December 2019 Parent Forum

The district hosted two parent forums on math December 9 to offer an overview of the math program review process. Parents also had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback related to improvement efforts.

A math committee of more than 40 educators from early childhood through high school is meeting monthly. The math department chair at Glenbrook North and a GBN math teacher are also members of the committee. Kristen Clegg, an expert on math curriculum and course design and former high school math teacher, is facilitating the committee. The committee timeline is:

 

Math Program Review timeline

The parents attending the forum reviewed an overview of the results of a parent survey conducted in fall.  Key findings from the parent surveys indicate:

·       The mathematical practice parents most highly value for their children across all grades is to  “demonstrate a confident mathematical mindset.” The second highest is “solve math problems in everyday life.”

·       Parents are seeking more opportunities for parent education around math topics.

·       The majority of parents believe their child is appropriately placed in their current math course.

·       The majority of parents report that math home practice is successful in terms of the amount of time and parent comfort with assisting children.

·       High scores in the “neutral” category may mean parents need more information about math.

Overall, parent responses highlight areas of need that align with established district goals and math review efforts. 
View the survey results


Math Proficiency Research

Administrators shared a video that illustrates some of the research around mathematical proficiency in today’s classrooms and the goals of revamped math instruction.

Click to view the video: 

                                               
Best Math Practices


Parent Feedback

The Math Committee is seeking parent feedback on some specific topics, so parents had the opportunity to provide comments on the following questions:

o   What assessment information is most useful for parents (classroom and standardized)? How can we best communicate that information?

o   How can schools help empower parents to support math learning at home?

o   What resources would be most helpful for parents in supporting students’ math learning?

 

Parents who were unable to attend the forum are invited to submit responses. Please reply here: d28communications@northbrook28.net

parent word cloud

Word clouds captured parents' responses to terms that make them think about math. The words in larger type represent more responses.

Parents asked questions throughout the 1 ½ - 2 hour sessions. The following provides a quick view of some of the information that was shared or answers that were provided to questions from parents:

 

Next Steps

Math Instructional Minutes

The administration is looking to expand math instructional minutes at the junior high. Changing the master schedule impacts every other subject as well, so changes must be studied and different scheduling scenarios will be explored. The district is also reviewing the instructional minutes and schedules of surrounding jr. high schools for comparison.

 

Course Pathways at NBJH

The committee is considering adjusting the math course pathways at the junior high to align with the other township middle schools. This may involve shifting content and creating opportunities for earlier acceleration. 

 

New Curriculum Materials

In order to select the best, most up-to-date instructional materials, the committee is using a curriculum analysis tool to review math materials in four ways: 1) the extent to which content domains are addressed at each grade level; 2) the balance between mathematical understanding and procedural skill; 3) the extent to which the materials are designed to provide students opportunities to engage in the Standards for Mathematical Practice; and 4) the effectiveness of the materials in the areas of formative assessment, equity/diversity/access, and technology.  The committee will also review what is used by other area school districts. 

Parents will have an opportunity to sample curricula being considered for adoption by the committee in the future.

Once the curriculum materials are selected, the committee will establish training dates in May through August to prepare teachers to implement the new curriculum.
 

What is being done for kids this year?

 

Highlights of new initiatives for elementary grades this year are:

Teachers are communicating with parents more regularly about math learning by sending home letters at the beginning of each math unit as well as incorporating more math home practice.

A home practice policy and differentiated home practice assignments have been implemented uniformly across grades K-5.

In addition to 60 minutes of math instruction daily, teachers use  “Number Talks,” a 10-15 minute daily math activity that helps students develop flexibility and fluency with computational strategies.

Students in grades 1 through 5 will be using a software program called DreamBox, as a supplemental instructional resource, that individualizes a child’s math learning activities.

 

Highlights for Grades 6-8

Beginning-of-the-year pre-assessments were created to help teachers identify any gaps in students’ understanding of concepts. The assessments were designed to inform instruction and were not graded.

Teachers continue to analyze assessment data to identify students who need support, which is provided during X-Block.

More opportunities for before- and after-school tutoring are available.

All junior high students will have access to ALEKS, an online math resource that reinforces math content and application. 

A new math instructional specialist is working with junior high teachers in the classroom, offering math tutoring for students during X-block, and assisting with the ongoing work of the math program review. 

 

How will the curriculum be selected?

The curriculum will be selected based on several factors including: 

•alignment  to the Illinois Learning Standards; 

•engagement with the Mathematical Practices (click here to read more:

https://www.dreambox.com/blog/explaining-ccss-standards-for-mathematical-practice); 

            •differentiation of instruction;

            •formative and summative assessments;

•home practice opportunities;

            •online accessibility and technological enhancements;

           

 

What are the District’s success indicators?

The number-one mathematical ability parents in District 28 want to see developed in their children is the ability to demonstrate a confident mathematical mindset, which means students are self-assured in their abilities to understand and learn mathematics.  We will be exploring ways to measure this trait.  We also will gauge effectiveness through multiple and varied types of assessment data.  The most important assessments will be those used weekly in the classroom, such as quizzes and tests.  We will also track students’ progress using a standardized test such as the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), as well as the state’s annual Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR).  Finally, we will also be able to track students’ progress related to mathematical content knowledge and problem-solving skills using online, supplemental programs such as DreamBox (1st - 5th grades) and ALEKS (6th- 8th grades).

 

How can I ensure my child is learning at the right pace?

If any parent has questions regarding their individual child, the first and most important place to start is with his or her teacher. Please reach out – email is the most accessible way to communicate with teachers. If you have questions that the teacher cannot answer, please contact your school principal.

 

 

Questions about the math program review?

Submit your questions to d28communications@northbrook28.net.