The South Orange-Maplewood School District will be hosting a “Math KIVA” on Thursday, December 17, from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. in the library at Maplewood Middle School.
The event is being billed as an opportunity for District parents, guardians, staff, and students to discuss “the current mathematics program, course sequence, and instruction, including rationale; other ideas about how the District might approach mathematics; and a vision for mathematics programming and instruction going forward.”
In information released yesterday, District spokesperson Suzanne Turner described the KIVA as a process in which information is solicited from three focus groups while a fourth larger group provides “observational feedback.” The three focus groups sit in three inner circles, while the fourth group sits on the outside. The term KIVA is taken from a Native American practice.
A number of Village Green readers have questioned whether members of the public who show up to the KIVA will be able to participate in the three focus groups.
The answer is that the general public will not be integrated into those three groups, but, according to the District, the public’s role in the fourth group is equally important to the process.
Turner explained that the District had specifically invited a number of individuals to the three focus groups based on their areas of expertise — and had even specifically invited individuals who have been critical of the District and the math curriculum and program in order to ensure that all viewpoints are represented at the KIVA. Turner also stressed that all who come will be able to speak and be heard.
“The three inner circles include students, teachers, parents, and administrators with different experiences with and perspectives on math in SOMSD,” explained Turner. “The role of the 4th circle in observing, reflecting upon, and synthesizing the responses from the inner three circles is an essential part of the process. Members of the 4th circle will have several opportunities to speak, should they choose.”