Hailey Parent Math Meeting Minutes

Again, I’m sure I missed information and made errors.  Please correct me through comments below or via email: blaineparents@gmail.com


Hailey Parent Math Meeting

minutes by Ellen Mandeville

Called to order by Patty McLean at 1:15  

  1. Common Core Standards (CCS)
    1. Different standards state to state
    2. Governors worked together to create Common Core Standards
      1. All but 2 states have adopted CCS
      2. Applies to two subjects:
        1. Math
        2. English Language Arts
    3. Idaho enlightened; realized need to be proactive
      1. Math Initiative
      2. Mathematical Expectations
      3. Developing Mathematical Thinking
  2. When approached Board Mathematics needs, determined that district needs:
    1. Balanced mathematical program
    2. Will always keep Standard Algorithms
  3. Introductions:
    1. Marsha Graybo – High school teacher: physics, math
    2. Brad Hensen – Principal, Woodside Elementary
    3. Peter Jurovich – High School Principal
    4. Heather Crocker – Director of Communications
    5. Ron Martinez – Carey School
    6. Carla Scanlon – Congnitive coach, former teacher at Hailey Elementary
    7. Tom Bailey – Principal, Hailey Elementary School
  4. Brad Hensen “Principal Brad”
    1. Insight into math adoption process
    2. Job was to figure out what math curriculum we would be adopting
    3. Math Task Force
      1. Look at nation as a whole
      2. Assessed research currently happening
      3. Attended conference in New Orleans
      4. Patty McLean gave them books and research papers to read
      5. Open dialog amongst Task Force
        1. Problems in past curriculum
        2. What solutions are needed in future
      6. Solicited input from teachers
      7. Established what we needed as a district
      8. Wanted elementary curriculum to support HS curriculum
        1. Brought Elementary ideas to HS teachers
        2. Does this support HS math?
      9. Invited representatives from curriculums to present to Math Task Force
    4. Three curriculums selected
      1. Any one of three would meet our needs
      2. 32 people served on this committee
    5. Curriculum piloted in schools
    6. Public invited to see curriculum
      1. Available for public view for three (3) days
    7. Gathered together as a team to evaluate input and select text
    8. Teachers appreciated the time and effort put into curriculum selection
  5. Peter Jurovich:
    1. Currently a parent of students in Blaine County Schools
    2. Math scores in HS are flat lining
    3. Two full time teachers teaching remedial math
    4. Not as many students in top level math classes
    5. What are the problems and how do we fix it?
    6. Integrated Math previously used
    7. New material is more thorough
    8. More in the middle between Integrated Math and new math adoption
    9. Currently: growing pains
    10. It will pay off in better mathematic skills for our children
  6. Carla Scanlon: What preparation did teachers have?
    1. By 2014 new standards: new math test for teachers and students
    2. Poll of teachers during training of last week
      1. More than 1/3 of teachers stated:
        1. Material is not new
        2. Now we have tools to use for current teaching methods
    3. Prior to school starting
      1. ½ day training for teachers
      2. Some technology troubles
        1. ½ teachers are asking for more peer (not sure if “peer” is the word Ms. Scanlon used) training
        2. ½ are asking for more tech training
    4. Some teachers will become trainer of trainers
    5. Three days at the end of the month, more trainers are coming to train our teachers: “Train the Trainers”
      1. Teachers will receive college credit
      2. More professional development for teachers, especially as teachers ask for it
    6. Patty McLean: Professional development also happens in the classrooms while teaching students
  7. Parent: Has BCSD developed mentor from another District?
    1. Patty McLean
      1. People who teach TERC Investigations train our teachers
      2. Some parents at morning meeting asked where is Investigations successful?
      3. Here are reports on pre-Investigations compared to post- Investigations
    2. Parent: who validated the research?
    3. Patty McLean: not sure, published by Pearson [, the publishers of Investigations]
      1. Usually there is a drop in success rates during implementation
      2. My teachers [at the school where I was formerly Principal] requested Investigations
  8. Parent: respects the process and professional development
    1. Parents need materials at home
    2. We’re spending a lot of time at home on homework
  9. Patty McLean:
    1. Would parents be interested in Parent Math Education Classes?
    2. Large show of hands
  10. Parent,: appreciates the process involved
    1. Seems the nature of the problems are different and deeper
    2. Volume of problems has decreased
    3. What kind of training are teachers receiving as to what is a manageable amount of work to children to perform at home?
    4. HES: too much homework?
    5. Ron Martinez:
      1. only assigning a few problems a night, gets to see how kids develop mathematics problem solving
      2. Algorithms are fine
      3. Students need to show a different way to get answer
      4. Accuracy is still important
    6. Parent comment: Bellevue does not have huge amount of homework
