Connor Wilkins is using the enVisionMath program in Mr. Henderson’s third- grade class at Minter Creek Elementary. Photo by Jessica Takehara, KP News

Key Peninsula elementary students started the school year with new classes, new teachers and a new math program for the Peninsula School District.

The new enVisionMath curriculum was field-tested last year in several classes as part of alignment with the Common Core State Standards. After positive growth in classroom math skills and on standardized assessments, PSD decided to expand the program to all elementary students.

The structure of enVision is systematic in that previous lessons lay the groundwork for present work and future concepts. It also contains visual learning tools, reteaching aids, enrichment and lots of practice.

Students with a range of ability levels are supported through modeling, differentiated instruction and other resources. Parents have an interactive website to participate in their child’s learning or explore topics more deeply. This login information is available through the classroom teachers.

Keeping in line with the Common Core State Standards, one of the other key components of this math program is deeper understanding of concepts. Worksheets use visual cues to unlock math comprehension, but they also contain one word with a lot of weight: “explain.” Typically at the end of a daily assignment, the word “explain’”prompts students to engage in math dialogue using math language.

In fact, the new language presented to the students is also one of the bigger challenges with the program.

Bridgit Reichel, PSD instructional facilitator, commented on this and other concerns during a recent enVision meeting for parents at Vaughn Elementary. “Teachers are working diligently to support students and help them achieve,” Reichel said.

Since this is the first year of a major program implementation, there are bound to be some trials and tribulations.

With building upon prior knowledge a key aspect of enVision, students in the upper elementary grades may encounter some problems. A third-grade student, without using the program in kindergarten to second grade, now needs to quickly acquire three years of concepts and language. There are supports in place from enVision itself, teachers who field-tested the program last year and mentor teachers across grade levels.

The main point PSD staff would like to relay to all families is that the lines of communication are always open.

“The first year will be rocky and rough in some areas,” said Susan O’Leary, Vaughn principal “But we need to trust in each other and the program.”

More information about the enVisionMath program is available at any of the Key Peninsula elementary schools or visit psd401.net and select Central Services then Academics and last What’s New. Two PDF documents are available to print or save under the Parent enVision Resources heading at the bottom of the page.

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