Hemingway Parent Math Meeting Minutes

Following are the minutes for the Parent Math Meeting held at Ernest Hemingway Elementary School on October 10, 2011.

I know that I did not catch quite everything that was said at the meeting. As well, I’m sure I’ve made some errors. Either through a comment below or via email, please correct me on my errors and omissions.  


Hemingway Parent Math Meeting Minutes

by Ellen Mandeville

Called to Order at 8:15am

Introduction and Welcome

  1. In Attendance from District and Schools:
    1. Patty McLean – Director of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
    2. Marilyn Martin – Teacher
    3. Carla Scanlon – former 4th grade teacher, Math Coordinator
    4. Heather Crocker – Communications Coordinator
    5. Ron Martinez – Carey, 5th & 6th grade teacher
    6. Don Haisley – Hemingway Elementary Principal
    7. Marsha Graybo – H.S. teacher: physics, math
    8. Brad Hensen – Woodside Elementary Principal
  2. Power Point Presentation
    1. K – 12 adoption: complete math adoption
    2. Mission Statement: long-term goal of coherent consistent and well aligned K-12
    3. Curriculum Adoption cycle
      1. 5 year cycle
      2. Thorough process
      3. School Board in June
      4. Public meetings, input
    4. Local Influences
      1. Rigorous curriculum
      2. Motivated students – interest in the work
      3. MIT math teacher, engineer as teachers
      4. Trust in teachers in their professionalism
      5. Commitment, takes time to learn new curriculum
        1. Have to think about the math before I teach the math
      6. We’re doing great why change?
        1. Test scores are slowly lowering
    5. State and National Influenced
      1. Common Core and State Standards
      2. Adopted last January
      3. Math and English language arts
      4. Board presentation last Feb/march
      5. Idaho Mahtemeatical Thinking Initioative
      6. National council of Teacher of Matthematics
      7. Reasearch on best practices
    6. Rigor, what is it?
      1. Teaching, What Matters Most, by Strong, et.al
      2. Math Task force
      3. 20 Pilot teachers
      4. 3 texts piloted
        1. envisions
        2. Everyday Math
        3. Investigations
      5. In future: going to pilot 2 texts for future curriculum changes
    7. Values and Beliefs Finalized by the Math Task Force
      1. Instructional strategies, approaches and/or pedagogoy are embedded in textbooks development and expressed in activities and materials used by both students and teachers
      2. Others
    8. Actions Prior to Piloting
      1. What are we looking for?
      2. Evaluation criteria
        1. Good balanced math program
        2. Conceptual understanding & procedural fluency
        3. Meeting State Standard
        4. Meeting core standards
      3. Text in and of itself will not get us where we want to go
    9. Criteria
      1. Will put on web
      2. Need to be looking beyond this year, beyond state standards
      3. Gap Analysis of BCSD Math Instruction and Expectations of CCSS
      4. Math concepts are going to be more rigorous
      5. Parent information
        1. Parteners in Education
        2. Mt. Express
        3. 4 Board presentation
        4. Materials on display for three (3) days for parents
    10. Only had a few copies for all of the teachers
  3. Parent questions regarding Common Core Standards
    1. 40% will be computational math
    2. 60% performance assessment
  4. Marsha Graybo speaks:
    1. 10th grade teacher
    2. Students must pass current iSAT to graduate
    3. Aware of importance of test
    4. New Common Core Assessment in line with what ID started three years ago
    5. Presenting math conceptually:
      1. Students must explain how they got their answers
      2. Teachers have known how to teach this style, but haven’t had text materials to use
      3. Want students to continue to be engaged with math rather than burn out
      4. Students who tend to struggle with math are more engaged with this “real math”
      5. New materials to support approach BCSD teachers have already been using
      6. What we are prepared to do in our school district:
      7. Extraordinary commitment of teachers and administration
      8. Teachers meeting every week to discuss how math is going
  5. Carla Scanlon speaks:
    1. She is constantly in the schools
    2. 6 years with same textbook
    3. Concerned about new program implemented into school
      1. Anxious for teachers, worried about teacher burden
      2. Survey during In Service, Oct. 6-7, 2011
      3. Most teachers on anonymous survey stated:
        1. still need support
        2. still need professional development
        3. beginning to become comfortable with new materials
      4. Website will be updated with math information and teaching tools for parents
    4. Parent comment: I’m having trouble helping kids with math
    5. Carla speaks about being a grandparent of a student
      1. Engaged w/ him and math
      2. Necessary for parents and more, e.g. grandparents, to be involved in helping child learn math facts
    6. Still doing “mad math minutes”
    7. Investigations: practical math
      1. Looking for ways to broaden students’ understanding of math
    8. Still going to teach standard algorithms
  6. Patty McLean speaks:
    1. Not parents’ job to teach child math
    2. Parents job to help children know math facts
    3. In classroom: teaching the undergirding understanding
