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From Kim Prothero, math support teacher in the Federal Way school district:

I have been one of the facilitators of the Federal Way Public Schools Elementary Math Adoption Committee this year. I read the news article, “New textbooks OK’d for FWay’s schools,” in June 4’s Mirror and felt I needed to write and correct several errors that were made.

• The program adopted is the Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics 2004 edition. (Your article refers to “Forester math”?) The supplemental text is correctly identified as “Investigations.”

• You refer to the fact that we have had “several” district committee meetings about this adoption. This implies we only had a handful of meetings. We met 17 times since May 2002. In the same paragraph, you state that the “committee members decided the most important criterion was an emphasis on computation skills.” The criterion that the committee used for selection were based Washington State Essential Academic Requirements (EARs), and the School Board adopted grade-level expectations. The statement you printed on computation skills emphasis did not come from our committee.

• In the next paragraph, you discussed committee membership. There were 33 committee members and 3 facilitatos. You further state that we had one teacher from each of the “35 elementary schools in the district.” There are only 23 elementary schools in Federal Way.

• We had six community members on our committee. It is untrue, as you quoted Lloyd Gardner saying, that our meeting times made over 50 percent of our community members not participate. I am very proud of the amount of community members we were able to include on this committee that lasted over a year –– many more than any of our neighboring districts included on their recent adoption committees. Meeting times were voted on at our first meeting. We had two community members that had difficulty coming to 4:30 meetings. Accomodations were made for both members, as I personally stayed late many evenings to meet their schedules. It should also be noted that late-evening meetings are very difficult for many community members and teachers with children at home.

• You next stated that a teacher from Sherwood Forest spoke out in favor of the program at our last meeting. We had several teachers speaking in favor of this adoption, but none from the school that you mentioned. Also, you spoke of three (half) of the teachers who spoke at the meeting being against the program. This is not true. None of those speaking against the program were teachers from the district.

Our school district has important work ahead, and I know we would all appreciate it if the information published from the Mirror is factual.

From Lisa Flygare:

This article (May 31, “Rough start smoothed for drug babies”) touches very close to home. I live in Federal Way and I have adopted my third son, who will be 6 in July. But I have cared for him since his biological mother gave birth to him in July of 1997. He was also a PICC baby. I really do not know what to expect as the years go by for him, but it is, and will be, an experience I would never want to take back.

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