Ithaca High School, Ithaca City School District, New York
Standards Alignment and Customization Make eMATH Curricula the Obvious Choice
Ithaca High School (IHS) is home to a math department of 16 teachers, led by 30-year veteran educator, Steve Weissburg. He says the school found eMATHinstruction (eMATH) at just the right time. As New York was transitioning to the Common Core State Standards in 2011, schools like IHS were looking for new textbooks and curricula. The standards-aligned framework, online accessibility, and customizability of the eMATH materials impressed the search committee.
Soon, teachers at the school were using eMATH lessons, homework sets, student workbooks, videos and more for Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry courses. The pass rates on the New York Regents Exams increased for all three courses and have remained high since the transition to eMATH materials. Though there were other shifts in the math department at the same time, Steve says eMATH has played an important role in this success.
There’s a lot of power in teachers using the same materials, even if they modify it. Then we can get together and have focused discussions about lessons. We’ve been doing this ever since we started using eMATH.Steve Weissburg, Math Department Chair
eMATH Provides Space for Modification & Collaboration
Steve says the eMATH curricula provides an excellent framework that ensures all content gets covered, while still giving space and flexibility for teachers to be creative and adjust to student needs, such as by adding projects and investigations. The curricula also offers a common language and structure, which aids in teacher collaboration and discussion about what worked or didn’t work about a lesson and where to supplement. Ben Kirk, who has been a math teacher at IHS for 14 years, says that eMATH materials also make it easier for educators to teach a new course or for new educators to start teaching because each course is so clearly laid out and tied to standards. The lessons are high quality, accessible, and easy to modify as needed.
Instructional Videos are Helpful for Teachers & Students
Steve says that the videos provide a useful review before teaching a new concept, and the teachers at IHS often use the videos as part of a flipped classroom model, a review for students, or as a way to catch up students who were absent. On course evaluations at the end of the year, Ben says that students report liking the eMATH materials and many students cite the videos as particularly helpful, because they offer a review of a concept or an alternate explanation.