High school students get new chemistry curriculum

July 27, 2010

Issaquah School District high schoolers will come back to their science laboratories this fall with a new chemistry book.

Issaquah School Board members unanimously voted to adopt the textbook “Chemistry 2008,” by Prentice Hall, at their July 14 meeting.

The new curriculum cost about $120,000 and was paid for with money donated to the district by the Issaquah Schools Foundation.

The curriculum replaces one the district has used for more than 14 years. While the science of chemistry hasn’t changed in that time, the best methods for teaching it has, district spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said.

The new books are more hands-on, she said, with more inquiry, deep-thinking problems and new laboratory experiments for students to do.

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Issaquah School District high schoolers get new chemistry curriculum

July 15, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. July 15, 2010

Issaquah School District high schoolers will be greeted in their science laboratories this fall by a new chemistry book.

Issaquah School Board members unanimously voted to adopt the textbook Chemistry 2008, by Prentice Hall, at their meeting Wednesday night.

The new curriculum costs about $120,000, and was paid for with money donated to the school district from the Issaquah Schools Foundation.

The curriculum replaces one the district has been using for more than14 years. While the science of chemistry hasn’t changed in that time, the best methods for teaching it have, district spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said.

Read more

School board approves controversial math curriculum

March 30, 2010

After a nearly two-year process, Issaquah School Board members voted 4-1 March 24 to adopt Key Curriculum Press’ Discovering Mathematics algebra and geometry books for high schoolers. Read more

Controversial math textbooks recommended to school board

March 16, 2010

Issaquah School District officials presented a recommendation to adopt Key Curriculum Press’ Discovering Mathematics curriculum to the Issaquah School Board March 10. Read more

Controversial math recommendation heads to school board for discussion

March 9, 2010

Issaquah School Board members will get their first look at the superintendent’s recommendation to adopt a new high school math curriculum March 10. Read more

Committee sticks with same math curriculum recommendation

February 16, 2010

The Issaquah School District’s Instructional Materials Committee voted Feb. 11 to recommend school board members purchase the Discovering Mathematics textbooks to replace its aging textbooks. Read more

Teachers prefer controversial math textbooks

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.

Learn more

Go to www.issaquah.wednet.edu. Click on “High school math curriculum adoption.”

Next steps
-Feb. 11: Committee discussion and vote at 4 p.m. at the administration building, 565 N.W. Holly St. If materials are recommended, they will go on display for at least two weeks.
-March 6: Save the Math In Issaquah organizational meeting from 3:15-4:45 p.m. at the Issaquah Library, 10 E. Sunset Way.
-Late March: If Discovering Mathematics is recommended, school board members will vote to adopt or reject.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-3434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.