The Cherry Hill school district’s curriculum and instruction committee discussed a new pilot for an updated math program to add at several elementary schools after the company received feedback from the community.
Assistant Superintendent Farrah Mahan shared during the board of education’s curriculum and instruction work session that the district began piloting Eureka Math– the original math program– at all 12 elementary schools around the time schools had closed for COVID. Still, not everyone was receptive to Eureka Math before that.
“Eureka and Great Minds received feedback not only from Cherry Hill but from the whole country (about concerns about issues with the Eureka Math program), and released a new program called Eureka Math Squared that addresses all of the concerns and things that people don’t like in Eureka Math,” said Farrah Mahan, assistant superintendent for preK-12 and curriculum.
“They have really built a more robust program.”
The goal for the new school year in September is to implement Eureka Math Squared from kindergarten through fifth grade at Barton and Mann elementary schools and continue it for second grade at A. Russell Knight, grade five at Johnson and Woodcrest elementary schools, and first grade at Stockton Elementary where it had previously been piloting the Eureka Math program.
To prepare for that, district staffers took part in six hours of training during the April 21 in-service day led by Mahan, representatives from Eureka Math Squared and elementary-level math coaches. The district will revisit the material on Module 1 Planning Day in September.
Mahan cited a new Eureka Math Squared committee designed to support and give feedback for the next wave of modules and correct missteps. Parent education sessions are also expected in the early fall, one in the daytime and one in the evening.
“We’re not switching programs,” Mahan clarified. “The philosophy around the way math is taught is still the same … It’s really a shift in the materials. The example I would use is that a lot of people say that Eureka is heavy literacy, and sometimes, particularly in kindergarten and first grade, students are unable to solve the problem because they’re not readers yet.
“Now, in Eureka Math Squared, they have icons and images to depict what the words are saying so students can say, ‘Oh, I know what that is,’” Mahan added. “And that’s something they received through teacher feedback.”
The hope is that next spring, there will be another conversation about a full implementation of Eureka Math Squared for grades K through five at remaining elementary schools.
The next board of education meeting is Tuesday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m.