Letters to the Editor

School District moves forward with elementary math curriculum

As the parent representatives serving on the Mercer Island School District math review committee, we want to share our excitement over the planned adoption of a new math curriculum for the elementary grades in the fall. We have spent the last seven months reading national recommendations, reviewing the new state standards, discussing the goals of the district’s long-range 2020 Vision, processing parent/teacher/student math survey results, and examining nine different math curricula. For our final two curriculum contenders, we interviewed teachers and publishers, visited classrooms where the curricula are currently being used and exhaustively analyzed each grade level of material. We think we have found a good fit for our community in Math Expressions, and the district is poised to commit to an implementation for this coming September.

If you would like to see the Math Expressions materials, they will be available to be examined by the public during a 7 to 8:30 p.m. meeting at West Mercer Elementary School on Tuesday, April 21. We are especially excited about giving parents access to both the student textbooks and the teacher’s editions online for use at home.

Our only concern is whether or not the district can afford to pay the $200,000 required for this effort during these financially difficult times. The materials and teacher training will cost approximately $100 for each affected student. All our textbooks are paid for out of the private funding coming from the Mercer Island Schools Foundation. It is possible that without extra private funding this year to fill the $2 million shortfall in state funding, the district will decide that it can’t afford a new math curriculum next year and teachers will have to scramble to supplement the existing curriculum to meet the new state standards. Having gone through this thorough review process, we feel that the timing for implementing a new math curriculum is critical. The current materials are inadequate, and for the first time in our district, parents, teachers and administrators have looked at the curriculum choices together and reached agreement on how we can move our math program forward. Please consider donating to the Schools Foundation at www.mercerislandschoolsfoundation.com to help get the new math textbooks this year.

Aleta Finnila

Ellie Gittelman

Dave Myerson

Dana Kim

Glenn Dierkes

Kari Chansky

Niraj Shah

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