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Lancaster plans new math program for elementary schools

Lancaster elementary school children will see a new math program in place this fall – one that is being lauded as both academically rigorous and student-friendly.

The Math Expressions program was formally approved Monday night by the School Board. It has been piloted in the classroom by some teachers, while other teachers tried out a competing program as part of a two-year evaluation of which program would serve Lancaster the best.

Karen Marchioli, the district’s director of elementary education, praised the new Expressions program, which is replacing the Everyday Math program that has been in place for many years.

Marchioli said that while the new program is rigorous and “takes the kids to where they need to be,” it also offers components that make it fun and not scary for the children.

Like other districts, Lancaster had to look at a new math program because of common core standards that now are in place. Its review spanned a lengthy evaluation of new math program options involving stakeholder groups districtwide. Marchioli noted that Math Expressions has built-in interventions for teachers to use, manipulatives for lessons, an online assessment piece and a family involvement component.

“This is by far the strongest math program I have come across in my (19-year) career,” said Sarah Fitzpatrick, a fifth-grade teacher at the William Street School.

Fitzpatrick noted that three levels of enrichment are built into the new math curriculum. “Even my most gifted math students were challenged,” she said. For the second straight year, she said, she did not do any state test preparations with her students.

“My kids were confident and competent” for the latest state math assessment, Fitzpatrick told the board, noting they performed well.

Kindergarten teacher Tracy Amey also praised the new program, despite initial doubts she had about how her students would take to it. In early September, she said, her students already were successfully adding numbers together as part of the Expressions curriculum. That was never taught that early in the year before.

“My students are just so much farther ahead than what I did with them with other math programs,” said Amey, who teaches at Como Park Elementary School. “It far surpassed my expectations.”

In another matter, the board unanimously accepted a $22,500 donation from the Booster Club of Lancaster for the purchase and installation of a 25-foot wide black-and-white digital scoreboard for the High School football field.

District officials thanked the club, and in particular, club President Patrick Farruggio for the donation. It is hoped the new score board can be installed in time for the 2013 fall football season.

School Board President Kenneth Graber noted the fundraising effort for the scoreboard has been quite an undertaking. Graber quipped that Farruggio had to sell “a lot of Salvatore’s dinners - to raise this money.”

The district is expected to fund the cost of steel support beams. A cost estimate has not yet been disclosed. The Daktronics all-sports control console message display and scoreboard communicate together to integrate data, statistics and information.

email: krobinson@buffnews.com

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