By Michelle Chance

The Maricopa Unified School District will go after a new math program.

Wednesday, the Governing Board approved a committee’s authoritative power to recommend a K-12 Mathematics curriculum for the 2017-18 school year. The adoption of the district-wide curriculum change is estimated to cost between $800,000 and $1 million.

Superintendent Steve Chestnut said during a previous board meeting the district will pay for the curriculum using reserve funds to expedite the process.

Despite the price tag, supporters said updated math textbooks and curriculum are overdue.

MUSD Director of Teaching and Learning Krista Roden said the last time the district adopted math curriculum was in 2005.

Impassioned, Roden and the district’s director of Curriculum and Instruction, Wade Watson, set out to ensure Maricopa students no longer were taught from 12-year-old math books.

A visibly happy Roden was nearly speechless after the meeting.

“There’s no words; I feel like a giddy parent,” she said regarding the board’s decision.

Watson said their momentum grew when the school board asked about investigating the cost of their proposed curriculum adoption.

“As soon as they expressed that interest, we were on it,” he added.

However, the path toward adopting the math curriculum is a calculated process.

In a couple of weeks, a few district classrooms will begin piloting textbooks by three curriculum vendors: Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill.

From there, Roden said teachers will inform the Mathematics Textbook Selection Committee of the curriculum that works and those that do not.

The committee will then make a purchase recommendation to Chestnut. Once approved, MUSD will display the curriculum materials at the district office for 60 days.

The school board will make a decision whether to approve the recommended curriculum within the 60-day time limit.

Board member Torri Anderson was enthusiastic about the progress made toward the adoption.

“I know it’s a long process, but I’m glad we are getting started now,” Anderson said. “I would love for it to be done by May, but … I’m just excited that we are able to do this.”

Roden and Watson said new math textbooks will be on students’ desks come fall.

Outdated curriculum is not the only reason school officials are pushing for the adoption, however.

Students at MUSD are struggling with math, and Roden said new curriculum will raise achievement scores and garner more success on the AzMERIT test.

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