The ACUSD11 Redbird welcomes incoming kindergarten students.ALTON - Alton Community Unit School District 11 (ACUSD11) will introduce a new mathematics curriculum and report card system for grade school students this year.

These changes aim to better support kids and increase the collaboration between students. The new math curriculum, called i-Ready Classroom Mathematics, is a program that focuses heavily on numbers and real-life applications of math. Grades K-8 will use i-Ready Classroom Mathematics “to build mathematical thinkers and lifelong problem-solvers,” Superintendent Dr. Kristie Baumgartner explained.

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“Students will try problems, discuss their thinking with peers, and connect their strategies with the strategies of others,” Baumgartner said. “i-Ready Classroom Mathematics is paired with a diagnostic assessment that allows teachers to determine individual student needs and differentiate instruction to meet each student where they currently are.”

Middle school classrooms at ACUSD11 already utilized the i-Ready Classroom Mathematics curriculum. The K-5 teachers attended professional development sessions over the summer to prepare for this new way of teaching.

The program focuses heavily on building students’ number sense, which refers to the understanding of how numbers work and relate to each other. Students will be encouraged to work together to solidify their knowledge of key concepts and their own problem-solving skills.

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In addition to the new math curriculum, K-2 teachers will implement a revised system of standards-based report cards. This reporting method measures the development of key skills.

“Unlike traditional report cards that provide one overall grade for a subject, standards-based report cards break down each subject into specific skills or standards and students receive feedback on each skill,” Baumgartner explained. “This approach aims to communicate more clearly about what students know, what they can do, and where they might need additional support.”

For example, instead of giving a letter grade, K-2 teachers might note a student’s communication skills or how well a student works in a group. The goal is to see improvement throughout the year as the kids develop. Baumgartner pointed out that standards-based reporting can also guide guardians and teachers because it clearly measures the areas where a student needs help.

“This reporting is extremely beneficial to families because it shares specific skills students are already proficient in and/or skills that may need extended practice both at school and at home,” Baumgartner added.

For more information about ACUSD11 or additional changes, visit the district’s official website. Aug. 17 is the first day of school for students.

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