NEWTON — With the current school year drawing to a close, Jasper County Board of Education voted Monday on new math curriculum for next year.
Ste. Marie Elementary School Principal and curriculum committee member Kathy Johnson presented the board with a recommendation for new textbooks for kindergarten through eighth grade math. The new program, from Math in Focus, would enable the district to implement a program that is more in line with state Common Core standards. The program would require teachers to embrace a more independent learning style for students, depending on reasoning rather than memorizing theories or equations.
”This is a big undertaking, but it’s worthwhile,” Johnson said. “We are investing in what we truly think will have an impact on our students.”
The board voted unanimously to accept the change in curriculum. Representatives will come to schools in the summer to train teachers on the program and will then return in the fall when teachers may have additional questions after having taught the program for a few months. Johnson said communicating with teachers on why the change is important will be pivotal.
”The change might be frustrating, but we need to communicate this change and the reasoning behind it,” she said.
Superintendent Dan Cox said he agreed the professional development for teachers will be important to the success of the new curriculum.
”The professional development will be a big piece,” he said. “What we’ve done, we’ve done for a long time and we’re good at it it. The natural response is to dip back to what’s been done, but we need to do this.”
The new curriculum is estimated to cost the district more than $170,000 and will be paid over two years.
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or firstname.lastname@example.org.