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BOE to purchase new math books
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Elementary school students may be learning the basics of math from a new textbook next school year as the Newton County Board of Education is considering purchasing new textbooks for kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

Lee Peck, Newton County School System’s executive director for school improvement, presented the board with approving the enVision Math Common Core Standards edition 2012 textbooks, which would be used for mathematics in grades K-5. The total cost for the purchase would be $649,984.86.

Peck said math textbooks were last purchased for elementary students in 2007. In 2012, he said student math workbooks were purchased for elementary students to bridge the gap between the current textbooks purchased in 2007 and the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards — a set of core standards adopted by Georgia for kindergarten through high school students to provide a consistent framework to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

Peck said following the locally approved process for selection of textbooks from the state adoption list, teachers have met, reviewed the curriculum in relation to the proposed textbooks, discussed findings, and reached consensus regarding purchasing the new math books for NCSS’s elementary students.

"We went through a long series of readings. The administrators met and we finally determined that enVision Math Common Core Standards edition 2012 would best suit our elementary students at this time," he said.

The proposed new math books include electronic resources, which Peck said would be beneficial to teachers teaching students math.

"One thing we liked about enVision is that they had a professional learning module," Peck said. "Teachers can sit and actually look at modules on how to teach certain content — [if] they are not sure how to teach number lines, there’s a module that [teachers] can watch together and there’s actually an instructor there teaching [teachers] how to teach the concept. So that’s a part of that electronic resource."

Peck told the BOE that a school system in North Carolina who purchased the textbooks and were in their second year of using the books with its students was very favorable of the enVision math textbooks.

"They said that it had pretty much all the research based instructional strategies," Peck said. "They said that the company was great. They came out and provided as much professional learning as needed."

Board members agreed that math is a difficult subject for a lot of NCSS students and students throughout the state of Georgia.

"If there’s one area of need in Georgia, when you look at state data, it’s absolutely the area of mathematics," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews. "It is the weakest academic area by far for Georgia students and it’s true of our students in Newton County. Even as we have made gains here over the last several years, we are not where we need to be.

"I do hope that this adoption was really well looked at and I’m impressed with the notion of electronic resources indicating how certain topics can be taught as an aid to our teachers."

A vote on the new textbooks will come at the school board meeting on Tuesday. If approved, the textbooks would be purchased using money from the school system’s general fund.