High School Math Adoption



2009-10 school year

The Washington State Board of Education approved new math standards last year, and high-school students will be held accountable for demonstrating mastery of the new standards through end-of-course assessments (mandated by the state as a graduation requirement) beginning in 2011. A team of District math teachers began meeting as soon as the state completed its work and determined that our decade-old geometry and algebra I and II materials—which were already due for a new adoption—would need significant alteration/support to align with the new standards. In light of the urgency of the end-of-course assessments, the District decided to begin the adoption process immediately and formed a team with math teachers from each high school to review materials (as is the standard process in all adoptions). After much field testing, research, and vigorous conversation, the team unanimously recommended Key Curriculum Press' Discovering Mathematics geometry and algebra series in May 2009.

As the 2008-09 school year came to an end, it became apparent to Superintendent Rasmussen that the best option was to extend the adoption process into the 2009-10 school year for two reasons. First, he was hopeful that the state might be able to provide some clarity around math and its recommended materials; second, he understood that further conversation was needed with the community to reach better understanding both about this particular curriculum recommendation and math instruction in general in the Issaquah School District.

Towards these ends, the District formulated a plan with various learning/input opportunities:

  • A math-experience survey distributed to all secondary parents at curriculum night and secondary students in their math classes.
  • An invitation to officials from the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to attend a school-board meeting to provide background information about how and why the state undertook a math curriculum selection process and what that means for local districts.
  • A meeting with key communicators to solicit feedback on the outreach plan and to answer their questions and concerns.
  • A community math conversation night at each comprehensive high school, with the goals of: explaining the rationale for the committee's recommendation; allowing parents to test-drive the recommended curriculum; sharing the results of the math-experience surveys; and gathering input on needed family support for math.
  • Frequent updates to the School Board about the process during public meetings.

What's next?

The Issaquah School Board adopted the Discovering algebra and geometry materials in March. The District is now creating an implementation and training plan for teachers.