Archives for the month of: September, 2013

From “This Week in the Irvington Schools” 9/28/2013:

IHS Teacher Mr. Barry Named as Mercy College Westchester/Rockland Outstanding Teacher of the Year

We are very excited to announce that Mr. Chris Barry has been named as the recipient of the Mercy College Westchester/Rockland Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for 2013. Mr. Barry has committed 24 exceptional years to the field of education, the last 14 here in Irvington. Both in the classroom as well as on the track and cross country course, Mr. Barry has consistently demonstrated an incredible way of connecting with students and supporting their advanced learning. We are honored to acknowledge Mr. Barry as the recipient of this prestigious award.


I say “substantially” because the math gap between Chappaqua and Irvington may not be statistically significant. Hard to say.

(My statistician friend says that the enormous gap between Irvington & Dobbs Ferry is large enough that we should assume statistical significance there. For Dobbs to adopt the best math curriculum in the English language and produce results that poor — not good.)

This is wonderful news. Wonderful. I’ve read the sample questions for 8th grade, and I’ve had a child go through the middle school accelerated math track back when it was far more accelerated than it is now (at least, according to what I picked up at a BOE meeting a few years back).

My impression:  many if not most students taking algebra that year would have had difficulty passing this test.

Of course we want everyone passing the test (or at least 90% of all students in the class) — and we can get there. 

District Gr 8-Math. Gr8-ELA
3 or 4
3 or 4
Chappaqua. 75% 71%
Blind Brook. 70% 71%
Irvington 68% 57%
Briarcliff 68% 75%
Byram Hills 68% 74%
Yorktown 67% 57%
Bronxville 65% 66%
Scarsdale* 61% 70%
Bedford 53% 50%
Dobbs Ferry* 30% 58%

*Singapore Math

I attribute this improvement to 3 factors:

  • At least 12 years of parent activism on the issue of math curriculum, math teaching, and math achievement
  • The Parents Forum, which ended the era of one-way communication (administration/BOE to parents, but not parents to administration or parents to other parents beyond their circle of friends and acquaintances) and made it possible to keep the math issue alive from year to year, month to month, and even day to day  (Here’s one of my favorites, from 2010:
  • Interim curriculum director Maryann Doyle’s decision to teach math facts to “automaticity” via timed worksheets

Worksheets were the magic. All “tool” and “component” skills must be learned to a criterion of speed as well as accuracy, and timed worksheets make that happen very quickly.

Mad Minutes are a student’s friend.

All scores for Westchester County schools

Sample ITBS report | ANNOTATED

Pages from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills Guide for Administrators (posted by University of Memphis)