Pelham Board OKs 'Math In Focus' To Follow Common Core

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The Pelham Board of Education has approved the use of "Math in Focus" to follow Common Core standards for elementary and middle school.
The Pelham Board of Education has approved the use of "Math in Focus" to follow Common Core standards for elementary and middle school. Photo Credit: Bellowtimes.net

PELHAM, N.Y. -- The Pelham Board of Education has approved the use of the book "Math in Focus: Singapore Math" by Marshall Cavendish as the new textbook series starting in grades three-five for the 2014-15 school year. 

Last year, a subcommittee of the Pelham Schools Math Task Force was asked to research a new math series for the elementary and middle school programs that was aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards recently adopted by New York state. 

The team included principals Richard Limato, Robert Roelle and Tonya Wilson as well as teachers representing every grade.

Steven Garcia, asssistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel, said the work of the committee showed "Math in Focus" to be the best choice based on its proven pedagogical and learning theories, research-based methods to teach children math concepts, computational skills and problem-solving skills as well as its relevant application of math to life.

Beth Finkelstein, K-5 math staff developer and a teacher, said the committee developed a rubric to evaluate different textbooks and used Steven Leinwand’s book "Accessible Math: 10 Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement" as a model for what they wanted for math instruction.

Teachers piloted several programs as a possibility to use for Common Core standards. After further evaluation and pilot phases, the team narrowed its options to "Go Math," "Math in Focus," "Math Modules" for grades kindergarten-five and "Big Ideas" for grades six-eight.

“Math in Focus is tried and tested,” Garcia said. “It provides us with a sense of independence while still being connected to the Common Core Learning Standards.”

The teachers will also continue to examine and review secondary math textbooks and programs next school year.

“We will pay particular attention to a transition from 'Math in Focus' to the middle school years. We still have a commitment to moving toward a middle-level text series in the future as we continue our study,” said Jessica Vitale, secondary math supervisor and teacher.

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