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September 25, 2018

Parents become students as Fulton district shines spotlight on math


In an effort to help parents better understand the math curriculum and the strategies implemented as part of the Common Core, the Fulton City School District recently hosted an information night.

Fulton City School District instructional math coach Lynnette DePoint (left) reviews array and area models with parents Elizabeth Thompson and Toby McCleery, who have a first grader in the district.

Fulton City School District instructional math coach Lynnette DePoint (left) reviews array and area models with parents Elizabeth Thompson and Toby McCleery, who have a first grader in the district.

Focusing on foundational strategies for math and some of the new terms and tools used in the classroom, district instructional math coach Lynnette DePoint and math specialists Kelly Stadtmiller, Kristine Kaufman and Amanda Haggerty led the discussion. Parents learned about number bonds, tape diagrams, array and area models, and place value charts and disks.

“I think you will find some clarity in the transitions from kindergarten up through the higher grade levels,” DePoint said as parents explored the math strategies in four separate groups.

For Sandy Criswell, who has a daughter in seventh grade, the information night provided her with a hands-on math lesson and some insight into what her child was learning in the classroom.

“I can get the answer, I just can’t always get it the same way she gets it,” Criswell said. “This encourages them to actually understand the concept rather than memorize something.”

According to Haggerty, who had several math exercises for parents to try using place value disks, the Common Core curriculum is encouraging that kind of critical thinking and helping students build a strong foundation in mathematics.

“There are tons of ways to get to an answer, but it is critical for students to understand the process and how they got to an answer,” Haggerty said. “We are promoting a deeper understanding.”

While the students are getting a better understanding of math concepts, the parents who attended the recent information night walked away with a deeper understanding as well.

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