Happenings at the Lower Campus
Monday, October 29, 2012 8:15 AM


Conferences: Thanks for your involvement in the parent-teacher conferences. We had almost 100% attendance. It is so important that our students know that we are all working together as a team for them.

Curriculum Night: Curriculum is scheduled on November 15, 2012 from 5:30-6:30pm.  Come to the gym and hear about our school-wide vision of academic excellence. Find out what your child is learning from the specialist teachers (art, media, music and physical education). At 6:05, you will be able to meet with the grade level teachers for more specifics or to answer questions: Kindergarten in the lunch room; 1st grade in the media; 2nd grade in the gym.

Changes for Math in Grades 1 and 2: The State of Minnesota has decided to stay with the math standards that have been developed by the state as opposed to adopting the Common Core Math Standard. There are four math standards: numbers and operations; algebra; geometry and measurement; data and probability.

We have been looking at our math testing data and have found a continuing trend: our students’ number and operation skills are lower than the other three strands.

We also believe that we have not been as effective in differentiating math instruction because the format of the math lesson is not as flexible as format for the guided reading. We have been able to advance the learning for all readers through our leveled books and guided reading groups.

We want to implement something that might better meet the needs of all the students during math instruction. We have been collaborating with the Talent Development Department and the Math Department to develop our curriculum for first and second grade math. Our math goal is that all students will be able to demonstrate one year’s growth in number and operations regardless of their starting point. The students within their grade level will take a pretest before the unit begins. Students will then be placed in a classroom based on their results. If a student shows proficiency of that unit, the will be moved forward with their learning. If a student is not secure in the prerequisite skills for the unit or only partially knows the content of the unit, that student will have a chance to secure the skills before moving on. There is no limit on the number of students who will be able to “test out of the unit”. Our plan is to challenge each child so that he/she can grow in his/her understanding of numbers and operations.

The number and operations unit will begin in November and last about 6-8 weeks. After the students take the pretest, teachers will divide them according to the skill levels. Students will exchange classrooms to find their “just right” class and stay there only for the length of the unit. They will be with their homeroom teacher for the rest of the day. They will only be in that different room during math time. At the end of the unit, the students will return to their regular classroom teacher for the next math unit.

We would like to try this process with at least one more numbers and operations unit. At the beginning of the next number and operations unit, the process will begin again with the pretest and new classrooms will be assigned.

You will receive a letter from your teacher before your child is moved to a different math class. You will know who that teacher will be and how long the unit will take.

To evaluate the effectiveness of this program, we will be asking for your input as well as looking at student work.

To give input or have your questions answered you should contact the principal, Jan Parrish.