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Students to use new math curriculum

Tangipahoa Parish public school students will have access to the Eureka math curriculum that is ranked by the state as Tier 1 when they return to school today.

Superintendent Melissa Stilley said Eureka is one of the top math programs that are available in the United States.

"This math sharpens our children's minds. It pushes them to think outside the box and learn not just memorized facts but the 'why' and the 'how' math concepts work, and for the first time in a long time, it will put our students on a level playing field with other students across the country in terms of academic performance," she said.

Leveling the playing field is important, she said. Until now the district has been using a Tier III curriculum, which does not adequately prepare students for standardized tests like the ACT.

"I've compared it to playing sports," she said. "As a high school student, you want to play the best, not the kids in middle school or junior high, who aren't as skilled as you are. That's the way you make it to the championships. Well, our kids haven't been on a fair playing field using a Tier III curriculum. Eureka math is going to level our playing field, and over time, it's going to make our students more successful than they've ever been."

Teachers were given the new math materials late last spring and have had all summer to familiarize themselves with the program. They will be better prepared to teach the new curriculum starting day onem, she said.

Parent guide books will also be available online at www.TangiSchools.org to help parents help their students as they transition to this new curriculum.

"There is a learning curve, but your child is going to catch on and be better prepared than ever before in math," she said. "Some students will be discouraged because it's a tougher curriculum. Some may even see their grades dip a little compared to their previous success on the Tier 3 curriculum. That's to be expected. This is a much tougher, much more comprehensive math series, but our students are more than capable of doing this work."

Stilley urges parents to encourage their children as they tackle this new curriculum.

"Our parents play the most critical role in helping our students do their very best," she said. "I am confident this is going to be one of the key moves we'll be able to look back on and recognize as a chief catalyst in our students' success."