District 51 adopts new math curriculum

School District 51 adopted a new high school math curriculum that is more closely aligned with the state’s content standards. For some district schools, it will mark the first math curriculum change in 14 years.

The school board adopted the new curriculum, based on the Core Plus math textbook series by McGraw-Hill, during its Feb. 10 meeting. The Core Plus series covers all four years of high school and covers algebra, geometry and precalculus.

The curriculum’s adoption capped a monthslong process of whittling down choices in math curricula for the district.

Carla Haas and Cathie Gonzales told the board in January the team exploring the different options “felt very strongly about” the choices they were making, but the Core Plus would show “great growth in student achievement” and focused on a high degree of critical thinking.

“Passions are high right now,” Gonzales said of the selection process.

The newest high school math curriculum in the district was selected in 2001, while the oldest was picked in 1995.

The Core Plus series focuses on “context-based investigations” with math concepts rather than individual and isolated problems to solve.

The Colorado Department of Education is in the middle of rewriting its content standards, and the new math curriculum is more closely aligned with those standards, according to the resolution passed by the board of education.

The 2007-08 Colorado Student Assessment Program test results were generally lower than expected for District 51, math scores included. At the time the results were released, district officials said one problem plaguing the district was that curricula were not aligned across the district.

The new math curriculum standardized four years of high school math across the district.
Board member Diann Rice said in January a curriculum adoption had not occurred in the district for a long time and some veteran teachers may have trouble with the switch.

Those teachers would have the support they needed to transition, she said.

“Some teachers may have to change teaching style,” Rice said. “But they won’t be left to founder.”


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