Assistant Superintendent Report

RE Teaching and Learning Update:


Interim Math Adoption:

As we reach the latter part of the school year I thought it might be helpful to revisit the implementation of our most recent adoption of Engage NY Math. Thus far the implementation has gone very well and we are seeing students achieve math goals set by teachers. Parents have been receptive and we’ve had smooth transition overall. It will be hard to evaluate its impact on student performance until we can review student achievement data across our system. Since we’ve changed both the curriculum and the learning standards this year we’ll need at least a couple years of student achievement data to analyze the curriculum’s performance.

I am pleased to share our adopted materials rated very high in a recent report that evaluated several math curricula. In the report they refer to a top rated math program, Eureka Math. This program is in fact the same as Engage NY, since we access the materials from Engage NY we have thus called it that. If we were to purchase the materials pre-printed it would come from Eureka Math.  These two names are synonymous for the same resource. Below is an excerpt from an article and a link to an infographic that summarizes the findings.

“Eureka Math far surpassed all other curricula evaluated. It was found to be aligned for all grades, K-8, and passed through all three gateways. On usability, Eureka’s offerings for grades K-5 meet the criteria, while its materials for grades 6-8 only partially meet the criteria.

Eureka Math differs from other texts in that, rather than being an update to existing material, it was designed specifically for the common core.” Ed Week


ELA Material Review:

At this time we are now evaluating English Language Arts Curricula. Steven Carney and Malinda Huddleston have worked with a variety of publishers to support a review of at least 4-5 resources. To ensure we carefully vet the choices we have included a team of staff from each school (WPS, WIS, and WMS) to help us review resources and compare their quality to the standards we expect students to learn. Our first two meetings were very beneficial as we have thoroughly analyzed the common core learning standards and compared them to the first potential curriculum.  I look forward seeing which resource our team selects. I expect to propose a pilot late this school year or at the start of next year.


Smarter Balanced Assessment:

While the roll out of the new Smarter Balanced Assessment has been a bit bumpy across the region I expect a smooth testing season this spring. As usual Steve Rippl and his department have been on top of things and we are well prepared with technology. Most difficulties we have experienced are minor and related to online operations that I mostly manage at the district level. Each school has had staff and students participate in practice assessments to familiarize all with the new online testing environment.  I am doubt that the new online format will have major impact on student performance. With practice the kids are largely feeling confident with the online assessment format. I do predict we’ll see a dip in student performance this year, but I attribute it to the shift in standards. In fact I expect we’ll see a national trend in which student performance dips. Increased rigor, and changes to the standards across all grades will take more than a year’s time for students to achieve. I am confident that over the next couple years we’ll see scores rise much as they did when we first started assessing Washington standards with the WASL back in 1997.