  7. Parent interjects:
    1. Why weren’t teachers trained before school trained before school started?
    2. Only 20% teachers getting comfortable with new material???
      1. Debate with Carla over what she actually said
      2. Carla restates that most teachers are becoming comfortable with new math textbooks how it states to facilitate student math learning
    3. How many teachers took training over the summer?  How many in this [Hemingway] school?
    4. Mr. Weaver’s issue is not that new curriculum implemented, rather how it was implemented
    5. District has so far done a poor implementation of these new textbooks
  8. Another parent demands that speaker talk about the actual Investigations text books
    1. Did the Math Task Force evaluate any research performed on negative sides?
  9. Another parents interjects with comments on recent conference in Boise, parent asked about Investigations:
    1. Netherlands is the leading nation in world in math:
    2. Parents in Netherlands go to school on Saturdays to learn school mathematics program so they can help teach their children at home
  10. Q: Why did you choose this particular program?
    1. A: Richest curriculum out there
  11. Not first state to adopt
    1. Results in other districts: Patty McLean
      1. Being dropped
      2. Results awful
      3. Because:
        1. districts didn’t stick with it
        2. they are mostly urban districts with possibly poor teachers
  12. Patty McLean: every teacher I’ve talked to claims to being successful with new program
  13. Q: How soon can you get the parents get up to speed with new program?
    1. Answers:
    2. More Parent Math meetings
    3. Jonathon Brandenburg – expert from Boise State Univ. coming to speak on Monday, October 17th
  14. Q: What do we do now?
  15. Male math teacher – 35 years teacher (didn’t catch name, someone please fill me in)
    1. Taught math for all of it, but 6 years while principal
    2. Math is still math
    3. Our kids needs to be prepared to be able to articulate what happens in mathematics
    4. Can show kids how to do math 5 different ways
    5. Need to look at what kids are seeing before moving on to the next thing
    6. As a parent, you’re comfort with math isn’t the same as teachers teaching every day
    7. Get teachers phone number
    8. Encouraged parents to call their child’s teacher when not sure how to help their child with home math work
    9. He is not yet comfortable with not knowing where everything is at in the texts
    10. Loves new math texts, he is currently teaching concepts that he wouldn’t be teaching until 6 months from now with previous curriculum
  16. Parent Mathematics major speaks:
    1. Uses math at work all the time
    2. Thrilled that new curriculum teaches Thinking Math
    3. Can understand that it can be intimidating for parents
    4. Feels really lucky that our public school is willing to take this on
  17. Patty McLean:
    1. How many parents would come to Parent Math Classes to learn new math texts?
    2. Show of many hands
  18. Parent: what we get at home is the problems, we don’t have the textbooks
    1. Looking online for teacher and parent supplements
    2. Can’t find
  19. Math Teacher: program not completely supported on website yet
    1. Books will be online for each grade
  20. Q: Is there a written District Mathematics Curriculum that has been approved by the School Board of Trustees?
  21. Patty McLean: “No”
    1. Being written
    2. Don’t have the proper electronic system in place to write appropriate curriculum
  22. Q: Who will write the curriculum?
    1. Teachers who teach the math write the curriculum
    2. Scope and sequence (I didn’t type this full comment and don’t remember the rest)
  23. Parent concern: appreciate the change, believer that there are many different learning styles
    1. Problem during interim: confidence of students are being undermined
    2. She has 2 students in school:
      1. One child’s confidence is being undermined
      2. Comes home in tears regarding school mathwork
      3. Kids need to understand that what they know already is right
  24. Patty McLean:
    1. that is good input
    2. we will make a conscious effort to teach the teachers that methods already learned are valid
    3. accuracy does matter
    4. not just get to a right answer (didn’t get all of this part of her answer)
  25. Same Parent again: “Can the teachers please, please explain this to the students?”
    1. I did not know that we had a new math curriculum this year
    2. Difficulties at home
  26. Parent: Positive reinforcement for kids is needed
    1. Papers coming home with students saying that they are not doing math right
    2. Patty McLean:
      1. Agrees such comments should not be given to students
      2. Parents’ attitudes at home matter too
      3. Children will absorb parent attitude toward mathematics
  27. Patty McLean adjourned meeting at 9:17am
  28. Announced that administrators and teachers will stay to answer questions
  29. Many people stayed to talk in groups and with administrators and teachers

End of minutes


I stayed after and had several excellent conversations with a School Board Trustee, with two School Principals, a High School Teacher, and several School District Administrators. Right now, I’m off to the Hailey Parent Math Meeting. I’ll have more posts after getting the kids home from school, snack time and homework with the kids.

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