As a faculty we gather formally at least one afternoon each week after school to talk shop. Usually these meetings take place at the divisional level (middle school faculty with middle school faculty, high school with high school, etc.), but we also meet, at times, in departments and by grade. The past two weeks I've had the great pleasure of joining with all of our math teachers K-12 for a set of meetings we've referred to as Math Summit 2017.
(Why Math Summit? Because gathering for a summit is more exciting than gathering for just another meeting!)
The goal for these two weeks has been to begin to review our math curriculum together. The prompts I offered in advance of the meeting, and that we spent the bulk of our time discussing were . . .
- What are the various influences on your math curriculum for the classes you teach?
- What are the main priorities of each of the curricula?
- Do the curricula still seem appropriately matched to your goals and your students?
- Where do you perceive we might have gaps in our curricula K-12?
- Are there places (in content or in philosophy) where are curricula are in conflict?
And I shared a few of my assumptions from the start:
- We are better together. When we are actively talking, debating, and grappling with ideas together as a faculty, we will reach better decisions than we would in isolation. Transparency of practice is healthy.
- Woods is, I believe, the only K-12 public school under one roof in North Carolina (which is it's own interesting trivia tidbit), and thus we have no excuse not to be vertically integrated with what we teach.
- We are interconnected. How we teach math in 2nd grade has an effect on a student's learning when she reaches 10th grade.
We came away from these initial meetings of the summit with much greater clarity about our curriculum priorities. We also came away with a hefty set of questions for further discussion and inquiry.