Principal Sara Michelena is hoping that all of her students at Denair Elementary Charter Academy will wrap up the school year with a stronger grasp of mathematics following the school’s decision to pilot McGraw-Hill MyMath, a standards-based mathematics program.
“We work very hard, very diligently on creating a great math program for our students and in doing so we have taken the last six months or so to look at some different programs,” said Michelena. “We’ve been looking for something that could meet the needs of all our students while our teachers are getting well versed in their standards.”
MyMath is one of the programs that was adopted both by the State Board of Education for its alignment to Common Core State Standards and recommended to DECA by the math consultant with the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
“We have given some students a chance to peruse workbooks and things of that nature for this program and I actually had some fifth grade students approach me yesterday and thank me,” said Michelena. “They’re just excited.”
Superintendent Aaron Rosander said that the approved pilot program will likely be a much-needed upgrade from the school’s previously used math curriculum, EngageNY.
“EngageNY was one of the few devices out there to help give guidance to public schools and if you [Board members] remember I asked for your permission to fast track this because Common Core was here and we knew that new testing was coming in and we had nothing in place,” said Rosander at the DUSD Board meeting. “Teachers were rightfully very, very nervous about how we were going to navigate the territory of mathematics.”
EngageNy was “content rich, but not user friendly and not student friendly,” according to Michelena, who said that while some teachers accepted the challenge wholeheartedly, the program was just that—a challenge.
“It was very confusing and very difficult for some teachers and for some students to learn, and at some grade levels it was better than others,” said Michelena. “It was just really inconsistent. There was a very large gap of where we were and where we were trying to get to and those gaps were very hard to fill.
“I think this program [MyMath] is very linear and it follows very well within grade levels,” added Michelena.
The Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees approved the new math curriculum on Thursday, and Michelena said the program will be implemented throughout all grade levels next semester. She said that this is an opportunity for DECA to try out the curriculum and see if the program works for students and staff alike.
“We have received some of the materials so far to look at and I really think it’s been good so far,” said Michelena. “We look forward to what’s to come with this company and we want to give them a shot.”