  11. Kathy Baker, parent: Do you feel Investigations completely meets all of the CCS? If not, what supplements will be provided to the schools? Students will still need to meet traditional standards. How will students be prepared to meet traditional standard algorithms?
    1. Ron Martinez:
      1. timed tests
      2. problem: kids who don’t understand: after school programs
      3. there’s Fluency and there’s Process
      4. Fluency must be accomplished by end of 6th grade
    2. Patty McLean: Investigations has
    3. Ron Martinez:
      1. I’m going to trust the publisher and fly on blind faith, I believe the program will work, but I don’t know it for sure.  So, I’m going to fly on blind faith and be confident that it will work.
    4. Marsha Graybo: adopted Thinking Math pedagogy last year
      1. In past: no retention between Spring and Fall
      2. This year, struggling students are retaining information
      3. Fewer things for kids to learn
      4. Fewer things deeper; anchored better
      5. Kids become actively, emotionally engaged with the mathematical discovery process
  12. Parent: What is the requirement for teachers?
    1. A: Required: teachers must be recertified every 5 years
  13. Parent: second grader seems to be better with Investigations, fourth grader: absolutely not! Math work for fourth grader not challenging him.  What’s wrong with memorizing multiplication tables?  Are we replacing or are we adding to what we had previously
    1. Marsha Graybo: two tables in our heads: addition table & multiplication table.  When students learn multiplication tables, addition ability slowed down. Some students are never able to memorize tables, they are forever stunted in mathematics
    2. Ron Martinez: teaching to reach every student.  Investigations: students will try all the different methods and come back to use the method they are most comfortable with
  14. John Baker, parent: seems to me that Investigation methods should be supplementary to standard mathematics
    1. Ron Martinez: many kids taught this way can perform, but not understand.
    2. PattyMcLean: will be video -taping teachers in district showing how they teach the math
  15. Parent: math is simple, this new method is NOT simple and it is frustrating.  Why make the simple tools frustrating?  Don’t want to draw boxes all night with my kids.
    1. Brad Hensen: students work hard all day long, they shouldn’t have to go home and do another job of it.  Tons of homework doesn’t do anybody any good.
    2. Community School former teacher and parent: Community School had Investigations previously; incredibly rich vocabulary without standard algorithms
  16. Parent: encouraged by information she’s receiving from presenters
    1. Wants to see statistical mathematical results from this system
    2. Has a friend uses Investigations in their schools in NM
    3. Their proficiency level in math is declining
    4. Marsha Graybo: difficult to compare different states
  17. Parent: Why are students still drawing pictures in Fourth and Fifth grade?
    1. Marsha Graybo:
      1. Come on Monday to hear Jonathon Brandefur
        1. [Monday, October 17th, Ketchum: 12-1pm Community Library, Hailey: 6:30-8pm, Middle School Multi-purpose Room]
      2. Every day: part of day is hands on pictorial and part of day is abstract
      3. Rather than start with algorithm: need to start with what the kids know
      4. For example, in honors geometry class: kids are really engaged
  18. Parent: Many parents here in this room are stating their kids are disengaging with math.  I’m not hearing you address their concerns.  Excited about Investigations program initially, seemed to address how different people think.  But now hearing that parents are not able to help students with the parents’ traditional tools.  Why is traditional mathematics being sidelined?  Students need to know Math Facts.  I want my child to know foundations; social development of young first graders student might not be able to discuss the ideas behind mathematics
    1. Patty McLean:
      1. If students can discuss some, they can also learn to identify where they get stuck
      2. Will get input from teachers
      3. Want to match the homework with the students
  19. Parent: I have many children in different schools, personally getting broad spectrum of experience from my kids and other parents
    1. What she is hearing from parents: “my kids were great at math, now they are failing”
    2. The kids “got it” with Houghton Mifflin, why are we changing to where so many parents are saying “my child is failing?”
    3. Why is my 3rd grade child doing the same work that she did in 1st grade?  At the beginning of 3rd grade, she tested at being ready to begin 5th grade math.  Why is she doing what she did two years ago???
    4. Patty McLean: Gap Analysis
      1. Quite a bit of discrepancy between one school to another
      2. Highlighted concerns for teachers
    5. Same Parent: why do we do 6 weeks of review?
    6. Marsha Graybo: on individual concerns, speak to Carla Scanlon
    7. Another parent: what are some resources we can use to help our children with their homework?
  20. Parent: how can we access what is being taught in the classroom?
    1. Heather Crocker: reiterates that Parent Math Classes will be offered soon
    2. Parent: I need help tonight!
    3. Heather Crocker: speak with Carla Scanlon [here in the room], she can help you help your child
  21. Meeting adjourned 2:20


