CLEARFIELD – During Monday night’s regular meeting, parent Charlie Lombardo, whom is also a school board candidate, criticized the newly implemented Chicago Math curriculum at the Clearfield Area High School.
Lombardo said his daughter was a ninth grade student, and he’s given the new math curriculum some transitional time. However, she’s not grasping the material after reviewing her textbook. “It’s my understanding the teachers are teaching for like 15 minutes and then they’re getting into groups.”
At that point, he presented paperwork portraying his daughter’s grades to school board members. He said it “blew his mind” how a student as bright as his daughter was performing so poorly.
According to him, high school students have been struggling with reading, and the new Chicago Math curriculum requires a lot of reading from the students. He said if students struggle with reading, they’re naturally going to struggle with the new math.
“Why wouldn’t you work on the reading first?” he asked. “My daughter is frustrated. She works hard; her grades prove it. In the eighth grade, she was in Algebra I, and her grades were good. Now, her math grades are terrible. She’s just not getting it.”
In addition, Lombardo said information regarding the parent meetings was posted on the district’s Web site. He asked why letters weren’t sent home to the parents, while everyone doesn’t regularly check for information online.
Board President Dave Glass indicated school officials contacted parents via a SchoolReach message. Lombardo said he hasn’t received any SchoolReach calls since his daughter was a middle school student. Glass said that Lombardo and any parent who isn’t receiving them should contact the district to remedy the situation.
According to Lombardo, none of the students understood the Chicago Math curriculum. Glass disagreed and indicated he knew of some students who did. Lombardo figured maybe 30 percent of the students were getting it and refused to believe otherwise until school officials proved it on paper.
“My daughter sits in a group of four. No one gets it. She sat there at home tonight and says, ‘dad, I’m reading this book. I’m just not getting it,” he said. He’s pursued tutoring for his daughter but said he will not force her to drop out of school activities.
Lombardo said he was in contact with teacher Mary Hindman about a month ago, and she believed his daughter’s grades would improve with time. He said they have not.
Vice Principal Heather Prestash welcomed Lombardo to visit the high school and meet with its administration and observe a mathematics class. Glass also encouraged Lombardo to contact school officials for an appointment, and if he still wasn’t happy then to contact Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto.
During her report, Prestash said that Principal Kevin Wallace along with other school officials met with members of the math department about the students’ progress under the new Chicago Math curriculum. She said Wallace planned to address a letter to parents with concerns based on his meetings with them and feedback from the parental meetings.
Student representative Dayna Hedges reported she’d spoken with Prestash, and students in grades nine through eleven would be surveyed for feedback regarding the new math curriculum. In addition, she said students have utilized the ninth period for remediation in math and other subject areas.