In a move to meet the math needs of every Anchorage School District student, a group of educators are spending part of their summer working on ways to improve how ASD teaches the subject -- including putting parents in the equation.
Teachers with the district are trying to figure out how to apply math being taught in the classroom, so students can use their learning at home. A group of ASD elementary and secondary math teachers have volunteered to hash out a direct approach, going through each grade's curriculum to see what's working and what's not.
"We are coming in with that knowledge of, 'This went really well; this did not go really well,'" said East High math teacher Dawn Bird.
Bird says it's all about making the material understandable to students at an individual level.
"We are trying to think about how does this topic relate to this next topic, that will set them up for this next unit," Bird said.
The job can be a challenge, depending on how individual learners across generations have been taught. Some methods being used to solve problems have confused parents when their students bring their work home -- an issue the district wants to fix as the Go Math and Big Ideas program see continued use in elementary and middle schools.
"It's okay if you don't fully understand what's going on -- that's the hard part as a parent," said Bobbi Jo Erb, ASD's executive director of curriculum and instruction. "You always want to be able to help your child with everything, so what we are going to do is we are going to provide the support that you need from the district to help you, help your child."
The annual ASD math review and revisions will be implemented by teachers district-wide in the fall. If parents see any homework that looks a little strange, there will be math experts on hand for each grade level that will help guide them and teach them how do the math, with resources available online or in person.