SVSU OKs $172K math software buy


BENNINGTON -- The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Board voted to approve last week the purchase of new mathematics resources for grades K-8, which will include textbooks, practice books, and software designed to complement and expand on the more traditional teaching methods.

The new resources will cost SVSU $172,515 over the next two years: $50,095 of that would come from Consolidated Federal Programs Grant Title funds; $102,420 from FY14 funds; and $20,000 from FY15 funds.

The recommendation was presented to the board by Assistant Superintendent Donna Leep as well as the mathematics curriculum committee, which is made up of educators representing every SVSU school. Various incarnations of the committee have met over the course of the last three years, with the goal of revising the mathematics curriculum to meet the standards set forth by the Common Core.

Current mathematics materials in the SU for grades K-8 were last purchased in 2000. A survey of SVSU mathematics teachers earlier this school year showed that there was a lack of curricular consistency in how the current resources are being utilized. Additionally, they were purchased before the creation of Common Core, meaning that they do not align with the Common Core standards.

SVSU mathematics teacher leader Pat Conway told the board that the committee had considered several options Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's "Math in Focus" and Singapore Math's "Primary Mathematics" before deciding on "GO Math!" which is also published by HMH.

Conway said that Massachusetts, which is considered number one in the country in mathematics education, uses "GO Math!" in its schools, as do many successful schools in New York. Conway touted the GO Math! curriculum, which she said was designed to work with the standard set by the Common Core.

Shaftsbury school board representative Larry Johnson was concerned that the committee might be ignoring better options in order to find a program that fit the best with the Common Core standards, which have been controversial since they were developed in 2009. "Would we have selected this program ignoring any consideration of the Common Core?" asked Johnson.

"Yes," responded Conway without hesitation, "This program is the best fit for us."

GO Math! offers "an engaging and interactive approach to covering the Common Core State Standards," according to HMH's website, "Its seamless digital path and Write-In Student Edition ensure that students can access content at appropriate levels of depth and rigor."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB


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