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Change is constant and necessary in education Ed Brand | Sat, Dec 07 2013 12:00 PM

We live in world where speed and change are no longer the exception, they are the norm. We are constantly reminded of new technology, new products, new trends and new approaches in doing things that are different than way that we’ve been doing them for years.

While some people fear change or are uncomfortable whenever change is made, Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

In education, change is a constant – changes in curriculum, changes in classroom instructional methods, changes in measurement of student achievement. In the Sweetwater Union High School District, like in every other district in the nation, change is upon us with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

In the Sweetwater District, a new and exciting curriculum change in the area of mathematics was approved by our Board of Trustees this week that will positively affect all students in the district. This policy will change the way that mathematics are taught by introducing an Integrated Math course pathway.

In the past, students have been placed in courses that covered one specific area of mathematics such as algebra, geometry, etc. The new math course pathway in the Sweetwater District aligns with the integrated math pathway option in the CCSS and the newly approved California Department of Education Math Framework.

The new courses will take key concepts that students learn in math and organize them into coherent and rigorous courses that better prepare students for college and careers post-graduation. The Integrated Math courses will begin in the Fall of 2014.

It is our belief that by making these changes, students will have a greater opportunity for innovation and will be in a better position to apply their learning to real-world problems.

In a time where Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) education is in the forefront, it’s our responsibility to give our students a real opportunity to be competitive with the rest of the world in these subject areas. The introduction of Integrated Math begins that process and we know that we will succeed.

A critical step in ensuring that change is successful is to work corroboratively. We are very grateful to all those that provided their input for our math pathways - teachers, parents, students, alumni, our feeder elementary districts and partners from Southwestern College, San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

I’ve often said that if the rate of change outside of an organization is greater than the rate of change within the organization, then the organization will not succeed.

At the Sweetwater Union High School District, we continue to make efforts to keep pace with what is going on outside of our organization – the new technology, the new products and the new and innovative ideas that have not even been thought of yet.

We will continue to support efforts that bring opportunities directly to our students such as the partnership with Alliant University that brings the college experience into our own backyard. We’ll also continue to work hard on ensuring that our students take advantage of the Compact for Success, a program that has received numerous local, state and national recognitions over the past 14 years. Programs such as these are ways that we can not only keep up with change, but stay ahead of the curve in providing academic opportunities for our students.

We know that in the future, it will be our students who will be setting the pace for innovation in the world. That is why we will continue to make every effort to prepare our students today.

Brand is Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent.

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Fran Brinkman Says:

Thu, Dec 12 2013 08:17 AM

Dr. Brand is once again promoting Alliant University which is in serious financial trouble,as reported over two months ago. They are selling their campus .Dr. brand wants to get our students into Alliant for his own selfish reasons. The prohibitive costs should have been reason enough not to support Alliant. Dr. Brand is about one thing only himself. He will need a new position after he is run out of Sweetwater and is setting up his new position. With a new board and Brands decisions being looked into a lot of things will be dropped, and we hopefully can get back to the business of education. brand will soon be a distant memory. Brand states in this article that he has worked corrobboratively with SWC and the elementary districts,what a joke. Dictators like Brand only dictate.

sosocal Says:

Wed, Dec 11 2013 10:29 PM

Ed Brand, poster child for self-serving poseur, twisting educational goals to suit himself and his coterie of pals, who feed off the children's fare. Remember the immortal words of Ruth Chapman: "If Ed Brand's lips are moving, he is lying!".

My two cents Says:

Wed, Dec 11 2013 08:41 PM

How ironic, the only thing that doesn't change in the district are the superintendent
and the board. Also, change in education is not necessarily a positive. There's a whole generation of adults who can't spell because of misguided and poorly implemented "change". Where are the longitudinal studies that prove that this new change will benefit the students. Speaking of proving that things are beneficial - proofs are what we teach kids yet don't seem to be concerned with in all these educational "changes."
Change is also coming in educational funding - it's called Local Control Funding Formula. Everyone in the district has a legal right to be included in the funding decision being made. Educate yourself on the LCFF and speak up at board meetings!

Don Ramon Says:

Wed, Dec 11 2013 06:18 PM

Ed Brand pretends to care about the students in Sweetwater Unified School District . If this were true there wouldn't be five Science teachers at Otay Ranch High that have no dedicated lab space, so much for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) education . Not having labs for five teachers affects approximately 800 to 850 plus students each year. If Ed Brand were serious about (STEM) education he would have addressed this issue at the start of the school year. The students deserve labs were they can experiment and explore but they are being denied this hands on experience. Ed Brand has the power and the finances to change this. However, what has he done to address the problem? Nothing

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