Math curriculum revamped at RCAPS elementary level

REED CITY — Reed City Area Public Schools district curriculum planning teams are well aware of the state and federal demands for mandated testing and standards evaluation.

While there are a lot of mandates, there is little money to support those mandates.

Nevertheless, with or without state and federal demands on the system, curriculum review teams are always looking for ways to improve instruction for RCAPS students.

It’s a continuing process, and would be part of the local system program even without the ever-changing requirements of outside overseers.

This year, the RCAPS Board of Education will consider making changes in the elementary school math curriculum - acting on the advice of curriculum committee professionals.

“Our curriculum, especially that portion of study involving what is considered a national core curriculum — math, science, language arts, and social studies — is always under review,” noted RCAPS superintendent Steven Westhoff.

“By the year 2014, every school in the nation will be assessed how well they teach to a national core standards ruler.

“Everything is going to have a national emphasis, not only a state emphasis.

“One of the things we are doing to both comply with new standards review demands and, more important, to make sure our students are getting the best education we can offer, is adopt a  new math curriculum for our elementary school.”

The new math program has been carefully and well reviewed by educational professionals in the district.

The new program is called “Math Expressions.”

“The nice thing about this new curriculum is that from the very beginning the program offers math studies geared at every level of ability — from advanced to remedial,” reported Westhoff.

“There are also ‘in-house’ assessments that go along with the curriculum materials that will allow teachers and parents to follow along and see where there may be gaps in learning that need to be addressed.

“There are a lot more learning opportunities to help bring kids into line with core standards — what they need to be learning at this stage in their educational journey.”

The superintendent pointed out that this change in elementary curriculum comes about after a period of some years during which the district’s elementary math program had not been held up against a state or federal scale.

A team of ten staff members presented the program to the Board at the most recent meeting.

“The team is really very excited at the positive potential this curriculum change holds for our students,” Westhoff said.

“At this stage, we will be adopting this new math program at the elementary level alone. We are certainly setting out with this new curriculum with an eye to making changes in both middle and high school program at some time in the future.

“Everything costs money. This change is what we can afford right  now.”

Westhoff noted that despite the fact that there were no immediate plans to change math curriculum offerings at the  middle and high  school levels, the program in place at those buildings were sufficient to address core standards demands for years to come.

“We have tools we have that allow us to review and evaluate our educational offerings in relation to state and national standards,” he pointed out.

“We are continually looking at ways to do what we do better.

“Under whatever circumstances, we work to give our students the best we can give them — especially in the areas of core subject requirements.

“As we get closer to being evaluated by national rather than state standards, we will continue to do everything we can to prepare our students to meet and exceed what is demanded of them at any and every level.”

Board of Education members will discuss t he proposed changes in curriculum at their December meeting.

The curriculum will be implemented in Reed City elementary classrooms in the fall of 2012.