“District teachers are committed to ensuring the success and achievement of all students in District 230,” said District Curriculum Director Dr. Stacey Gonzales. "As a parent, community member and employee of District 230, I am confident that District 230 continues to deliver a high-quality curriculum for all of its students."
The district’s mission to ensure a “guaranteed and viable curriculum” has been a centerpiece of its “Successful Students, Successful Schools” initiative. When a curriculum is guaranteed, it means that all students have the opportunity to learn essential knowledge and skills regardless of the teacher or school. The curriculum is written to ensure that students have adequate time to develop deep and lasting understanding.
District 230 teachers have gathered to ensure that all students leave the district with a solid understanding and the ability to apply learning concepts in an authentic context. In recent meetings, teachers modeled use of technology by working together on the newly issued district laptops.
In addition to the curriculum work that is underway, the math department has been engaging in a shift to ensure mathematics instruction is meaningful to students. Beginning next school year, incoming freshmen will take part in integrated math.
Developed in conjunction with the National Governor’s Association, the new integrated math curriculum focuses on persevering and modeling mathematical thinking so that student can apply their mathematical understanding in new contexts outside of the classroom.
Tim Dalton, math division chair at Victor J. Andrew High School, explains that “many of us grew up learning math through a ‘traditional’ model. We started with math problems and progressed to word problems.”
With an integrated and discovery approach, students begin with a word problem and by working together come up with numerous ways to approach the problem. For example, one group may use a line graph while another may think that a list of items describing the mathematical ideas is more understandable.
District teachers are at the helm of this math curriculum shift. Teachers began working on this new curriculum last summer to ensure a smooth transition to the integrated mathematical approach next year. Teachers have spent time exploring the integrated math curriculum, lessons, and activities. They have also been working in collaboration with the district’s partner schools to ensure a smooth transition as well.
Stagg High School Teacher Lisa Andrews explains that integrated math, “will make the lessons in math class less isolated and allow students to see connections between topics. As students complete learning tasks, they will explore mathematics in real world situations and see the relevance of math in their everyday lives.”
Next school year, freshman students will take Math 1 instead of Algebra. Math 1 includes concepts of traditional Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Algebra; however, these concepts are developed over the course of three years as opposed to separately.
“We don’t want students who can just do math, but more importantly we want students to be able to understand math and apply it to the world around them to solve new and complex problems," Gonzales said. "I am proud of our teachers and the dedication they bring each day to enhance student learning experiences.”