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Posted by: Sue Chamberlin
Introducing Michelle Fitzgerald, Assistant Superintendent for Learning & Teaching
Academic Boosters Program - December 4, 2014
At the December Academic Boosters meeting Ms. Michelle Fitzgerald, the District 205 Assistant Superintendent for Learning & Teaching, gave an overview of her department and spoke at length about changes to the middle school math program and the impact at both the middle school and high school levels.
The Learning & Teaching team oversees the creation and implementation of curriculum in all content areas for K-12 and supports local (school level) and state level assessment of student learning. Curriculum coordinators in the content areas consistently work with administration, teams of teachers and committees to review and improve learning experiences for students and assessment systems.
Currently the Learning & Teaching team is reviewing new curricula for K-5 writing, 6-8 reading, and high school world language, where the district would like world language instruction to focus on immersion rather than rote memorization. Pilots are underway to test possible new curricula and gather teacher feedback. Any new curriculum adoption process takes approximately 1 ½ years from start to finish in order to do a thorough job. The district has a general schedule for phased curriculum evaluation and is also mindful of addressing any issues that may arise before a scheduled review.
Ms. Fitzgerald then presented information related to 3-12 math courses, including new Reach identification processes that had been shared the previous evening at the Board of Education Learning & Teaching Committee meeting.
Some key highlights:
- Current Reach 8th grade students who are enrolled in Geometry would have the option of enrolling in Enriched Frosh Geometry Honors (EFGH) regardless of placement recommendation. She noted that York will not recommend current Reach 8th grade students for placement in EFGH. Students will be recommended for Freshman Enriched Advanced Algebra Trig Honors (FEATH), Advanced Algebra Trig Honors (AATH), or Algebra II with Modeling. (Taking a second year of Geometry will be a parent-student decision).
- Current 8th grade students and other future students who are placed in the FEATH class will progress as follows: 9th – Enriched Advanced Algebra Trig H, 10th – Enriched Precalculus H, 11th – AP Calculus BC, 12th – TBD
- Current 8th grade students and other future students who are placed in ATTH will progress as follows: 9th – Advanced Algebra Trig Honors, 10th – Precalculus H, 11th – TBD, 12th – AP Calculus BC.
- Current 7th grade Reach math students will undergo a new identification and placement process for the 8th grade year. After completing the COGAT (please see note below), a cognitive ability assessment similar to the OLSAT which was previously administered in D205, current 7th grade students will be placed in their 8th grade math classes based upon the COGAT (to be given in February if funded by the Board of Education), winter MAP scores, teacher evaluation, and possibly an algebra proficiency test. Parents will have placement information for 8th grade math around spring break. Note that there will not be a spring MAP due to PARCC testing. Students will be recommended for placement in the York EFGH class (these students will be bused to York if funded by the Board of Education), 8th grade Geometry (the same curriculum currently offered to 8th graders which is the standard level geometry class with some honors questions embedded) or 8th grade Algebra. This placement process is meant to ensure that each group is matched with the best instruction for its needs. EFGH will remain an option for students in this group, and going forward, who complete Algebra in the 8th grade and are placed by York in the Enriched level.
- Going forward, Ms. Fitzgerald described changes to the math sequence beginning in third grade. She outlined 3 paths for students – standard, single accelerated (students who are offered and, by the end of 8th grade, have completed curriculum at and above grade level by one year – culminating in Algebra), and double accelerated (students who are offered and, by the end of 8th grade, have completed curriculum at and above grade level by two years – culminating in Geometry).
District 205 currently does not use a cognitive score when evaluating students as part of Reach identification. The district will be administering and using the COGAT as a cognitive evaluation measure in the 2nd, 5th, and 7th grades, along with the current MAP and teacher recommendation components for student placement.
The Academic Boosters thanks Ms. Fitzgerald for the wealth of information she shared in her presentation.
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York Academic Boosters are committed to raising school and community awareness of academic achievement at York High School. We do this by partnering with York and the community to recognize both high achievers and those who strive to improve; working to increase participation in and recognition of academically related clubs and activities; and advocating for strong and diverse course offerings that challenge every student.
We meet at York in the Yorker Room, generally on the first Thursday of every month at 8:30 am. If you did not already sign up to join AB via the packet of info that was sent to your home, you can click here for a printable form to mail in or please email one of our chairs: Elizabeth Dierksheide at email@example.com or Holly Kost at firstname.lastname@example.org. All members receive monthly minutes.
We look forward to your involvement!