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Oak Hill approves new math resources

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

Valree Kinch, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for Oak Hill United School Corporation, presented recommendations for new math resources for basic mathematics through algebra to the school board Monday night.

Kinch explained that a group made up of teachers from each grade level has been working all year to develop course mapping, since they no longer write curriculum, and came up with new resource recommendations.

She said they looked at math instruction from the past as well as student performance in regards to standardized testing and decided they needed to try a new strategy to align different levels of math classes.

To start off, Kinch reviewed the team’s key elements desired in their mapping and resources, including rigor, alignment between grades, an improved number sense foundation, more support for process standards and to build stamina for mathematics.

Kinch said rigor inside of the classroom needed to match the rigor presented by standardized tests like ISTEP or ILEARN. She added that teachers wanted to ensure transitions between grades was smooth, leaving no gaps between the progression of one concept to another.

The team recommended using Ready Math for kindergarten through sixth grade and Envision Math from Pearson for seventh through eighth grade, which includes an accelerated seventh grade math program for high ability math students who are currently taking a special class for math.

Other advantages of these programs, Kinch said, is that both Ready Math and Envision have professional development aspects, and the programs have realistic application. 

“I think the teachers would say they’re extremely confident, the administrators were very confident and myself, that the right decision right at this moment is for K-6 to look at Ready Math and 7-8 to look at Envision and I hope to bring back a high school recommendation soon,” Kinch said.

Though she said it will take around three years to build a foundation and allow students to transition into these new resources, Kinch said she thinks they will start seeing positive results in standard test scores as well as ACT and SAT scores.

The board voted to approve the new math resources.

In other news, Superintendent Joel Martin caught everyone up on where the schools were at with fixing wind damage. He said a repairs for the baseball field have been settled with insurance, though they might still owe some money out of Oak Hill’s pocket.

As for the wind damage to the upper gym roof, Martin said it has been temporarily fixed and they are still trying to work out getting the pool pack unit fixed.

Martin also told the board that the new public announcement system replacement cost has now increased to $11,900 due to a large amount of cable needing to be replaced, though he said the question about the cable had been asked prior to the project. 

Additionally, Martin has been working to clarify and clean up the language among the schools’ head lice guidelines due to a request from board president Dana Biggs. He said the guidelines will be updated to create a stronger understanding in the elementary student handbooks.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 22 at 6:30 p.m., where Martin said there will be a presentation on minor changes to the secondary student handbook, which would be voted on at a later meeting.