Math Enrichment

The Foundation recognizes that TPES is so fortunate to have Ms. Ott's dedication to excellence!  It isn't always about spending money; it is ALWAYS about implementing the RIGHT programs!  The Foundation funds Math Enhancement, lead by Mike Fitchett, who replaced Brian Tash from last year as the expert in mathematical process and critical thinking.  Mike is working with TPES teachers in and out of the classroom in augmenting the delivery of the San Diego Unified Math curriculum, creating true mathematical reasoning and understanding among TPES students.  See what our teachers have to say about the techniques they have been learning this year and about the math expert, Brian Tash, from last year!

Below are some practical suggestions for TPES parents as well as answers to common questions about the math program and the Common Core Standards.

What is being done at TPES to ensure students meet the level required by Common Core? 
To start with, teachers are increasingly focused on raising the computational fluency of TPES students. Computational fluency consists of accuracy, efficiency and flexibility. Also, problem-centered classrooms allow students to build on their problem solving skills and work collaboratively with their peers.
How can TPES parents help students at home?

Have your child explain how they are thinking about the problem and how they are solving it.

Let them grapple.

Ask questions. How did you know? Can you explain? Can you tell me again?

Share your thinking with them as well.

If your child is struggling with a concept, lower the number amounts and then raise them back up slowly.

Rush to the algorithm

Be in a hurry to increase the difficulty level

Given that TPES is already ahead of the Common Core Standards, do the new standards add anything to our kids' learning?

The work currently being done goes beyond the Common Core requirements. We have amazing teachers here and we are giving them the tools to always be one step ahead of their brightest student. Our kids are learning to approach problems from multiple dimensions.


What about higher level students, the ones that move at a quicker pace? Have their needs been taken into account?

With the kinds of routines being used, problems can be differentiated by learning ability. Teachers can ramp up the difficulty level of individual problems. Students can be asked to go deeper or find a different way to solve a problem. Bonus problems are also given in some classrooms. Students who are high level problem solvers sometimes need development in other mathematical practices. For instance, there are high ability kids who can solve a problem but can't articulate how they solved it or can only solve it one way. A dynamic group enhances learning for these students because kids who are more flexible problem solvers can show them things they wouldn't have learned before.

Are some curriculum topics being delayed or dropped in order to focus on depth?

Some of the things being delayed will be caught up later. Since we know that the number sense of the students will have grown at that point, it will make less of a difference. There are places in the curriculum that are "dead ends", meaning they have no coherent connection to the build up of one concept to the next. These are being reduced in emphasis or dropped.
How are we tracking the proficiency of our students based on the new standards?
Ms. Ott: The district has developed benchmarks aligned to the Smarter Balanced assessment. TPES students were given a benchmark in December. The purpose is to calibrate what's being taught with the Smarter Balanced test. The official Smarter Balanced assessment will be given in 2014/2015. There will only be a field test this year. The biggest challenge for our students is perseverance and stamina.

Is TPES working collaboratively with Muirlands on the transition into Common Core? How is this going to affect our students currently in 5th grade?

Ms. Ott: The MMS math department has identified an assessment to be given in February for the 6th grade advanced track. A presentation is being scheduled at MMS. Principal Ott is in communication with them and will distribute more information as she gets it.


Section 5 of Article IX of the California Constitution guarantees students a “free public education.”

Torrey Pines Elementary School, 8350 Cliffridge Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037
phone: 858.453.2323 /  fax: 858.452.6923
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