Lincoln-Way Parents Attend Algebra and STEM Nights
Friday, October 2, 2015

Nearly 150 parents attended Algebra and STEM Nights held at Lincoln-Ways four high schools over the past two weeks to help parents stay up-to-date on important changes in their students curriculum.

Parents of students enrolled in freshman Algebra were invited to the events to learn about the districts new Algebra I curriculum written by a team of Lincoln-Way teachers and rolled out this year.

Lincoln-Way made a shift in its math instruction to prepare students for the problem-solving skills required for success on the ACT and changing assessments that are more application-based, said Jim Aiu, District Math Committee Chair.

Aiu has nearly 30 years of experience working with education leaders across the state and nation, including the Illinois State Board of Education, to write math questions used in standardized tests.

Our goal with this new curriculum is driven by what is in the best interests of students and we are consistently monitoring our assessments and student learning data to make tweaks as we go, Aiu said.

Students will be provided retake, reassessment and remediation opportunities to help promote mastery of the new Algebra I instruction and concepts.

During the Algebra and STEM Nights, parents received several sample word problems included in the new Algebra 1 curriculum as well as an update on the district efforts to implement the Next Generation Science Standards which will occur during the 2016-2017 school year.

It has been 17 years since science education standards were developed and NGSS will better prepare Lincoln-Way students for college-level work, said Dr. Sarah Highfill, Science Department Chair at Lincoln-Way Central.

At each of the Algebra and STEM Nights, parents heard from the math and science department chairs in their students school.

In both math and science, teachers have worked with curriculum leaders at each of Lincoln-Ways feeder schools to work toward a seamless shift in instruction from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Times have certainly changed over the last decade since the days of the drill and kill memorization instruction techniques, said Ron Sawin, Assistant Superintendent of Finance. Today, students arent expected to calculate square root by hand; they have the information superhighway at their fingertips and instead they need inquiry and application skills that will help them solve real-world problems.

Parents received an update on the new PARCC test administered to students for the first time this year. Recent state results showed that zero percent of students across the state of Illinois exceeded standards in math.

While PARCC is a good practice opportunity for our students, we are focused on exams like the ACT that are important to our communities and translate to college acceptance, Reilly said.