Gillett to adopt enVision Mathematics

New math curriculum looks at a more collaborative approach to learning
Luke Reimer

The Gillett School Board unanimously approved a resolution to update the district’s math curriculum during its May 18 meeting.

The resolution comes after district instructional coach Tami McQuillan explained that the current mathematics curriculum is out of date and needs to be looked at. She recommended that the district moves forward with enVision Mathematics, which looks at more of a team approach to learning, as opposed to a teacher lecturing.

“The math standards were revised in 2021, and the biggest shift in teaching mathematics now is that it is no longer, ‘Watch me do the problem,’ but is more about the concept of, ‘You are mathematicians as doers — problem-solving, collaboration, teamwork,’” said McQuillan. “It is a balanced approach, so you have a conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, as well as application.”

She also noted a gap between middle and high school in state test scores as another reason why the district wanted to look at new curriculum and resources.

“It has been a long time since we have vertically aligned our math curriculum — 6-12,” said McQuillan. “It is important that we do that, so we have a coherent and logical plan for the learning that occurs at all of the grade levels. If we see some struggles, now we know where to target that.”

McQuillan explained that enVision Mathematics revolves around real-world application, where students are asked to think, reason and collaborate, while using math language.

“It is easy to use. It is set up similar to the middle school concept that they are using now, and the most important aspect is that there are all kinds of resources, in terms of videos, assessments and slides,” said McQuillan. “That is something that we have been missing.”

“Everything is online, so a parent can go online and click on what they are doing,” added resource teacher Charlie Breed. “It won’t be any more of this, ‘Oh, I didn’t know what I was doing,’ or ‘I don’t know what my child is doing.’ So it’s all recorded, and the lessons are all there.”

Using feedback from teachers in the district, McQuillan said the emphasis on group work was a major factor in choosing enVision. This comes after a pilot test of the curriculum starting last November.

“The students were very engaged; they liked the lessons,” said McQuillan. “Part of the success is because the students are bought in and now they are understanding the why. It is hard to learn something if you don’t understand why it is working. In their small groups, the teachers were hearing them talk about math and using math vocabulary.”

In regard to cost, McQuillan said it would come out to $50,000 for six years of resources. That would not need to be paid all at once, as she said there can be a split-payment option.

“The screeners and some of those computer aspects are free when you commit to the six-year resource, versus you have to pay for those if it is a three-year resource,” said McQuillan. “The one thing that I am really excited for for the teachers and students is the intervention interpretation piece. We oftentimes focus on the intervention, but we don’t have something for the kids to do to take them elsewhere with it, and that is all part of this.”

She added that she is working on a $10,000 grant through WISELearn and CESA 4 that could be used to help pay for the professional learning costs. That grant would be good for one year.

Gillett Secondary School principal Shawn Limberg said that he is also in support of using enVision Mathematics in the future.

“My feedback is reflective of what I am hearing in the conversations that I have had with the staff through the pilots,” said Limberg. “I am on board with this being the direction that we should be going for a resource.”