Murray County Schools plans new math curriculum for next year

File/Daily Citizen-News

Kindergarten students at Woodlawn Elementary School raise their hand to answer a question from teacher Michelle Coffelt during a class in September. Although the number of COVID-19 cases in Murray County Schools rose throughout the fall and peaked in late 2020 and early 2021, they've fallen since, and "I'm very pleased," said Superintendent Steve Loughridge. 

CHATSWORTH — Murray County Schools will have a new math curriculum for students in grades kindergarten-eight for the 2021-22 academic year.

"Any teacher who teaches math (in those grades) had an opportunity to participate in this" 18-month process, Kelly Rogers, director of elementary and early learning, said Thursday during a Murray County Board of Education work session. "If you teach math, you had a voice."

The system will announce a final decision on the curriculum later this month, but the two finalists are i-Ready Classroom Mathematics, from Classroom Associates, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Into Math, Rogers said. Teachers, who have been able to review both products, "are beyond excited, (and) this is an exciting time for Murray County."

The plan is for materials to be delivered prior to the end of this school year, so teachers can start training before leaving for the summer, then start using the curriculum with students in September when the new school year begins, she said. The cost is estimated to be "around $600,000," which would cover six years, and "that's a really competitive price."

The system will use funds from the second federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to pay for the curriculum, said Superintendent Steve Loughridge. Murray County Schools received roughly $6 million in that allotment.

Computers and technology

The school system will also use CARES Act II money to pay for "all-in-one computers for teachers," Loughridge said. Those are expected to cost nearly $200,000.

Teachers will still have laptops to use at home and school, but the all-in-one computers provide several benefits, said Israel House, director of technology. For one, "they don't have to look at that small screen all day."

Perhaps most importantly, the all-in-one computers will interface with smart TVs, which are replacing projector systems in classrooms, House said. The all-in-one computers have "more power and more Ram (random access memory)" than laptops.

COVID-19

The number of cases of COVID-19 among students and staff in the school system continue to be much lower than this winter, and "I'm very pleased," Loughridge said. "It's not like (late 2020 and early 2021), when it sometimes seemed like half the system was in quarantine."

For the week that ended March 29, 11 of Murray County Schools' 7,036 students tested positive for COVID-19, while 125 were quarantined for possible exposure, according to the school system. That same week, a pair of the system's 800 employees tested positive, while eight were quarantined for possible exposure.

By comparison, Murray County Schools recorded 53 positive COVID-19 tests among its students, with 605 quarantined due to possible exposure, for the week that ended Jan. 29, according to the school system. For that same week, 16 of the system's 800 employees tested positive, while 30 were quarantined for possible exposure.

For the week that ended Dec. 4, 2020, Murray County Schools had 17 students test positive and 395 quarantined for possible exposure, according to the school system. During that same week, six employees tested positive and 23 were quarantined for possible exposure.

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