D181 set to purchase new math resources

Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 plans to spend about $703,000 to buy new math materials, including textbooks and digital resources, for the 2022-23 school year.

The Math Subject Area Committee recommended i-Ready Classroom Mathematics for students in kindergarten through fifth grade at a cost of $555,833 and EdGems math for sixth- through eighth-graders at a cost of $147,526. Those costs include paper and digital resources as well as teacher training.

Kathy Robinson, assistant superintendent of learning, highlighted the advantages the committee saw in each of the recommended resources.

The i-Ready Classroom offers multiple-day lessons, with one day to explore a new concept, three to develop it and one to refine it.

“There is a focus on really deepening the conceptual understanding instead of just memorizing an algorithm,” she said.

While the resources include videos with teachers presenting concepts, those will be used only in certain situations, such as when a student is absent or a sub is in the classroom.

“This is direct instruction happening during the development days,” Robinson said.

EdGems offers materials for whole class instruction, collaborative work groups and individual activities and practice exercises for students who are struggling, working at grade level or in need of enrichment.

Both resources also offer materials for parents to help support their children.

The district began planning for a math pilot in 2019-20, initially looking at 10 different resources for focus, coherence, rigor, mathematical practices and usability for students and teachers. The committee narrowed the list to four, and two resources were piloted at each of the levels. The pilot, delayed due to COVID-19 was completed this school year.

The five-year implementation cost is slightly less than the $800,000 budgeted. Math resources are typically the second most expensive to implement, after elementary language arts, Robinson said. The last math resource pilot and purchase was in 2014-15, which included K-5 Math in Focus, 2007 edition, and 6-8 Big Ideas, 2013 edition.

Parents may view resource kits for each of the programs in Suite 203 of the district’s main office at 115 W. 55th St. in Clarendon Hills.

If board members approve the purchase at their April meeting, the Math SAC will develop sequence and pacing, and work on common assessments. Students would begin using the new resources when school opens in August.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean