Rancho Santa Fe has long been known as a great neighborhood to settle down, raise a family, and get involved with the community. One of the most significant contributors to this inclusive environment is the Rancho Santa Fe School District.
The district is home to the R. Roger Rowe School, a combined elementary and middle school educating about 700 total students. Led by Superintendent Lindy Delaney, the school is constantly looking for ways to develop and improve its academic programs. Most recently, the district decided to adopt a new, more advanced math curriculum.
The curriculum follows the new Common Core State Standards. The standards expect students to master concepts on a deeper level while discouraging rote memorization.
Back in June, the district approved the standards and the pathway of math courses their students would go through in preparation for each new level.
Because the Rancho Santa Fe School District feeds into the San Dieguito Union High School District, the two have been working to determine which middle school courses would have students best-prepared for the next level of math. They are keeping in mind both the students who need to be challenged and those who need extra help.
The new curriculum was officially adopted on October 2nd for grades 4 to 8. In the process, Superintendent Lindy Delaney met with the district’s team of teachers, math specialists and principles. Together, they agreed that the district should offer advanced math at every level, because there are students in each grade who are ready to accelerate.
During the district meeting, Delaney discussed parental concerns about needing more support and resources to help their children with math. In response, the district is discussing the possibility of offering more information and tools for parents.
Said Delaney, “I really appreciated the meetings. It really gives you an opportunity to hear where the parents are coming from. I learned some things. I love to learn how we can make it better.”
This fall the Common Core State Standards are going into effect. The standards have dramatically changed the way that teachers teach and students learn. Rather than having teachers stand and direct the classroom, there is a greater emphasis on collaboration and critical thinking. Said Assistant Superintendent Cindy Schaub, “I feel like the whole math program has taken a step up.”
During an information session, parents had the chance to tour different K-5 classrooms and see math workshops in action. While some parents have indeed expressed concerns about the new math standards, honest discussions have assured parents that these changes are not only positive, but necessary.
One parent said he’d rather hire 100 employees who learned this particular way rather than the “human calculators” that students are often taught to be. He suggested that problem solving and critical thinking are the key to the future.
While the curriculum is certainly still in a new stage, things are looking hopeful. Many parents are complimenting the new changes, and future meetings are sure to address plans for even further improvement.