NY Mills K-5 math program producing results

Louis Hoglund Its been six years since New York Mills introduced the Everyday Math program into its grade K-5 curriculum, and the results have been good. Developed at the University of Chicago, the rigorous program reinforces learn...

Louis Hoglund

Its been six years since New York Mills introduced the Everyday Math program into its grade K-5 curriculum, and the results have been good.

Developed at the University of Chicago, the rigorous program reinforces learning month to month--continually refreshing the students on lessons from the previous month.

The New York Mills School Board was brought up to date on the program at the March 27 school board session. Math test scores were discussed, dating to the schools first pilot program in 1999.


In grades 3, Mills has tested above the state average five of the past six years in math. For grade 5, Mills exceeded state averages four of six years.

More dramatic are the math test results in the eighth grade--where 86.2 percent of Mills students passed the test in 2005, compared to 74 percent statewide. In addition, NYM 8th-graders have shown substantial improvement over the years: Only 66 percent passed in 2001, so at 86 percent in 2005, results were a full 20 points up.

Weve ratcheted it up, said Superintendent Todd Cameron in an interview. Our 5th-graders are studying advanced math at a level their parents were at in eighth grade. And 8th-graders are doing advanced algebra--at 11 and 12 grade levels.

The Everyday Math program utilizes discussion, daily routines, year-long projects, partner and small-group activities, games, manipulatives, and home-school partnerships. The program is intricately woven into the curriculum for each grade, K-5.

Several written comments regarding Everyday Math were submitted by Mills faculty members.

Carol Wilkowski, second grade, wrote that she considers it the best series she has ever worked with. Her students have been able to do much more than they ever could before.

High school math teacher Harley Jabas said the school will need to purchase more advanced algebra books soon, because students in junior high are moving into material they have never covered before. He expects there will be a greater number of students in higher level high school math courses in the near future...and th high school will need to be prepared.

Initially, grade five teacher Doug Salo wanted to scrap the entire program after working with Everyday Math. But after one month, he came back to Superintendent Todd Cameron and said it is the best thing hes ever seen in math instruction. In a recent test, his students all passed with over 80 percent.


Grade six teacher Laurine Braukmann said that all of her students test scores have improved--including the ones that struggle in math.

Recommendations for the future were presented by Superintendent Cameron.

---Teachers may need a refresher inservice to reinforce their approach to the program.

---Basic facts need to be worked on with more consistency, and more time.

---Better communication with parents is needed so they know what is expected of them and their students in the area of math.

Days off for state tourney to be made-up after Memorial Day

The euphoria of a state basketball tournament appearance will seem like the distant past for New York Mills students who will be back in school after Memorial Day.

School was shut down for two days March 23-24, as nearly the entire town followed the Eagles boys basketball team to the state tourney.


Those days dont disappear--they have to be made up. The state requires a minimum of 173 student days.

May 30-31 will be the make up days, which means students will be back in the classroom after the Memorial Day weekend--instead of enjoying the summer sun.

The NY Mills Eagles success in wrestling also created the need for a make-up day. School was cancelled one day in February for the state wrestling tournament. That make-up day will be April 17, Easter Monday.

The New York Mills school board unanimously approved the calender at the March 27 meeting

Overhaul of playground gear proposed

Grade school kids will romp on new playground equipment, under a proposed overhaul plan.

A New York Mills parent group is mobilizing to raise funds for two separate playground projects--one aimed at the youngest students, and more advanced equipment for grade 3-5 students.

Reporting on the plan March 27 was elementary Principal Greg Esala.


Were in the process of getting quotes and ideas from three or four different companies, Esala told the New York Mills School Board.

Grant sources as well as local fundraising campaigns are planned, and parent Jennifer Arno has volunteered to chair the playground upgrade committee.

Costs are not confirmed yet, but based on one very preliminary estimate, the cost could be as high as $70,000, said Esala. However, that estimate doesnt figure in volunteer labor, which would likely take care of much of the installation costs.

Volunteering to serve on the parent committee were school board members Dan Welter and Tim Kupfer.

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