This is a list of testimonials that were provided to the School Board to influence their decision to adopt Singapore – Math in Focus Curriculum. More on the Singapore Math issue and how you can help.
Ms. Stephanie Poole
5th Grade Teacher – Schmitz Park Elementary
My 5th grade math group consisted of approximately 18 students who tend to score within the “average” 5th grade scores and who have positive learning behaviors. This group typically on average scores a “3” on the MSP math section. They are taught with the 5th grade Singapore Math Curriculum. Spring Map scores for this 5th grade group averaged 230.1 RIT score, above and beyond what is expected at the end of the 5th grade year. Seven students from this group scored between 228-235, which allows them to take the 7th grade placement test in order to skip 6th grade math at Madison Middle School. No other additional curriculum was used to teach this class, except for the 5th grade Singapore math curriculum.
Ms. Dana Cochran
Math Specialist – Schmitz Park Elementary
3rd – 5th Grade
This is my third year at Schmitz Park and my third year teaching Singapore math. I started as a substitute and was hired as the Math Specialist in October of 2011. When I first came to Schmitz Park, I was not only tasked with learning to teach Singapore math, but to teach it at three different grade levels! Additionally, all the groups I taught my first year were students who were struggling with math.
Problem solving using model drawing in one of the key concepts taught in Singapore math programs. My introduction to model drawing was observing a 5th grade class over two days in November of 2011. As a student in the room, I was absolutely stunned at the beauty and logic of bar models. As I picked my jaw up off the ground, I thought, “Why didn’t I get to learn math this way???” I’ve been a passionate believer of Singapore math ever since.
This year, my math groups varied in size and focus. My 3rd grade group was one of five math groups; it was a medium sized group of around 20 students. Because of the strong foundation these students had with number bonds and basic modeling with both manipulatives and bar models in K-2, they were ready to learn 3rd grade content and problem solving at a deeper level. This group’s Spring Map scores average 213.1 (RIT score); on the NWEA National Normative Scale this mean exceeds end-of-year mean for Grade 4. Of note, we have two larger 3rd grade math groups (than this group) who are working at a faster and deeper pace! I believe the evidence of learning in these groups is directly attributable to the horizontal and vertical alignment of Singapore math throughout our school. These students have a deep understanding of math content and math practices.
The 4th grade group I taught this year included many students I taught as 3rd graders. This is one of four math groups we have in 4th grade; it consists of around 15 students who struggle somewhat with math concepts and/or struggle with learning behaviors, such that they benefit from being in a smaller math group where they receive increased support. Because Singapore math teaches to mastery, these students receive lots of practice with manipulatives and model drawing (not just bar models, but different types of modeling that helps students “see the math” and show/explain their thinking). Spring Map scores for this group averaged 204.7 (RIT score), indicating they are working at the lower end but still at 4th grade level.
Parent and Seattle Resident
My name is Naheed Nizam and I am a parent of current 8th Grade student at Madison Middle School (“MMS”) and a 5th Grade student at Schmitz Park Elementary School (“SPES”) student. SPES’ initial request of the waiver (2007) to teach our students Singapore Math and parent funding of such program was supported 100% by the administration, staff and parents. The support for this math program holds
true today as it did over 7 years ago.
My 8th Grade student was in 3rd Grade at SPES when Singapore Math was fully implemented with the curriculum and walk to math program. My student had struggled with math and in 3rd Grade was placed in a level for students who needed extra help (placed with the Singapore Math specialist). Although my student ended the school year in the same level that he began, his understanding of math concepts grew greater in that one year than years past (success seen when he passed the then WASL exam for math). This was thanks to the instruction of Singapore Math (great for visual learners).
The following year (4th Grade), my student started the year again in the level for students who needed extra help — but within two months was moved to the intermediate level and stayed at that level until completing 5th Grade and leaving SPES (every year passing WASL/MSP for math).
Well over 50% (may have been close to 65%) of my student’s 5th Grade cohorts were able to skip 6th Grade Math in middle school and start with 7th Grade Math. Unlike many of his cohorts, my student entered 6th Grade Math because we chose not to test him and have him continue on the journey we felt suited him. My student completed 6th Grade Math successfully (with an “A”) and completed 7th Grade Math the following year with the same success. More importantly, he was able to easily understand concepts based on the skills he learned during his instructions of Singapore Math in 3rd, 4th and 5th. Based on my student’s grades, level of comprehension and test scores, he was able to skip 8th Grade Math and enter Algebra in 8th Grade. I am happy to report he competed his first semester with an “A” and is on the same road of completion for second semester. Although he worked hard his year in Algebra, he found Algebra familiar and relates it to his learning of math in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade (Singapore Math).
I know this is one student’s story and I’m sure if you start searching you will hear countless similar stories. At SPES we, as parents, did what we felt we had to do to help our students succeed in math. We have seen the success of Singapore Math first-hand and want to see other students throughout the District have similar success.
I respectfully request that Seattle Public School either adopt a district-wide Singapore Math based curriculum or stay the decision for one year to conduct additional research.
My name is Annabel Quintero and I am a parent of students at Sanislo Elementary. I am writing to share my perspective on the Math Adoption process and how it will affect English Language Learners. Our children of color comprise 62% of the district, their proficiency rates are appalling: 52.3% for Native Americans, 63.9% for Latinos and 62.9% for African Americans, Caucasians 71% , and Bilingual children (ELL) is 38%.
Currently the only Math Curriculum that offers us an opportunity to close the achievement gap for ELL children and children of color is MATH IN FOCUS (Singapore Math).
The District Strategic Plan states it will “Ensure Educational Excellence”, well Every Day Math has not done this and EnVision is good, but not “Excellent”. EnVision curriculum has too much text and will continue to have a English language barrier for ELL students. MATH IN FOCUS is language neutral, which is why this curriculum is “Excellent” and this would ensure “Equity for EVERY Student”. Not just for English speaking families or schools that can afford waivers. Math in Focus district wide would “Improve systems District wide to Support Academic Outcomes”, which has been proven by Schmitz Park Math scores and K5Stem at Boren scores. In addition, the language neutrality that Math In Focus provides, “Meets Students Needs”.
Most importantly, the District Strategic plan point #3 is to “Strengthen School, Family & Community Engagement”. The one subject that families who do not speak English could help with at home is Math. Math In Focus would provide ALL families the opportunity to help their children with Math homework. Every Day Math and EnVision will not provide this important “Engagement” piece the Seattle School District is strategically planning.
It is time to make one clear ” Educational Excellent” choice to close the achievement gap and provide “Equity for EVERY Student”, “Improve Systems District wide to Support Academic Outcomes and Meet Students Needs” while also, “Strengthening School, Family and Community Engagement”, MATH INFOCUS is the only Curriculum that can do all of this for EVERYONE in the district.