Carter in the classroom

Dallas ISD superintendent believes new math curriculum is the way to improve skills

NBC Universal, Inc.

Get ready --- your child's math homework may look a little different soon.

Dallas ISD has adopted a new $8 million math curriculum they hope will help students master and improve math scores. It's one part of the curriculum changes DISD's superintendent has prioritized this year.   

For three years now, teachers at Anson Jones Elementary have been quietly teaching students different ways of doing math.

"When they started, some of them they didn't know their numbers like they didn't know where the numbers were, the commas, where they were at," said Yamileth Cedillos, teacher. "By the end of the year, I saw that they grew slowly but they got there."

The change came after the district asked teachers here to use a new curriculum called Eureka, which tosses out the way all of us learned math for something new. 

"At first, they struggled, obviously, because it was different. And parents try to help them and the parents will come to me and be like, this is different. I didn't do this when I was in school," said Cedillos.

You don't multiply with an 'X' and a line bar but instead, chart it out by place value.

The students say their teachers let them choose which math methods work for them as long as they show their work and get the right answer and they've been creative on how they get there.

Teachers say it's another tool to help visualize how math works.   

They worried it was so different than what's on STAAR tests that the kids would struggle, but they didn't, some scores went up and kids' confidence did too. 

All DISD schools have adopted this method or another similar one and while it may take something you've always known and turn it on its head, teachers at Anson Jones say they did. It will be tough for some to grasp at first, but in the end, worth it.

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