Warren Local Schools Board of Education approves math system

VINCENT — The Warren Local Schools Board of Education Monday night approved an investment of nearly half a million dollars in a new math curriculum.

The new system will go into effect for all grades starting in the fall.

“It covers all years, and it has the ability to measure students’ performance and what areas they need help in,” board vice president Sidney Brackenridge said. “It comes with a person who does professional development, and the teachers are happy with that. Part of the additional money is for six years instead of the usual four.”

Superintendent Kyle Newton said the system, designed by Curriculum Associates, features improved tracking of individual students’ mastery of the subject matter so that teachers can better pinpoint what the students need to improve.

“There’s a diagnostic system with the curriculum called iReady, a method of student assessment that tracks their ability to meet standards. It takes into account the student’s history to see what might be missing,” he said. For example, he said, a student who shows the inability to solve particular kinds of equations might have missed or not properly absorbed a specific type of lesson one or two years in the past. The iReady utility will allow the teacher to detect what’s missing and help the student correct it with much more precision and speed than analyzing ordinary tests.

The six-year system includes paper textbooks that can be marked by the student along with electronic texts, he said, making it “adaptable to changing standards.”

“From the students’ perspective, there will be some new technologies,” he said.

Treasurer Melcie Wells said the purchase price was significantly higher than others in her experience.

“It took a lot of convincing for me to recommend this,” she said. However, she noted, the curriculum package included several items that the district usually would have to buy separately, and it covers all grades for six years instead of the usual four. “In the end, it comes out about the same,” she said.

Wells said she usually would expect to pay $250,000 for a four-year, less comprehensive package.

The board also discussed the district’s $63 million building project, which incurred a slight setback when bids for the elementary school construction came in above estimates.

“The operations committee discussed the status of the building project today,” board member and operations committee chair Bob Allen said. “We’ve had a lengthy conference call with the construction-manager-at-risk, the architects and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, talking about budgeting issues and schedules. The outcome is a bunch of meetings and a presentation scheduled. We talked about the lack of consistency in the documents we reviewed, but it was a positive meeting overall.”

Board president Bob Crum said he and Newton are going to Columbus this week “to express some concerns we have about the construction project.”

The board agreed to hold its next public building project meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 7 in the middle school band room.

“Barton Malow (the construction-manager-at-risk) will be there,” Newton said. “We’ll have a bid update. We should know a lot of stuff by then.”

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 18 at the administrative offices.