommendations contained in the Math Program Evaluation. Prior to coming to Claypit, she was the elementary curriculum director for math in the Framingham Public Schools.

As part of the follow-up to the Math Program Evaluation, Dunham has already organized the K to 5 teachers into grade level teams for the purpose of identifying the most essential math knowledge and skills for our students to master in each grade. The teachers will integrate their work on essential learning with the skills and knowledge identified in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, in addition to the Report of the National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics. Teachers will also be creating common assessments for students in each grade.

Once the grade level content has been identified, the Follow-up Committee will research what instructional materials best support the local goals as well as the state and national frameworks for math.

Please visit "www.waylandschoolcommittee.org" to review the full report. Also, mark your calendars for the committee's budget work sessions scheduled for Jan. 9, 12 and 17.

The members of the Wayland School Committee are Jeff Dieffenbach (chairman), Robert Gordon (vice-chairman), Barbara Fletcher, Louis Jurist and Heather Pineault.
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