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Edgemont Educators: New Math Program is a Plus

The Daily Scarsdale

EDGEMONT, N.Y. – A half dozen Edgemont teachers reviewed the school district's new math program Tuesday night and despite some pluses and minuses in the implementation process, they expressed confidence that it was a good choice.

The district ditched Everyday Math for Math In Focus this year as it searched for a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade course that would better prepare students for the rigors of high school math, according to Gerry Stoughton, board of education president.

After the teachers – Linda Fleisher, Isadora Kornspun, Patricia Kuschman and Deborah Mumford – and Seely Place Principal Edward Kennedy and Greenville Elementary Principal Jennifer Allen took turns explaining what is right and what is wrong with the program, board of education member David Stern said, "What I'm hearing is that there have been some technical and transitional issues, but the program is right for the school."

The teachers, along with Superintendent Nancy Taddiken, agreed, and, in response to a parent's concern that the board would stick with the program even if, after a year or two, they found it wasn't working well, Taddiken said if they found the program was not working – and she did not believe that would be the case – they would not hesitate to replace it.

Kuschman and Mumford spoke of how much their pupils liked the program, and Kornspun and Fleisher addressed aspects of implementation and teacher training before Kennedy gave a rundown of some problems.

“What you have heard from the teachers has been pretty rosy,” Kennedy said. "There are certainly gaps and redundancies we see on a daily basis. This is not uncommon when you bring in a new program in any discipline. We have found that there are errors in the textbooks and the workbooks. We have also found the workbooks and textbooks are not necessarily aligned with the daily lessons being taught in the classroom."

But, he said the program gives teachers more flexibility to create lesson components. Kennedy also said he had been approached by several parents whose children had struggled in math in the past. "They said their child were more comfortable with this type of approach. It isn't universal, but a number of people have come to see me about that."