Madison School Board Ponders Singapore Math Model

The Madison School Board met Tuesday night. Credits: Liz Keill
MADISON, NJ – Teaching elementary school math on the model practiced in the Asian city of Singapore may be the next sea change in the district’s curriculum.
Board member Shade Grahling, who chairs the curriculum committee, described it as “a super process that is underway.” This would be a shift from a broad-based math program to a more in-depth approach, she said.  It would appear as an item on next year’s budget, at a cost of $125,000 over two years. The program would be phased in as teachers are trained in the new approach.
The committee is also looking at the gifted and talented program. Letters have been sent to parents identifying students who would qualify for either math or literacy, or both. “We want to refine the approach to enrichment,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Rossi said.
Grahling added the committee is still grappling with the physical education waiver “and the philosophy behind it.” She said there are energetic opinions on both sides of the issue. Other districts are being studied to see how they’ve handled the matter.  “There has to be a full dialogue,” board vice president Patrick Rowe said.

Rossi announced that a calendar item had been tabled until the Dec. 11 meeting. Three snow days have already been used, according to Rowe.  An in-service day could be scheduled as a school day.  Several days in April or May 24 are also under consideration.
Rossi said of state requirements, “A number of things are emerging at once and that’s affecting our ability to respond curriculum wise, financially, to the common core courses and professional development.”  A technology task force will give a presentation in January in light of state technology requirements, which Rossi said could change.
In addition, the superintendent had detailed information available regarding district goals and measurements. Among the goals are student achievement, a new enrichment model for k-5, strategic outreach campaign, energy consumption reduction and assessing technology.  Included is a chart defining the task, timeline and measureable outcome.

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