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Board Considers Buying Textbooks, Materials

District Superintendent Dr. William Shirk, left, and board President Matt Alexander as they prepared for a February committee meeeting

UPPER POTTSGROVE PA – After several open-to-the-public discussions, teacher reviews and endorsements, and rounds of negotiations with vendors over costs the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors on Tuesday (April 11, 2017) will consider investing more than $711,000 in new mathematics and English textbooks and related materials for students in kindergarten through 12th grades.

Adoption of the curriculum, to be purchased by the district for use over six years, appears as four separate items on the board agenda during its meeting scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Pottsgrove Middle School, 1351 N. Hanover St. The event is free to attend and open to the public. Copies of the agenda are available for download from the district website, here.

Board members, administrators, and faculty and staff representing all five school buildings gathered for months to evaluate and compare education programs, and debate their merits or detriments. Directors say the change in books and supplements is due in part to the persistent need to upgrade what students learn and how, as well as the desire to rid the district of existing programs – math is most often cited – that failed to raise student proficiency in their subjects.

For math beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the district proposes to rely on:

  • In grades 6-8, the “Envisions Mathematics” series published by Pearson Education Inc. to replace the existing “Connected Math” program; and in grades 9-12 the same series to replace current “Carnegie Learning” materials. The total cost is estimated at $147,280; and
  • In grades K-5, the “Math In Focus” series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to replace the existing “Everyday Mathematics” program. Cost: $147,011.

For English and language arts, the district intends to transition to:

  • In grades 6-8, the “My Perspectives” series published by Pearson. Cost: $82,424; and
  • In grades K-5, the “Reading Wonders” series published by McGraw Hill. Cost: $334,935.

The purchases includes teacher editions, online licensing for students and teachers, student editions, and curriculum materials. Once the license period ends, the district can choose to review other programs and upgrade to them, or extend licenses for current programs.

Also Tuesday, the board is scheduled to:

  • Receive a presentation by middle school guidance counselor Cristina Kleinfelter on addiction education and school-wide positive behavior support programs;
  • Hear reports from its student representatives, Senior Maya Stehle and Junior Mason McIntyre;
  • Take action on 14 different personnel items; and
  • Consider approval of contracts for student assistance programs and legal consultation, and the payment of and change orders for remaining invoices related to the renovation of Pottsgrove High School.

Photo by The Post Publications

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