Mathematics Presentation from October 11, 2016 Meeting: 

    October 11, 2016 


    Dr. Robert Scherrer, David Christopher, Gwynn Maximo, Dr. Stephanie Marshall, Sharon Kroll, Casey Shick, Elinor Avigad, Bob Bell, Suzanne Bridges, Kathy Day, Dr. Dilhari DeAlmeida, Amy DeGregorio, Harkirat Dhingra, Kathy Dwyer, Julie Evanish, Amy Franz, Sue Gaertner, Dr. Joe Greenberg, Lingga Herman, Dr. Jacki Herring, Rebecca Hufnagle, Jen Husek, Joelle Keats, Bryan Kiggins, Dr. Mary Lee Majewski, Anne Paczula, Dr. Melissa Tabbarah, Cris Ruffolo,

    Kim Wahlenmayer, Elizabeth Warner, and Ye Yanbing 


    Each member introduced themselves and their GAC representation role. Parents were asked to approve their email addresses. Minutes were distributed to all GAC members via email. No questions or concerns were presented and the minutes were approved. 

    Mrs. Kroll asked all members to complete the evaluation after the presentations or if they need to leave the meeting early.


    Presenter: Dr. Robert Scherrer

    Dr. Scherrer began his presentation by explaining that the comprehensive plan is a 6-year plan-ranging from 2014-2020. He presented the following highlights at the meeting (the entire report can be found on the District website: https://www.northallegheny.org/cms/lib/PA01001119/Centricity/domain/2185/2016/6-15-16/6-15-16_p_comp_plan.pdf 

    The six areas are as follows:


    ·         Support achievement of all students at the highest level

    ·        Continue an awareness and study of the academic pressures are students face in today’s society and looking at overall student happiness and wellness (mental health) 

    ·         Discuss growth mindset opportunities (administrator study utilizing the book Mindset by Carol Dweck book)

    ·         Identify current trends to measure student success beyond standardized test

    ·        Implement Naviance software to positively impact career/college readiness for secondary students 


    ·         Assure a safe, welcoming and well-maintained learning environment

    ·         Analyze Climate Survey for 2016 to recommend approaches for supportive school culture

    ·        Expand events within the District that highlight diversity initiatives 


    ·         Maximize efficiencies in all areas of the District for continuous improvement and resource optimization

    ·         Conduct review of facilities management

    ·         Research middle level scheduling and delivery models


    ·         Offer high quality instruction built upon curriculum

    ·         Continue the curriculum review process

    o   Interim Reviews for 2016-2017:  Music and Science

    o  Full Review– K-12 Social Studies 


    ·         Continue innovative education practices

    ·         Continue to strive to become leaders in technology integration

    ·        Facilitate and review year #2 of the FOCUS 2020 learning environment to address new technology investments and professional development


    ·         Foster a collaborative culture that invites and celebrates community support and participation

    ·         Finalize the mid-point review of the NASH Comprehensive Plan for PDE and develop new End Results 2017-2020

    ·         Continue to update and revise School Board Policies

    Questions and Answer Highlights: 

    Question 1:  Mrs. Avigad stated that she is thrilled to see the District’s concern and review of the impact pressure is having on the NA students. She spoke about the advancement opportunity at CCAC and stated that a specific teacher told students to go to CCAC or they would be behind in math. 

    ·        Mr. Bob Bell responded and stated that North Allegheny does not recommend that students skip courses over the summer and this is reiterated to the entire 6-12 Mathematics Department. Some students choose this opportunity for QPA building. If they are hiring tutors that is outside of North Allegheny’s control.  The Program of Studies is very clear about the prerequisites and the 80% -M4 pathway was decided upon through the curriculum review process.

    ·         Mrs. Kroll indicated that course compaction can occur through the GIEP process.

    ·         Mr. Christopher stated that the District needs to look at the structures that are already in place related to this concern.

    ·         Mrs. Herman stated that a parent has control whether to send their child to CCAC.

    Question 2:  Dr. Herring asked how the District will be collecting data concerning students and depression.

    ·         Dr. Marshall and Mr. Christopher will be attending a seminar on depression

    ·         Review of the waiver policy

    ·        Review of student schedules

    ·         Number of AP classes scheduled

    ·         Possible survey of psychology and counselling practices in the NA area

    ·         Review the Naviance Tool for student responses:

                Do students feel this is the “only way to keep up?”

                What is the threshold considered to be successful?

                Is stress filtering down to the elementary level? 

    Joelle Keats discussed that students are bombarded with information and that everyone wants what is best for these kids.  Cris Ruffolo spoke about the Admissions Representatives that come to the District from the Tier 1 colleges and one stressor can be guaranteed admission to medical school.  These students are only 17 and 18 and being asked to possibly make life-long decisions. Some colleges are de-emphasizing academics and looking at the recommended essay as well as extra-curricular activities. 


