Publisher helps Maryland schools adapt to Common Core math standards
Four districts work with Walch Education to tailor-build instructional materials
FREDERICK, Md. (June 7, 2011) -- Lots of publishers are developing major text books based on the emerging Common Core standards. But four Maryland school districts wanted something very specific, something made for them, in conjunction with them: purpose-built math tasks that would begin to integrate the Common Core into their middle school mathematics curriculum.
“These tasks will help students truly understand the mathematics contained in the Common Core Standards,” said Peter Cincotta, Curriculum Specialist for Secondary Mathematics for Frederick County Public Schools. “Ultimately, it is this understanding that will help students become better at thinking, reasoning, and making sense of the world around them.”
Walch is working with Cincotta and the math curriculum leaders in Baltimore, Howard, and Caroline counties to develop a set of math tasks for grades 6 through 8 that emphasize problem-solving and that align with the new Common Core standards in math. The tasks are set in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) contexts.
“By working though these tasks, students will learn mathematics through productive discussions with each other instead of by sitting silently at their desks and completing problems in isolation. Today's students need to have the experience of working in groups to solve difficult problems.”
“We don’t presume to know what districts will need,” said Jill Rosenblum, vice president for education at Maine-based Walch Education, the company chosen by the districts. “We take our cues directly from educators and districts, and work with them to build exactly what they need.”
The tasks are meant to complement the schools’ other instructional materials and help bridge from the current curriculum to the Common Core curriculum, according to Rosenblum. What’s especially exciting about the set of materials is that, in addition to providing new content for students, they are designed to support teachers to inject problem-solving into the classroom in manageable time blocks.
“We are helping teachers to do what they need and want to do,” Rosenblum said. “This makes it easy for them and models effective methods for incorporating problem-solving exercises that don’t eat up an entire hour of class.
In all, the districts have contracted Walch to develop 48 sets of math tasks - four each quarter in each of the three grades.
For Walch it’s a first in at least two ways: The first time the company is working on explicitly Common Core standards; and the first time it’s working with a consortium of school districts.
“We see this as a first step on a long road toward meeting district and state needs around the Common Core,” said Al Noyes, president of Walch Education. “There is a misconception that the Common Core means every district will use the same materials. But states and school districts still make choices about methods of teaching based on their experience and practices.”
About Walch Education
Walch Education develops and produces purpose-built instructional materials for teachers and school districts. Walch works directly with school districts to create materials that are highly aligned to the standards and the local or state curriculum, and acts as a virtual extension of the districts’ curriculum departments to deliver tailored materials far faster than traditional textbook publishers. Materials are delivered as printed text and work books, online, on CD, and now for the iPad and iTouch, as well as iTunesU. For more about Walch Education, visit www.walch.com.