IM coursebook changes frustrate staff



Integrated math teacher Sandra Schmatjen instructs a class of IM2 students. Schmatjen works with her Professional Learning Team to adapt to new course curriculum.

In June, teachers attending optional training days recieved new, second edition IM1 and 2 coursebooks. This article is the first of a two-part series on how math teachers are making sense of curriculum changes. In the next issue, part two will explore what will happen when the district’s contract with Carnegie Learning expires in 2021.

The second edition of the disposable IM1 and IM2 coursebooks, published under Carnegie Learning, were first made available to teachers during a series of optional paid development days in the first week of June. Further revisioned materials – including quizzes, tests, and homework assignments – for IM1 and IM2 were not available for publication at the time, and were not released until August; leaving teachers just a few weeks to prepare with the new materials before the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Carnegie Learning took into account teacher input and previous challenges regarding their coursebooks, which resulted in significant changes surrounding the structure, amount of material and organization of the material within the IM2 coursebook. IM1 underwent similar changes, though to a lesser extent.

It’s just stressful. There’s five of us in the PLT….going 100 miles an hour just trying to get everything ready for the upcoming week.”

— Teacher Doug Ash

Teachers have had to adapt their curriculum and create new lesson plans, tests, and homework assignments in order to work with these new adjustments. According to RHS IM2 teacher Michelle Walton, the lack of revisioned materials initially left her colleagues at RHS unsure whether to move forward in creating new materials to supplement the second edition of the textbook, or to wait for the promised materials to arrive.

“We were sort of in this weird limbo state of just not knowing what we needed to do,” Walton said. “It really did delay our ability to know what we needed to create and what we didn’t need to create until right before school started.”

The IM2 coursebook underwent a drastic restructuring. Instead of units and chapters, the disposable book now includes modules grouped under topics, a different order to the math concepts students are expected to master, as well as a variety of topics presented in ways that are not all consistent with the revisioned materials offered to teachers. After condensing each lesson, teachers must figure out ways to present the new, condensed materials to each class.

According to OHS IM2 teacher Timmothy Broz, the length of each lesson is also “considerably different” and requires teachers to find ways to cut problems in order to avoid falling behind.

“IM2 teachers are scrambling to decide which lessons, or problems within each lesson to cut in order to save time and adequately prepare each student for IM3,” Broz said.

Teachers are also having to recreate tests and quizzes according to the new coursebooks, as those provided by Carnegie do not all adequately reflect the lessons students are taught.

To address these topics, teachers around the district have been putting in time beyond paid school hours to recreate the curriculum and create timely lessons.

I think the district didn’t inform themselves well enough about how significant some of the changes would be.”

— Teacher Chaundra Wood

Despite the extra time teachers are putting into the curriculum, they are still only a few days ahead of the students. For RHS IM2 teacher Doug Ash, transitioning into the new coursebooks has left him with very little time to focus on other work.

“It’s just stressful,” Ash said. “There’s five of us in the PLT….going 100 miles an hour just trying to get everything ready for the upcoming week.”

The IM1 coursebook also underwent similar changes, such as reorganization of content. According to Chaudra Wood, who serves as the lead teacher of the IM1 professional learning team at RHS, the new edition of the IM1 coursebook has caused teachers similar problems, as they are unable to fit all of the offered content into the curriculum.

“It’s just very tough to be given curriculum that your not even capable of fitting it into your time allotted to teach the kids,” Wood said.

Wood believes the changes math departments around the district are currently undergoing are more far-reaching than anyone was initially lead to believe.

“I think the district didn’t inform themselves well enough about how significant some of the changes would be and how much work it really is,” Wood said.