    Presenter: Mr. Bob Bell- K-12 Math Department Chair

    Mr. Bell presented a power point presentation on the new math program. He shared the following information at the GAC meeting (the entire Mathematics Curriculum Review Report that was presented to the School Board can be found on the District website:

    https://www.northallegheny.org/cms/lib/PA01001119/Centricity/Domain/1969/1-20-16%20Math%20Curriculum%20Review%20PPT.pdf ).

     Mr. Bell provided the following information:

    •      Last Full Curriculum Review took place in 2006 with an Interim Review in 2012

    •      Infusion of inquiry-based learning into mathematics

    •      Balance of traditional and inquiry methodologies

    •      Intersection of STEM

    •      Emphasis on professional development and new technologies

    •      The Pennsylvania Core Standards (Pre K – 12)

    •     Implementation of PA Core Standards at NASD

    •      PA Core Standards approved March 2014 by PDE

    •      Four Key Standard Areas:

    •      Numbers and Operations

    •      Algebraic Concepts

    •      Geometry and Measurement

    •     Data and Probability

    •     PSSA grades 3-8 since 2005-2006

    •     New assessment used in 2014-2015

    Mr. Bell shared the North Allegheny Mathematics Department Philosophy is based on the NCTM and the PA Core Standards.  The following are the Standards for Mathematical Practice:

    1. Make sense of complex problems and persevere in solving them.
    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
    3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
    4. Model with mathematics.
    5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
    6. Attend to precision.
    7. Look for and make use of structure.
    8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

    Mr. Bell reviewed the textbook adoptions and the review of the mathematics pathways chart.  It was recommended that the classification of level placements at the elementary level (A2, A1, and A2) be renamed to correspond to the level placements at the middle and high school level (M4, M3, and M2). This change came through survey data, which found that the current naming convention confused parents.  He shared the curriculum implementation process.  He shared that the AP Computer Science Principles course will be implemented during the 2017-2018 school year at NAI only.  Mr. Bell explained the inquiry-based approach to mathematics and shared a video which took a fourth grade mathematics problem and utilized the inquiry-based approach to solve an algorithm in a number of ways. 

    Mrs. Kroll thanked Mr. Bell for attending the meeting today and asked committee members to write down their additional questions or send an email to her and she would get these questions answered for the November meeting.


    Mrs. Kroll reviewed the April 12, 2016 evaluation summary.  The small group activity was well received to review the Gifted Education Policy and the update on the screening matrix.

    Mrs. Kroll shared that Dr. Herring, Mrs. Avigad, Ms. Maximo and she meet monthly to discuss the consumer concerns that are generated from the NAPAGE meetings and/or shared with the officers of NAPAGE outside of those meetings. 

    The following items were addressed: 

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016:  Are the new matrices working?  Are more students being screened and evaluated?

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken: Update 6/9/2016:  Ms. Maximo will be revising the screening and identification procedures found on the Gifted Education website.  This will include the revised matrices. Ms. Maximo expressed a concern that the District is still receiving a huge number of parent referrals and parents are not allowing the Child Find screening process to be utilized.  Grades 4-12 students will be screened again in the fall of 2016 using the updated screening matrices. 

    Ms. Maximo will share the data from the spring screening/testing numbers at the NAPAGE meeting and Gifted Advisory Committee meeting in November 2016 to allow for more screening and testing to occur at the beginning of the school year.

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016:  It is reported by the NAPAGE parents that the MMS GOAL compacted reading and/or English classes have 29 and 31 students as well as CMS (6th grade) being over the class size of 20 (Chapter 16 regulations). 

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken: Update 9/26/2016:

    The class size concern is resolved because more sections were added at CMS (6th grade) and MMS. 

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016:  Are new teachers in the GOAL classes required to have training in gifted special education?  If so how is this training happening? 

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken: Update 9/26/2016: Ms. Maximo stated that Mrs. Kroll met with all new GOAL staff in August (by grade level) to train teachers on GIEP writing and the GOAL program.  New teachers also work with their GOAL building peers for support, when available.  Mrs. Kroll works with the GOAL staff during designated Department In-service meetings.  Mrs. Kroll communicates all in-service information to teachers who have dual subject areas (i.e. GOAL and World Languages).  These staff members also rotate their attendance at in-service meetings.   

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016:  NAPAGE would like to see GOAL Curriculum Nights for all grade levels. 

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken:  Update 4/25/2016:  The Middle School GOAL Curriculum Night will occur in mid-September due to other scheduled District events.  

    Update 7/2016:  The Elementary GOAL Program will be presented at the Grades 3-4 Curriculum Night (September 13, 2016: 6:00-6:30 p.m.) and the NAI & NASH Curriculum Nights will be presented from 5:30-6:00 on their Curriculum Nights (NASH-9/22/16 and NAI-9/27/16).

