The multi-million dollar purchase will cover the cost of a little more than 73,000 hardback books, online subscriptions and math resources for teachers and students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
SPLOST III funds are paying for the expense, and with the order being placed over the summer, students and teachers will use the new materials next school year.
Cobb’s Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause said the last math resource purchase was in 2007 for elementary and middle schools and in 2008 for high schools.
This specific purchase comes not only after the six-year review period of math resources in Cobb, but it coincides with the state of Georgia’s adoption the Common Core Standards.
Common Core is replacing Georgia Performance Standards and was adopted by Georgia and 45 other states to help ensure that all students are prepared for college or a career, regardless of the state in which they attended school.
This style of learning and curriculum is meant to change how students participate in their math classes by teaching them the process of learning and not just right or wrong answers.
Krause said the new math resources, like materials in the past, should last another six years.
“It is part of the agreement with the state and CCSD that materials should last for the life of the adoption,” she said.
If any materials don’t last that long, Krause said publishers must guarantee to replace them immediately.
The next big purchase like this due to standard changes will be in English and Language Arts.
Krause said the cost of these materials for almost 108,000 Cobb Schools students will be about $6.9 million for elementary schools, $3.4 million for middle schools and $2.1 million for high schools.
This purchase also would be covered by SPLOST III funds.
When asked why learning materials are needed for review and purchase every six years, Krause said there have been changes in classroom instruction, mostly related to technology.
“Six years is a long time to utilize the same materials,” she said. “Wear and tear on the materials is also a consideration.”
School board feedback
In order to determine which resources to purchase, Krause said her department works closely with teacher and parent groups — representative of each post — to figure out what will be best for Cobb students.
North Cobb’s Kathleen Angelucci said during the board work session last week that she doesn’t believe those individuals are being listened to though.
“I overwhelmingly heard from elementary and middle school teachers this year,” she said. “They said that they felt that the math books chosen are not what’s best for the students.”
One of the complaints was that the new materials might make it too difficult for parents to help their children with school work.
Board Chair Randy Scamihorn, who represents northwest Cobb, said he’s heard the same from teachers in his area.
Krause said she would provide the board with the feedback her department received from committee members.
Angelucci also asked Krause what would happen if Common Core Standards were no longer the guideline.
During this past legislative session, a few state politicians introduced a bill to stop the new standards.
Krause assured Angelucci that while this purchase would allow the district to be in line with state standards, it was still above what is required and should not cause any problems.
David Banks, who represents northeast Cobb, said he didn’t understand why they were buying hardback books and physical resources when so much of it is available online. He told Krause that he feels like schools in his area would benefit better from online versions.
Krause responded by saying that all of the materials they are buying are available online, but regardless of what they purchase, the costs wouldn’t be much different because publishers are charging the same for hardback books as online resources.