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Oak Harbor School District adopts K-5 math ‘Expressions’

After nine months of review, the Oak Harbor School District adopted a new math curriculum Monday for elementary and middle schools.

The math curriculum team recommended “Expressions” by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for grades K-5 and for grades 6-8, the group chose “Math” by Holt McDougall. The school board approved the selections unanimously.

Though debate continues statewide between traditional math and reform math, Teaching and Learning Director Kurt Schonberg said the texts will “give us something in the middle.”

“Both programs give us balance,” said Schonberg. “They are far better aligned than anything we’ve got.”

The textbook series were each endorsed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction this year. Schonberg said the texts are teacher-friendly, provide online support at home for students and parents, and balance between procedural knowledge and conceptual understanding.

“These are both well rated and mathematically sound,” Schonberg said.

The texts may have the approval of the state, but Schonberg said the district will watch for conflicts at the federal level if new national math standards are adopted. The federal government recently drafted national guidelines that would make math instruction more uniform. The draft includes standardizing textbooks and testing.

“It’s an interesting development that we need to keep our eyes on. But it shouldn’t stop us from updating and moving ahead,” he said.

Schonberg said that curriculum adoption can take about three years, but the team managed to finish in nine months. During that time, the 20 member team researched textbooks and opened the selection to school and community review. The math programs were also discussed in detail at a special school board workshop in the Oak Harbor High School TV studio.

The training for the textbooks will begin this summer, and they will likely enter the schools by the end of the year.

The school district’s last math adoption for middle and elementary schools was in 2001.

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