The Hudson School Board heard an update on the district’s elementary math curriculum improvement process, which is now in the reflect and revise phase.
Director of Teaching and Learning Sandi Kovatch told board members Monday that the focus is now on monitoring effectiveness and providing ongoing professional learning.
Elementary curriculum specialist Lisa Skoyen said the district has made improvements to the curriculum. One was changing the profile of progress to help parents and teachers get a clear understanding of how a student was progressing. The new profile reflects language used in the district’s report card with questions clustered by standard, she said.
Another improvement was with assessment check ins, or ACIs, quick formative assessments that teachers give at the end of each lesson. The class teachers decided to use a format different than the one used in the student journal. A group of teachers pulled the questions from the student journal and put them in a paper format that teachers could easily use, Skoyen said.
The final improvement was to go back to use SMART notebook presentations, rather than the Everyday Math presentations that came with the program. Skoyen said those Everyday Math presentations were difficult to insert a slide into, would often not allow a teacher to write on the board and sometimes required a wait to load.
This year’s focus will be on improving parent communication. Skoyen said the district uses a family letter sent home, the profile of progress and the student learning center that parents can access.
Another area to focus on is how the district supports teachers, Skoyen said.
“The elementary math committee does a tremendous amount of work,” Skoyen said. “They led many of the initiatives I shared with you this evening.”
The district also conducts roll throughs with professional learning communities, has new teacher training and instructional coach and curriculum specialist support.
Kovatch said the key lesson from the curriculum report is that teacher leadership is key. The improvements that Skoyen listed are all based off feedback from teachers, Kovatch said.
The role of curriculum specialists like Skoyen has also been a key factor, Kovatch said.
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Dave Grambow said the district uses various measurements to see how the curriculum improvement process is working. These include math assessment data like Forward and MAP, as well as using common unit assessments as interim assessments. Assessment check-ins are also incredibly important, he said.
“We’re very proud of our students, very proud of our teachers. These are impressive results at the elementary level,” Grambow said.
The teachers are the ones that make that happen, he said.
The Hudson School District is above the state math proficiency rates for third through fifth grades. In the 2018-2019 school year, the state rate was 47.2%, while the district’s proficiency rate was 72.1%. The number has continued to increase over the last four years.
Grambow said the district is close to its vision of 74.8%.
“We have no reason to believe we won’t continue to grow,” he said.
The board also approved the district goals for the 2019-2020 school year.
They include strong academic achievement on all levels, preparing students for post-graduate success, supportive and inclusive learning environment, recruiting, retaining and supporting quality employees, and engaging parents and community.