NORWALK, Conn. — The Teach-to-One math program is “pretty bad,” according to a Nathan Hale Middle School seventh grader.
“In TTO, students do not progress and stay behind. For example, someone I know who finished 6th grade last year, only finished 20% of math. He still got a B+” Emma Aponte states, in a petition she created.
The petition was posted on Nov. 10 and had 64 signatures Monday evening. There are seven comments from parents who agree with Emma.
“My son loved Math all through elementary school,” one wrote. “It was his favorite subject and he excelled in it. Notice the past tense, he hates it now cause if this program. That is a huge problem for him and me. Please get rid of this Math program so my son could love Math again!”
Norwalk Public Schools debuted Teach-to-One as a pilot program in 2017, at Nathan Hale. It’s personalized math instruction for every child, NHMS Principal Albert Sackey said in March 2017. Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski encouraged BoE members to go see a TTO class in action, saying, “I think you’ll be extremely impressed. I think you’ll also see students are learning to become independent learners, the confidence level of students in a subject that is not the natural inclination of many of us. It is incredible.”
In August 2018, he attributed improved math scores to Teach-to-One.
Emma’s petition states:
- “TTO doesn’t even care how good you are at math. If you don’t even try on exit slips (mini quizzes), you can still get an A. This motivates students to not try.
- “TTO is boring and repetitive. You are stuck on the computer all day bored. Some of us don’t even do math, we play games. Math is suppose to be fun, but because of TTO it is now a chore.
- “TTO isn’t a better program than a regular classroom, so what’s the point? Kids don’t enjoy math anymore. You might argue it improves MAP Testing, but a single test doesn’t tell you how good a kid is at math.
- “TTO mixes grade levels. This means no matter what you do, it’s never gonna be your grade level. It can be lower and higher grade levels. In my opinion, you should just do your grade level work.”
NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams did not reply to an email asking for a response to Emma’s petition.
“We are aware of certain problems with the Teach to One math program,” BoE Curriculum Committee Chairman Bruce Kimmel wrote. “We have hired a consultant to examine its strengths and weaknesses, and how to use the program going forward, even if only on a limited basis. The district has already begun the process of reworking its entire math program.”
“TTO judges math grades by participation and by pace,” Emma wrote in a PowerPoint presentation not attached to the petition. “It doesn’t matter how good you are at the lesson. This means if you fail miserably and don’t try at all at exit slips, you can still get an A. This motivates kids not to try. You are also on your own pace, so this means if you are behind you stay behind.”