February 2011

In attendance: Mary Ross, Clare Wool, Paul Schreiber, Stephanie Phillips, Penny Stearns, George, Warren Cornwall, Sandy Flemer, Ursula Jones, Carol Livingston, Meredith Woodward-King, Peggy O’Neil-Vivanco, Lisa, George Gentchos, David Jenemann, Carolyn Hanson, Signe Daly

1. Welcome and Introductions. Sandy called the meeting to order at 6:40 pm.

2. Bridges Discussion. Penny Stearns and Stephanie Phillips came to speak with parents regarding the Bridges curriculum. Penny said the process started in 2006-2007. Mathland ceased publication, so the district needed to find an alternative. They looked at three programs: Bridges, Investigations (2nd ed.), and Saxon math. Principals from all six schools participated in the evaluation process. Two programs were piloted. At that point they opted to conduct a full-scale six-month pilot of Bridges in every grade in every school. After the six months, the program was very well received by the teachers who participated.

Bridges is published by a nonprofit called the Math Learning Center, which has been around for over 30 years. The company is very responsive. The company’s website has a lot of information for parents (www.mathlearningcenter.org/resources/materials/parents). It shows sample problems and explains why it’s important for kids.

In the three years since implementation, teachers are finding the program easier to use. The program gives different access points to allow students of differing abilities to move through the program. The group discussed how teachers can help those kids who have already mastered the concept and are ready to move on. The key is to work with Paul and the teachers to help give the teachers more flexibility. She agreed that the program works extremely well for kids who are below and at the standard, but there is a weakness in the program for kids who have exceeded the standard.

Mary Ross said the process of differentiating is extremely difficult, and she’s found that she doesn’t have the time to adequately challenge that 25% of kids who need to move beyond the curriculum.

A question was asked how parents can support their kids with their homework when we may have difficulty understanding the program. Penny said there’s no reason not to share a different way of solving a problem, and it’s an opportunity for parents to have a discussion with their child about how you can get the same answer using different strategies. The website has a lot of resources for parents.

Paul said he, Stephanie and Peggy will discuss how they can proceed and potentially use the family school partnership committee to further this discussion. He promised to update parents soon.

3. Morning drop-off program. Sandy said they are down to just five volunteers, and they normally have about 10 volunteers. The program is in danger of being discontinued if more parents don’t participate. Paul will put something in the Monday Memo, and Sandy will send a note in the next email blast.

4. Officers for 2011-12 school year/Mayfair chairs. Ideas for getting new parents involved include tapping into the class parents and also having a presence at the Spring concert, for example. Sandy will email class parents about morning drop off, Mayfair chairs, and officers. Peggy suggested a better description of what the volunteer role entails might help.

5. Ronald McDonald House. Ann has been working with the RM house. They’re doing the penny drop soon and working with teachers about further plans.

6. Family school partnership. Paul said the committee will be meeting in March.

7. Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Submitted by Ursula Jones

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