NASHUA — School officials are supporting the permanent implementation of Eureka Math for the city’s middle schools.
The Board of Education’s curriculum and evaluation committee voted this week to adopt the common core-aligned curriculum for grades six through eight. School officials previously adopted Eureka Math for all elementary levels.
“We are looking at aligning the curriculums,” said Caitlin Porpiglia, a middle school math teacher coach.
Although middle school students have been integrating Eureka Math concepts into the math curriculum, which was previously Great Minds, Inc., the Board of Education is now making the change permanent.
Eighth-grade students in the district are currently in the first year of Eureka Math implementation, while seventh-graders are in year two and sixth-graders are in year three, explained Donna Fitzpatrick, assistant superintendent.
At the elementary level, Eureka Math is now in its four year of implementation.
“It builds student confidence, year by year, by helping students achieve true understanding of math, not just algorithms,” said Fitzpatrick, adding students are focusing on applying math as opposed to memorizing math formulas.
By implementing Eureka Math for kindergarten up to eighth grade, she said it will provide a continuous standard progression and help build conceptual understanding and abstract skills. It also encourages consistent math terminology and common assessments that are formative and summative, explained Fitzpatrick.
“Teachers are wanting additional resources to support students that may be struggling with some of the (math) concepts,” she said.
Jessica Brown, member of the Board of Education, has two children who have utilized Eureka Math.
“I would say, this is far superior,” said Brown, adding the concept promotes algebraic thinking at an earlier age.
Porpiglia said it also allows teachers to customize lessons that consider individual student needs, while also keeping students engaged in math and encouraging positive experiences.
Porpiglia said the district is constantly aiming to ensure a solid math foundation with help from math intervention teachers and special education teachers.
She acknowledged that with Eureka, fluency with math facts is not a daily practice, however teachers are finding other ways to introduce math facts into the middle school curriculum.
There is also a 45-minute time crunch for Eureka Math, meaning there may not be as much time for remediation if concepts are not fully understood, said Porpiglia. There is currently a list of highly rated support resources that are being vetted to encourage visual models and a greater algebraic understanding for middle schoolers, she added.
Two years ago, Nashua’s SAT scores for math averaged 488.6, with about 23 school districts in New Hampshire scoring lower. In comparison, Manchester’s SAT scores were closer to an average score of 473 in math during that same time frame.