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016:  There is concern about the fluidity of elementary math grouping and is the process being used the same way in all elementary buildings (small vs. large buildings.).  

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken: Update 4/25/2016: Ms. Maximo gathered information from Dr. Bradley.  The process is similar across buildings District-wide.  Data is gathered from the IOWA assessments, classroom performance, and teacher input.  The cutoffs for classes may differ slightly from building to building based on assuring that a math section is within +/- 5 of the average class size for the grade level.  For example, if a typical cut off was identified as 91%, but that would only allow a math class of 19, additional students may be added who scored at the 90% to assure that the class size was not significantly different than other math classes.  In regard to the number of sections of each of the math classes (M3 and M4), that is determined by the cutoff.  Some years a grade level may only have one M4 section based on student scores and another year a grade level may have two M4 sections.  This decision is based on the cohort scores for a particular year.  

    Update 9/26/2016: Mr. Bob Bell and Mrs. Sharon Kroll will be presenting an overview of the new K-12 Mathematics Curriculum.

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016: The question was also raised about the English Language Arts Plus screening across all the elementary buildings 

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken: Update 4/25/2016:  Mrs. Kroll explained that the ELAP screening and criteria is the same District-wide and all general education and GOAL teachers utilize the same process.  Mrs. Kroll works with the first and second grade facilitators to disseminate this information every year to all first, second, and elementary GOAL teachers. Reading benchmark assessments are utilized in grades 1 and 2. 

    The screening process for grades 3-5 uses the following criteria: Reading and/or Reading Total (IOWA Assessments – 97 to 99 percentile), a teacher input checklist (reading and writing), and reading grades (two different quarters are used depending on when the ELAP class is being scheduled).  Elementary GOAL teachers conduct all the screenings for grades 3-5.  

    There was also discussion at the October GAC meeting about ELAP classes having a limited number of class size spaces for students.  Mrs. Kroll indicated that ELAP classes have never had a limited amount of spaces for students.  Some buildings actually have had more than one section for a particular grade level based on student numbers.  If this is occurring, she suggested speaking with the building gifted support teacher and/or administrator. 

    Concern issued on 4/25/2016:  How is information shared at NAI, since GOAL meetings for students are no longer held due to the shortening of the homeroom? 

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken:  Update 5/5/2016: The NAI GOAL office provided Mrs. Kroll with the following information: Without homeroom, the meetings have been moved to lunch periods in the GOAL office.  Reminder text messages are sent, as well as a sign hung at the bottom of the cafeteria stairs, to remind students when there is a GOAL meeting to learn about new enrichment opportunities.  In addition to the reminder text message, announcements are posted on Blackboard, and made on the morning announcements.  For students who are not in school or unavailable the day of the meeting, GOAL PowerPoint presentations are on the GOAL website and now on Blackboard. After looking at numbers compared to last year, there are still the maximum amount of students signing up for events.  Many events that have a limit on how many students can participate need to be capped.  Meetings were conducted on Fridays (about once a month) and include:  9-25-15, 10-30-15, 12-4-15, 1-14-16, 2-5-16, 3-18-16, and 5-6-16. 

    Update 9/26/2016:  On September 29, 2016, the NAI GOAL Office reported that students will be meeting the 3rd Wednesday of every month during homeroom in the auditorium.  Students were told that they may be 10 minutes late to 2nd period due to the information that needs to be shared with the students.  The NAI Staff has also been notified and these procedures were approved by NAI Administration.   

    Concern issued on 9/26/2016:  An NAPAGE parent survey indicated that parents were unsure of the makeup homework guidelines for gifted students.

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken on 9/26/2016: Mrs. Sharon Kroll stated that the homework makeup guidelines are on the District website for gifted education (to be shared at the November GAC meeting).  Ms. Maximo explained the chain of command should parents have any issues that need resolution and they also could contact the child’s GOAL teacher (as their Ambassador).                                                                    

    Concern issued on 9/26/2016:  Parents asked why students who were evaluated and found to have an IQ at 127 or greater would be administered another IQ test the following year.

    Answer/Resolution/Action Taken on 9/26/2016: Ms. Maximo indicated that the School Psychologists would revisit the data from the student’s most recent evaluation, but would not require a repeat of the IQ assessment for a period of time.  That period of time will be best determined by the School Psychologist, and will likely not occur within the next school year.  She reported at the October GAC meeting that this had occurred and she apologized to the Committee for this oversight.  She has spoken with the school psychologists about this procedure.  


    Mrs. Kroll asked members to please fill out the evaluation before leaving today.  She will be sharing the colleges that the GOAL class of 2016 indicated that they are attending at the November meeting and thanked everyone for their participation. 

    The meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m. 

    *The next Gifted Advisory Meeting will be held on

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. (Central Board Room).