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New Math Program Proposed To Ridgefield School Board

Patricia Cooney, the Ridgefield K-5 mathematics chair, and Kimberly Beck, assistant superintendent, present a new math program and possible curriculum. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
The new math program for Ridgefield's students in elementary school could be Math In Focus if the Board of Education approves it. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

RIDGEFIELD, Conn . — An American version of the Shanghai math program has been proposed for Ridgefield students in grades 3 through 6.

A recommendation committee of teachers, parents, Board of Education members and administrators voted on several programs before unanimously approving the Math In Focus program printed by Houghton Mifflin.

The Board of Education will vote on the program in two weeks.

The program was presented by Patricia Cooney, K-5 mathematics chair. She described a program that is built to shift into the Common Core State Standards but also introduces a new way of learning and teaching math to the students.

“Common Core is not our curriculum; it’s a guide and a pathway to what is expected,” Ridgefield Assistant Superintendent Kimberly Beck said. “It’s expected for everybody.”

Part of the move to the new program will focus on teaching students not only to complete the math problem but to also understand how they arrived at the answer.

“We have to change how we educate our students and how we educate our teachers,” Cooney said. And do to that, she said, they need the new books and program that comes with them.

A significant change would be made in how sixth-graders are taught, because the state is requiring schools to transition into Common Core by the 2014-15 school year. To accomplish this, the entire curriculum of sixth-grade math will have to change.

The students would be learning what has previously been taught in eighth grade, Beck said. That was a point of concern for some Board of Education members until Beck explained that the students would all be taught the same Common Core units during the year.

The program would not be cheap, Beck said, because it would include a significant amount of professional development training to make sure teachers are able to teach the new curriculum and use the online and book tools that are provided. 

In total, the program would cost the town about $150,000 and would require some shifting of money. However, Beck said, this would not increase the total budget.

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