Many stayed to continue discussing issues. I left to meet my kids when they got out of class.


Filed under Education, News

3 responses to “Hailey Parent Math Meeting Minutes

  1. Concerned Parent

    The statement from a Math Task Force Member that sums up the meeting:

    We just have to trust the publisher. I’m going to fly on blind faith that it will work, but I don’t know for sure.

    You know what else we’ve flown with on blind faith: whole language learning, open classrooms, and trusting bankers when they said we were qualified to borrow money. Where did that get us????

  2. HES Parent

    I think there are many questions that were raised in the meeting that warrant answering by the District:

    1. Where has the TERC curriculum proven itself to be successful?
    – TERC math has been around since 1990, according to the TERC website. One would expect empirical evidence about its success/failure to be available. (Why isn’t that on their website?)
    – I want the District or the Curriculum Selection Team to give us several examples of locations where TEST RESULTS indicate kids are doing better using TERC. (of course these need to be standardized tests, not tests based on the curriculum itself; but I believe that is what we have with ISAT reports, and so I suspect that is the norm for others.)
    – I’d prefer a location where test results already indicate approximately 88% proficient or advanced (HES 3rd Grade results in Spring 2011 were 88% proficient or advanced).

    2. Perhaps as a means of comparison, we should evaluate our previous math curriculum (which I would argue is reasonably successful, as indicated by the 88% proficient or advanced) in a similar manner as we evaluate TERC.
    – This direct comparison could be very compelling, one way or the other. Such comparison has the potential to alleviate a lot of fear of TERC.
    – Perhaps the Curriculum Selection Committee already did this, and can just provide the info.

    3. Which teacher in each grade at HES is receiving the additional 3 days of TERC training at the end of the month?
    – I think letting parents know this would be useful. I have a specific question about what I saw being taught in my child’s class. How else will I be able to help my child?

    4. How will the teachers/district ensure that REASONABLE amounts of homework are assigned? (we heard parents say that there is far too little, or far too much being assigned.)

    5. Questions were asked about supplemental materials, but no answer provided. So,

    5.a. What supplementation has been needed or worked in other schools?
    5.b. What do our teachers think is needed as supplementation? (Perhaps a quick survey is needed.)

    – Many parents took time away from work to try to
    1) understand why we have this new math curriculum; and
    2) learn how we can help our kids learn it.
    – I am a little incensed that the school district [administration] offered NO FOLLOWUP to this well attended meeting that produced so many unanswered questions. (If it did, but I missed it, please enlighten me.)

    – HES Parent… still wanting to support this math program, but sadly unable to.

    • Ellen Mandeville

      Dear HES Parent,

      Patty McLean, Director of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning promised to organize and offer Parent Math Classes to help parents learn the math methods taught by Investigations. Heather Crocker, Director of Communication referenced such classes to be offered when a parent expressed needs for help so she could help her child with homework. She also directed parents to contact Carla Scanlon, Math Coordinator, cscanlon@blaineschools.org or 578-5074, for more immediate needs families have for help.

      Other than the offer of Parent Math Classes, I don’t recall any clear promises to follow up on concerns and questions raised by the parents attending the meetings. No further communication regarding the Parent Math Meetings or the proposed Parent Math Classes has been posted on the BCSD website: blaineschools.org. No one presenting at the meetings took complete notes/minutes.

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