CCSD hashes out Common Core math

Churchill County High School junior Thomas James starts work on his Google Chromebook during a study hall period.

Churchill County High School junior Thomas James starts work on his Google Chromebook during a study hall period.

The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees met Wednesday to discuss how Eureka math, as part of the state-adopted Common Core standards, is progressing.

Educational Services’ Patty Fleming gave a presentation on Eureka. She outlined how lessons are designed, employ certain strategies and are taught with an emphasis on better understanding numbers and how solutions are achieved.

“Students can draw it, they can figure it out, even if they don’t know the algebra behind it,” Fleming said. “Without using memorization.”

Fleming said the district is seeing gains with the program.

“People are working very hard to make this happen,” she said. “Teachers are becoming more familiar with Eureka and customizing the lessons to meet the needs of students.”

Additionally several elementary school teachers presented on Eureka math progress and challenges in their classrooms as well as learning groups, math coaches and quizzing including positive shifts in student data.

The teachers also reported the curriculum is extremely challenging and involves a substantial amount of student reading. The teachers also said parents still are frustrated.

Staff and board members discussed how results are being seen, though, and also said they understand how a new program can take time to implement successfully.

One teacher noted children being raised right now are going to have different jobs in the future than people are used to presently. Two teachers brought up the expense in paper copies due to the sheets needed for work (there are no textbooks). Another teacher emphasized more Chromebooks are needed to decrease the student-device ratio.

“We’ll stick with the program and watch the data,” summarized trustee Carmen Schank.

The board discussed the 2017-2018 budget priorities — including school feedback. Trustee Clay Hendrix suggested attaining more Chromebooks using the general fund. Also Hendrix and Gregg Malkovich, Lahontan Elementary School principal, discussed a good number to offset Eureka math paper and supply usage, resulting in a $6,000-$7,000 estimate.

Each school principal spoke to their top priorities including STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), English Language Learner teachers, smart board equipment, deans of students and another high-school counselor. Some principals will follow-up with the board with further details. Transportation, Maintenance and Educational Services also spoke about their departments.

The board saw a photo of the teacher-recruiting marketing materials created by Kristin Sheldon, the district’s parent and community engagement coordinator. The banners, tablecloth, slogan “Come teach with us” and other items were designed highlighting professionalism and the state of Nevada. The materials will be used during the next six weeks as recruiters travel off-and-on throughout the staffing season.

Kevin Lords, Churchill County High School principal, answered questions about the Career and Technical Education program’s first semester.

Lords estimated 10-15 percent of students are taking CTE classes because they are truly interested in the subject matter beyond the credit.

The principal also estimated the pass rate to be about half but realistically sees that rising to 70-75 percent next school year.

Hendrix was disappointed in the pass rate but agreed the program is on the right track.

Numa Elementary staff shared about their attendance at a recent Title I conference (focusing on financial assistance to schools with a high number of children from low-income families to aid meeting state academic standards).

They described how the event provided rejuvenating and innovative ideas as well as how to be that one caring person in a child’s life.

Numa staff also discussed their school’s Google Chromebook usage. Teachers talked about how the devices are enabling further research, interaction, essay-drafting and survey-taking.

Fifth-grade teacher Kevin Wickware said students are journaling by blogging and also commenting with parents commenting too. He added with a laugh students are inadvertently teaching him about video production; he said he may not know the best tool but encourages students to explore, adding they’ll find something and he learns along with them.

The board recognized the high-school archery team for placing third in the state tournament. Nineteen students represented CCHS among the 650 students at the event.

“I can’t explain, you have to come experience it,” said coach Dean Schultz of the archery season. “Thank you, parents — and again, thank you, archers.”

The board will recognize the CCHS Lady Wave basketball state champions at the next meeting on March 22 at 6 p.m. in the Old High School auditorium (“The Pit”).

“What a game it was,” Hendrix said of the 3A matchup he attended in Las Vegas. “We should all be proud of our girls’ basketball team.”


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