May 27 2015

School Board Member Objects to Less Advanced Students Sent to Advanced Math

A Report by Piedmont High School Student Josephine Ireland –

On Wednesday, May 13th, 2015, the Piedmont Unified School District’s Board of Education met at City Hall in one of their monthly meetings.  The Board of Education recognized Jennifer Fox as the winner of the 2015 Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year award, discussed the Learnscape project that is dedicated to Eileen Rohmer, and discussed the new math curriculums at both the elementary schools and the high schools.

The 2015 Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year award this year was awarded to Jennifer Fox, who was regarded as a kind, bright photographer.  The Superintendent of Education, Constance Hubbard, allowed Fox to say a few words regarding her appreciation and the gift painting that she chose from the PHS art show.  Fox stated that as a photographer she feels gifted to be able to take photos for the Piedmont community.  As her reward, she chose a painting by high school student Ying Zou, which portrayed famous architecture around the world.  Zhou said its purpose was to illustrate how people get lost in their busy lives and should notice the beauty the world has created.

Not posted on the agenda was an appearance made by a few Youth Educators (YEds), who also have learned a lot about giving back to the community.  Tom Jara, Nate Peden and Chloe Lee Rowlands all spoke of how when they were eighth graders the impact that Youth Educators had on them was tremendous.  They shared that the transition from middle school to high school, but because of YEds this was made easier. The program creates a great support for not only the eighth graders, but also for the YEds themselves because of the community they build with each other.

After the YEds spoke, Randall Booker, the assistant superintendent, introduced the Learnscape project that was being built to honor Eileen Rohmer, a science teacher that passed away a few years ago. History teacher, Courtney Goen discussed the purpose and plans for the project. She said because Ms. Rohmer had always worked for the greater good, she deserved this honor. Student Dominic Frost painted a picture of Ms. Rohmer that would be made into a mural in the Learnscape area. Goen says it would be used as a beautiful lunch area for students to sit, do homework and eat lunch on campus; it could also be used as an outdoor classroom.  Goen also stated that many people have been donating very generously to the cause.  After details of the Learnscape project had been announced, the Board approved the name of the Learnscape Project.

After Learnscape was approved, Booker introduced problems with the elementary math curriculum and how the principles of it were jaded.  The new curriculum came from common core and had been reviewed by the community.  Elementary teachers and administrators recommend the Bridges in Mathematics and Number Corner as the new curriculum.  Because it has to follow a certain criteria and be engaging, accessible, and work for small groups and target specific learning needs, this new curriculum is perfect as stated by five elementary school teachers.  Ann Dolid discussed how both teachers and parents gave positive feedback and she suggested the School Board adopt Bridges and Number Corners.

In addition to the elementary math, Booker introduced an issue of the integrated math at the high schools. The reason for taking the more advanced course is because of a larger interest in math. Doug Ireland, Board of Education member, said “C-” is a “low bar for sending students into a compression course.” He noted that students with a low grade should not be taking the more advanced course.  He worries that parents may force their child into a class even with this grade when they are not ready. Booker did state, however, there will be a rubric sent home, but Ireland continued to be astonished that there is such a low standard for the compressed course.

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Leave a Comment