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RRPS picks math instructional material for continuity, rigor

LaJuana Coleman

LaJuana Coleman

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education quickly dealt with three approvals at its meeting Monday evening — one dealing with elevator maintenance and service, and two that concerned the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its federal funding — and then spent a half-hour hearing about new math instructional materials.

Although there was some dissension among Rio Rancho Middle School teachers, who preferred materials prepared by Pearson Math to those from Eureka Math, Eureka was the ultimately selected, said LaJuana Coleman, executive director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction, because it had already been approved for implementation in the elementary and high school grades, setting the stage “for seamless implementation.”

All told, Coleman said, there had been seven candidates to make instructional materials — no longer relegated to textbooks, which she said are “going the way of the dodo bird.”

Coleman and her co-presenters said they liked the “rigor” of Eureka Math and the fact it’s aligned with Common Core State Standards, the sometimes-controversial wave of the future in education in New Mexico.

In the 2014-15 school year, committee member Nikki Erdelyi said, math instruction “will be vertically aligned for the first time throughout the district.”

According to the website for Common Core, “a leader in providing educators with high-quality, low-cost curriculum tools based on the Common Core State Standards … Eureka Math is based on the theory that mathematical knowledge is conveyed most clearly and effectively when it is taught in a sequence that follows the ‘story’ of mathematics itself. Eureka Math consists of three components: A Story of Units (Pre K-5), A Story of Ratios (6-8) and A Story of Functions (9-12). The sequencing has been joined with methods of instruction that have been proven to work, in this nation and abroad.

“These methods drive student understanding beyond process, to deep mastery of mathematical concepts.”

“From what we’ve seen, it’s really good materials,” Erdelyi said.

Superintendent Sue Cleveland recommended approval — “I think they’ve gone through a very thorough process,” she said of the committee of educators, parents and administrators — and the board agreed, passing the adoption of Eureka Math, 5-0.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 9, at 5:30 p.m.