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New curricula coming to Clintondale

CLINTON TOWNSHIP – On Monday, the Clintondale Community School District’s Board of Education approved an exciting new math curriculum for K-12 students, as well as a robust science curriculum for high school students.

The school board unanimously approved the purchase of the curricula: Big Ideas Learning and Glencoe High School Science.

The changes will be rolled out in the fall.

As the district’s new chief academic officer, Heather Halpin took the lead in Clintondale’s search for new lesson plans. Halpin, who was appointed to her new role this month, told the school board that she found a clear winner in Big Ideas, a curriculum company based in Pennsylvania.

“As you know the first goal of the CCS strategic plan is that all schools will attain a B grade in proficiency as measured by the state of Michigan,” said Halpin, an experienced elementary educator who came to Clintondale last fall as an instructional coach. “One strategy in attaining this goal is to purchase a vertically-aligned math curriculum. So, our focus management team met from October through April and unanimously chose the Big Ideas curriculum for all students K-12. There was a thorough vetting process that we used and really researched, and we concluded that this is the best option for our students.”

Clintondale will use the new K-12 curriculum as a pilot program for the 2022-23 school year.

“The way that this works is we will have the entire 2022-23 school year to pilot the curriculum,” Halpin said. “Should we decide to purchase the curriculum they will take that $24,000, and change, off of the total cost of the entire program. So that’s kind of how this works. They’re really trying to give districts the opportunity to see this in action and give teachers a chance to test it out.”

With Bug Ideas’ strong emphasis on problem solving, students will be able to transfer their mathematical knowledge to new concepts and apply their understanding to real-life situations. Through practice and problem solving, K-12 students will become more comfortable with the problem-solving process to become strategic mathematical thinkers.

During the meeting, trustee Annika Christiani, a Wayne State University student and 2017 Clintondale alumna, asked Halpin, “What made you think that this might be the best fit for Clintondale?”

“Well, I don’t want to speak for everyone on the team, but I think because it was K-12 aligned our students from kindergarten through 12th grade will be learning to multiply in the same way. So, when we had Everyday Math it was a very different algorithm in learning multiplication. You may remember the Lattice Method or Partial Quotient, and that wasn’t the case at the middle school. So, what this program does is it gives us that K-12 vertical alignment, so it sequentially builds upon year after year after year.

“The other piece to it though, is that it is super impressive that there is a great digital component. So, as an example, if a high school junior wanted to go online and just hover over a math problem, they could see literally a video of that problem being taught. So, there is just a lot of amazing pieces to this, and we can also integrate it with Schoology, which is our learning management system. So, there’s just a lot of positive points to this particular curriculum. And we also noted the districts around us that are beginning to use the program as well, so we felt that it was a good choice for us.”

Board president Beverly Lewis-Moss said the one-year pilot program will cost the district $4,863.

The new high school science curriculum, provided by New York-based McGaw Hill, will cost the district $24,978.91.

Glencoe High School Science program will bond students to science by connecting dynamic content with real-world investigations, engaging lab experiences, and a rich array of resources.

“The Science Department chair, Steve Moskal, and his team vetted a number of different science curriculums and after going through and seeing how it would meet the needs of our students – and we haven’t had a good science curriculum in a longtime – they decided to purchase this for the biology, physical science, and chemistry classes,” Halpin said. “And again, it does include a print and digital license for students. But this is not a pilot, it’s an actual purchase.”

Superintendent Rodriguez Broadnax thanked those responsible for bringing the new programming to the district.

“These are two very good curriculums that we are adding to the district, and we appreciate our instructional focus team that includes our teachers and administrators, and Mrs. Halpin in leading it as we move forward into 2022-23,” he said. “It’s very good curriculum moving forward.”