Whether you have kids or work with kids, you are probably noticing the anticipation-for-summer-vacation energy, which is normal and understandable.
But before we get too far down the path of putting this year behind us, I’d like to share a reflection on some exciting and important work that has been happening in all 22 of our schools this year around math.
Last year, we approved a substantial investment in new math curriculum to align our instruction to our new state standards. The rollout began last August with many teachers attending professional development workshops and conferences to help process all the new material and offer tools to help their teaching practice. And the rollout continued every day, every week and every month of school. Teachers were learning the new material right alongside their students, which can be challenging – and feel a little odd, especially to a veteran teacher who has been teaching the same material for years. We offered more support to teachers on our “Staff Learning Fridays” (no school Fridays) throughout the year, as well.
Any time we update our standards and materials, we face a range of emotions from staff, students and families from anticipation and excitement to some anxiety of the unknown. I believe our staff and students have handled these challenges with intentionality and grace– and I know that the new math curriculum has been positive for our system. We’ve received many encouraging comments and emails from staff throughout the year. Here are a couple to share:
I just wanted to share that I received an abundance of positive feedback from parents during conferences about the Bridges math curriculum. All the families that mentioned it had only positive things to say; they are happy with how well it’s organized and that it seems to provide multiple ways to look at numbers and solve problems. – fifth grade teacher
The children asked if they could play the butterfly race game today during work time! This speaks highly of this program because work time is when they can choose anything (within reason) in the room to do. They are asking to do more math! It’s pretty neat. – kindergarten teacher
I believe we are moving in the right direction as a district for math… It will take some time for this better curriculum to settle in, but with the K-12 math adoption throughout the entire district is good. The curriculum is a lot better than what we had. – high school math teacher
I want to thank all our incredible teachers and staff who have a hand in this big shift – from elementary to secondary teachers who attended many days of professional development to our administrators, TOSAs, secretaries and everyone else who helped support our students and staff during this transitional year.
And check out this video about math at Bellingham Public Schools.