Published in the June 17, 2015 edition


WAKEFIELD — The school board voted unanimously at their meeting Tuesday, June 9, to approve the purchase of Math Envision and Phonics and Writing curriculum at a cost of $200,000 and $50,000, respectively.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith said that the district had already purchased between four and six classroom sets per grade in Fiscal Year 2014 to prepare for the pilot program. The costs include teacher classroom kits, magnetic letters and multi-level instruction kits for intervention.
“We will purchase what we can with remaining Fiscal Year 2015 instructional supply funds and complete the purchase with Fiscal Year 2016 curriculum funding — approximately $200,000 for Math Envision and $50,000 for Phonics and Writing,” said Smith.
The new curriculum is part of a nine-month pilot program for nine teachers for kindergarten and grade 1 representing all schools. Pilot teachers selected include Jen Gallant and Michelle Boudros, Dolbeare School; Michelle Greatorex, Muriel Campbell and Estelle Burdick, Woodville School; Kaitlyn Lusk, Walton School and Katie Bowers and Leane Masiello, Doyle School.
All other teachers will use Fountas and Pinnell Literacy and Jolly Phonics, said Smith.
Recommendations have been made by Fundations for full implementation in grades kindergarten through grade 2 and an intervention tool for grade 3.
Smith said that the decision to purchase the new curriculum was made following classroom observation and discussions with teachers, school principals’ observation of instruction and student performance, a grade level teacher review of AIMSWEB data and feedback from kindergarten through grade 4 teachers. (AIMSWEB helps school administrators and teachers become more effective and more efficient in the classroom and helps to identify at-risk students early as well as monitor and report student progress. The system is used across the U.S. and Canada.)
Curriculum highlights:
• Based on Wilson Reading System principles — research based prevention program to reduce reading/spelling failure.
• Daily lesson of sequenced skills, print knowledge, alphabet, phonological and phonemic awareness, decoding vocabulary, fluency, spelling and handwriting.
• Multisensory methods to build students’ skills and strategies.
• Assessments and differentiation to meet individual needs.
• Storytime activities for critical thinking, speaking and listening skills.
• Engaging lesson activities and games.
• Teacher friendly materials and resources.
• Homework support packet, encourage parent involvement.
Teacher training is planned before school opening in September and parents will receive an official letter about the new curriculum.
Dr. Smith recommended the adoption of Calkins Units of Study in Opinion, Information and Narrative Writing for kindergarten through grade 4 and this could expand to Galvin Middle School students the following year.