School improvement plan reaping benefits

MEEKER — Meeker Elementary School students and teachers already are reaping the benefits of the school’s improvement program, according to Principal Jason Hightower.
“We need to pay attention to the kids who are struggling,” Hightower told Meeker School District Re-1 board members at their last meeting.
“Whatever we do for kids who are struggling will be good for (the) other kids, too,” he said.
Hightower specifically mentioned a new math program called “Everyday Mathematics!”
Students at Meeker Elementary increased math proficiency 62 percent compared to the statewide average, Hightower said. Based on testing scores, student have shown improvement since the beginning of the semester.
Everyday Math, as it’s commonly abbreviated, “integrates number sense” and actually is easier for kindergarteners and first-graders because, unlike their older classmates, and teachers, they don’t have to relearn as much, Hightower said.
Everyday Math helps students “understand why math works,” Hightower said.
The new program has been a challenge for teachers who are used to teaching a certain way, and it requires more work on their part but, Hightower said, they are still glad the school adopted the program.
Everyday Mathematics! has been adopted by a number of school districts across the country.
The Wall Street Journal Digital Network reported a Business Wire article just a week ago the Moriarity, N.M., school district reported that student scores have risen substantially since adopting the program.
“Before the district began using Everyday Math,” WSJ reported, “only 35 percent of elementary students met or exceeded math standards. The district decided to pilot the program during the 2005-2006 school year. Pilot teachers were so pleased with the initial success of the program that it was later adopted district-wide in the spring of 2006.”
The Center, Mo., school district even created an Web site that helps parents help their children with the program. That site, http://www1.center.k12.mo.us/Edtech/everydaymath.htm, includes a variety of math learning tools, games and explanations.
In other business, the district received an application for a fine arts charter school. Superinten-dent Dan Evig said the Boulder, Colo.-based organization filed similar applications around the state and suggested the board delay acting on the application until more information becomes available.
A major discussion centered on statewide assessments and a number of financial issues faced across the state. Currently, Evig said, Colorado spends about 10.8 percent below the national average on education. The state ranks 48th in the nation.