May 31, 2011
The public is invited to review the newly recommended elementary science curriculum, material approved by the Issaquah School District’s Instructional Materials Committee.
The current elementary science curriculum, last updated in 2003, does not meet state standards.
The recommended materials are available for public review during regular business hours through June 8 in the lobby of the district administration building, 565 N.W. Holly St.
Public comment forms are available. The Issaquah School Board will review any comments before voting on whether or not it will approve the curriculum.
District administrators are still searching for money to purchase the recommended curriculum. Administrators had planned to purchase the material with money from the district’s reserves, but they abandoned that idea after the state unexpectedly cut the district’s budget by $1.45 million this year.
The Issaquah Schools Foundation, the Issaquah PTSA Council and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to raise money for the Elementary Science Initiative. The initiative has already raised $298,000 of the $500,000 needed to buy the curriculum. Donate at www.issaquahscience.org.
March 22, 2011
After absorbing blows from state budget cuts, the Issaquah School District is $500,000 short of the money it needs to update its elementary school science curriculum.
“The materials are outdated,” Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Emilie Hard said.
This year, the district is updating two of its curricula — elementary school science and high school language arts. Usually, district administrators update curricula every seven years.
The elementary school science curriculum was last updated in 2003, but budget cuts have lengthened the wait for high school language arts — it was last updated during a three-year period from 1999-2001.
District officials expect the high school language arts curriculum adoption will cost about $600,000. The elementary school science curriculum will cost an estimated $1.2 million, with the district paying for $700,000 of it, Hard said.
The new curricula are crucial, she said.
January 18, 2011
The Issaquah School District is preparing to adopt new curricula this June: one for elementary school science and another for high school language arts.
District administrators try to update curricula every seven years, but sometimes budget cuts get in the way. The elementary science curriculum was last updated in 2003, but the wait has been longer for high school language arts — it was last updated during a three-year period from 1999-2001.
Some parents said they felt unsettled after last year’s math curriculum adoption, saying the district did not allow them enough input, especially because a group of parents disagreed with the curriculum that the Issaquah School Board approved. Read more
June 22, 2010
Issaquah School Board members will decide whether to adopt a new high school chemistry curriculum July 14.
The Issaquah School District’s Instructional Materials Committee recommended adopting Chemistry 2008, by Prentice Hall, June 11. If adopted, the textbooks would be in classrooms this fall.
The recommended materials can be viewed from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. weekdays June 14 – July 14 at the district administration building, 565 N.W. Holly St.
February 9, 2010
The Issaquah School District is one step closer to having a new high school math curriculum after the decision was delayed by a year.
District teachers and math specialists from the Teacher Adoption Committee presented their recommendation of Discovering Mathematics, by Key Curriculum Press, to the Instructional Materials Committee Jan. 28.
Members of the Instructional Materials Committee will review the textbook recommendation process to ensure it adhered to the district’s goals and philosophy, and will evaluate the textbooks for bias and discrimination. The committee is a requirement under state law.
Committee members are expected to make their recommendation in a meeting before the public Feb 11. The board is not scheduled to take action before the end of March.
The decision comes after a group of Seattle parents and math experts won a ruling Feb. 4 from King County Superior Court against Seattle Public Schools for adopting Discovering Mathematics.
“The Seattle case is nonbinding on any other jurisdiction, and any similar case would be evaluated by a judge on a new and specific fact pattern,” Sara Niegowski, district communications director wrote in an e-mail. “However, we are certainly aware of the Seattle case and want to make sure we proceed with as much information as possible. Our legal counsel is currently evaluating the case and will report back with more information this week.”
A group called Save the Math In Issaquah has formed and scheduled a meeting at the Issaquah Library to rally against the potential adoption of Discovering Mathematics here.
“We believe that inquiry-based instructional materials are inferior to mastery-based materials and there is pretty compelling data to support that,” said Mark Van Horne, founder of Save Math In Issaquah. “In addition, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction only recommends the mastery-based Holt series and third, the decision from King County Superior Court said ‘there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable board member to approve the selection of the Discovering Series.’
“A court of law has now said that no reasonable board member could approve it, so we wonder why Issaquah could possibly do it now.”
The group’s March meeting will focus on raising awareness among parents and students about the math curriculum adoption and get the community involved in the selection process.
District officials delayed adopting a new math curriculum last July in effort to gather more community input and new information from state officials who have been vague about their recommendations for high school math curricula.
A new curriculum is necessary because College Prep Mathematics no longer meets many of the new state requirements.
Since the beginning of the school year, district officials have asked parents and students to fill out surveys regarding mathematics expectations in the district, have held parent meetings about Discovering Mathematics and teachers have given their reasoning about selecting it over Holt Mathematics.
During those meetings, teachers and district officials said Discovering Mathematics aligned most with the state’s new math standards, had a blend of exploratory and teacher-driven learning, and has example formulas and drills for students. It also has a robust outline for teachers to follow, ensuring equal experiences among classes and high schools.
Van Horne said he recognizes the value of public meetings to get feedback from the community, but what he would have like to have seen done for the math adoption — and any future technical curriculum adoptions — is a chance for working professionals to develop curriculum recommendations with teachers, so students’ needs can be met in the classroom and when they arrive to the workforce.
Go to www.issaquah.wednet.edu. Click on “High school math curriculum adoption.”
Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-3434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.
June 16, 2009
Questions and concerns continue to surface as Issaquah School District officials forge ahead in their high school math adoption process. Read more