A Letter to the Editor
What follows is a letter written to the Editor of the Independent, in response to recent articles about the math program:
Out of respect for the teachers that I work with daily, I feel that I must respond to the recent publicity that the math program at Narragansett Elementary School is receiving. I think there is some confusion about how knowledge of basic math facts meshes with the Investigations program.
First and foremost, the teachers at Narragansett Elementary School are highly skilled and experienced at teaching. They are fully competent to teach ANY aspect of primary school education. They have taught mathematics to children for many years and know the skills that children need developmentally. To this end, I am certain that our students are competent with basic math facts. I am also confident that our students are learning more than basic facts about mathematics, because computing is just one small part.
The new reform math programs, of which Investigations is one, uses five strands to “give a more rounded portrayal of successful mathematics learning.”
These strands include:
(Adding it Up; National Research Council; 2003)
Today’s students will live in a world that has changed significantly from the one we remember. Business leaders report that while the “three R’s are still fundamental to every employee’s ability to do the job, applied skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and communication are also essential for success. These applied skills trump basic knowledge skills in the view of employers AND too many new entrants to the workforce are not adequately prepared in these skills.” (eSchool News; Nov/Dec 2006)
In conclusion, I speak for the entire staff when I assure the community that we are committed to putting forth the BEST instruction for every student. We will not stop at basic facts, because that is not good enough for our students. Our students are entitled to a well-rounded program that includes the five strands of mathematical proficiency mentioned earlier.
On January 18, 2007, at 6:30, we will host a Math Night. At that meeting, we will talk about mathematics in our school. Parents that have questions or concerns before that meeting are welcome to call the school (792-9420) to make an appointment to meet with me.
Narragansett Elementary School