Friday, June 13, 2008

Tribune-Review 'Coaches' Article

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran an interesting article the other day regarding Mt. Lebanon's Curriculum Coaches. You can review the article for yourself here.

The author points out that the Board voted in favor adding a Math Facilitator for this school year. Even though I voted against the budget I was in favor of adding the facilitator. While I understand the frustration some have with the budget and the costs we have with total staffing, one thing we absolutely need to do our best at is to give our teachers the resources they need to effectively and efficiently teach our students.

During our Program Change Proposal meetings earlier this year, we were given a presentation about our math curriculum and how outdated it had become. If I remember correctly, our math curriculum and books were over 12 years old. While I understand that solving the same equation should give the same result, how we actually teach our kids to solve the equation will change. With the newly introduced math curriculum, we need to make sure our teachers are in alignment with the new textbooks so that we have a consistent teaching method across all grade levels with the new curriculum. This can only help our children in the long run.

Subject facilitators are temporary and when the implementation has been completed then much of the responsibility for maintaining the curriculum should fall to the Principal and to the curriculum supervisors.

The important long term process here has to be the implementation of curriculum across all subject areas. One of the things I have talked with people about is the importance of having the same math kids are learning in math class to be the same math they are using to solve problems in other classes. When kids are learning vector mathematics in math class, they should at the same time be using that vector math in physics class. When we have students doing standard deviations in statistics classes then they should be doing experiments in science class that gather data to reinforce what they learn in statistics. I believe this is the direction in which we are moving.

Having facilitators when we try to do this alignment will be important for both our teachers and students. This is one area where I see tremendous value.

Thanks for reading.

James Fraasch
The opinions expressed above are mine and do not reflect the opinions of the Board as a whole