Weekly Math Updates

October 24, 2005

Hi all,

    I just had to squeeze this in before I left...


    I just thought I'd pass on a piece of great news, though unfortunately it's not in our district or state.  In Penfield, New York, it appears parents are scoring a victory over Connected math.  I received this from a contact in New York.

"....When the State (NY) decided to start testing Math yearly (starts this year) East Aurora felt that their students were not showing up prepared enough for the exam.  The Connected Math seemed to work at too slow a pace.  It took forever for the slower students to grasp and the bright students were bored out of their shoes.  Consequently, rather than supplement with extra info, they chose to drop Connected Math and went to the Holt book."


    Also, it has been pointed out to me that the curriculum content grade webpage I referred to the other day has a correction posted on a different page that I didn't notice and consequently didn't mention.  It shows that the grade for Saxon math's 5th grade actually used a 4th grade textbook so it clearly should have received higher than a B+ score.  Also, SRA received an A- but the reviewers didn't take into account that SRA calls for extensive use of calculators which may have influenced a downward push on its grade since that is generally a no-no for grade school classes.  Kids need to get the facts down without calculators.  Footnotes that mention this are on the following page which also lists California's approved curriculum list minus Investigations & Connected math.


Mail Drive

    Since I'm out of town next week, please make your maximum donation possible to the bulk mail drive.  We will initially target homes in the district areas where school board members are up for election next year.  If we run and install 4 new members in those seats, those 4 will be a majority on the new board and be able to remove these math programs.  If you're at all interested, please think about running for the school board.

Donate here: www.teachutahkids.com/radioad.asp

Charter Schools

For anyone interested in learning more about charter schools, I am aware of a couple of meetings coming up for two of them.  Below I have put an article for anyone interested in seeing the FOUR NEW charters moving into Alpine School District for next fall (anyone want to wager the school board has no idea why FOUR charters are opening in their district?)

Mountainville Academy (www.mountainvilleacademy.org) Meeting Saturday 10/29 at Alpine City Hall Building (20 N. Main, Alpine) at 10 AM (K-8 program-uses Saxon math)

Renaissance Academy (www.renacademy.org) Check website for location of meetings on 10/27, 11/17, 1/19/06 (K-8 program-uses Math-U-See)

Lakeview (no website I can find)

Noah Webster (http://noahwebsteracademy.org/) (not much info online)

There are also other charter schools in the Alpine School District and all over Utah which you can find on this page: http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/directory.htm (Timpanogos, Odyssey and John Hancock are a few others)



Article from Provo Daily Herald

Charters flourishing in Alpine District

Anna Chang-Yen


One of four new charter schools opening in Utah County next year has already attracted more students than its charter allows.

Lakeview Academy, which will open in August in Saratoga Springs, has heard from 900 families who will vie for 525 spots in kindergarten through sixth grade. Three other charter schools will open next year in Alpine School District. Two will be in Alpine, and the third hasn't announced its location yet.

Chief Administrative Officer Kristy Gordon said parents are excited about the opportunity to be more involved in their children's school. "The main thing that we hear is that they just want to have more say in what happens in their children's education," she said. "Parents get really excited when they realize they can help at the ground level."

The school's founding council is working on specifics, such as curriculum. "They're really helping to shape how the school turns out," she said. "That's really exciting to a lot of parents."

Gordon said the school will focus on academics, but "we really want to have a well-rounded program that will include good, solid after-school activities." Students will put in regular days Monday through Thursday, but on Friday they will be released early to pursue elective courses, such as sports and arts. Some classes in the works include piano lessons, orchestra, drama, cooking and junior engineering.

Parents will be asked to volunteer four hours a month. The school will have a drop-off day care at a nominal fee for volunteering parents with young children.

The founders of Renaissance Academy, a charter school that will serve 600 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Alpine beginning in fall 2006, want to prepare their students for a new renaissance.

"We believe that the Renaissance highlighted a rebirth in ideas and adventures in learning, and we believe we're entering a rebirth nowadays in regard to the technology needed," said Trina Brinkman, secretary of the school's board. "We need independent thinkers, people who can relate to multicultures through secondary language."

They will focus on technology and secondary language beginning as early as age 5.

Renaissance also has heard from parents who want to get more involved in their children's education, Brinkman said. "Several (parents) said their children's teachers didn't really invite the parents to come in and participate and get involved with their kids academically," she said.

Some parents have said their children are having trouble with the math-teaching method used by many schools, and others are attracted by the small class sizes at charter schools. Some parents have said their child's school was not addressing special education needs.

And Brinkman said she wanted her own children to be challenged more. "I didn't think their potential was being met," she said. "I thought my kids were actually being held back until the other kids caught up to them."

About 100 families have expressed interest in the school, Brinkman said.

Mountainville Academy will serve 675 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in Alpine beginning next fall. The school will focus on language arts and math.

Rebecca Whitechurch, chairman of the school's board of trustees, said, "Success in reading and math gives children the tools they need to succeed in all areas of study." Character development, music, arts and foreign language also will be emphasized. A meeting for interested families will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at Alpine City Hall.

Noah Webster Academy also will open to kindergarten through sixth grade students in the fall in the Alpine School District.

The school will "assist parents in their stewardship of developing the hearts and minds of children by creating a safe and nurturing environment of classical education that fosters patriotism, cultural literacy, moral virtue, individuality, self government and excellence, thereby, inspiring a lifelong love of learning, leadership and service," said Sharon Moss, one of three founders, at a meeting with parents in August.

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