Bloomingdale Public Schools’ new first grade math program has been “outstanding” so far, receiving accolades from both parents and teachers, according to Martha B. Day School principal Cheryl Mallen.
Mallen discussed the success Martha B. Day has had so far with Everyday Mathematics, a comprehensive pre-K through sixth grade mathematics curriculum that encourages continuous learning through routine and games, during Monday’s board of education meeting. The program, which the principal said is “being done in all the best districts,” has grown in popularity over the past decade.
“We want to see how they do this year without putting too much pressure on them but having them think mathematically at higher levels,” Mallen said.
Mallen explained that Bloomingdale first graders are now spending twice as much time on math as they had in the past thanks to independent practice and game components. After the math lesson is completed, students participate in hands-on games and projects with each other to test out what they have just learned.
“They’re not listening for an hour and a half, but they are doing math that whole time,” Mallen said. “There is a lot more time spent on content, and yet they are having fun.”
Kristine Dudlo, the district’s new director of curriculum, said that, despite being in her field for 13 years, she has been highly impressed by what Martha B. Day first graders have been doing in their math classes and their levels of engagement.
“They’re excited about math,” Dudlo said. “They can’t wait for that time of day.”
Mallen said the district hopes to implement Everyday Mathematics in kindergarten and second grade next year, saying the program serves as an evolution of the success Martha B. Day has had in improving students’ math scores over the past few years.
Samuel R. Donald School Principal Sherri Glaab said her second grade teachers have already begun preparing to implement the program next year, figuring out how the lesson plans will change.
While joining Glaab and Walter T. Bergen School Principal Frank Verducci in a presentation on students’ spring standardized test scores, Mallen explained that her teachers have paid considerable attention in recent years to teaching math topics included in the standardized TerraNova test first graders take.
“We realized there were certain things being asked of them on the TerraNova that we were introducing later in the spring and they weren’t doing as well on,” Mallen said. “So we began introducing those skills very early on. If we’re going to teach it anyway, why not teach it early?”
Martha B. Day first graders ranked in the 90th national percentile for mathematics in spring 2012. The first graders also rated around the 80th percentile for reading, the 84th percentile for science and the 75th percentile for social studies.