Flexbooks help Georgia district keep up with math mandates
A new flexbooks program will be implemented this fall in math classrooms across a suburban Atlanta school district to keep up with changing state requirements and reduce textbook costs.
Henry County Schools is using Edgenuity software on newly purchased iPads in its math classrooms, nicknaming the program “flexbooks” because teachers and administrators will have the flexibility to create customizable math content for each classroom and student, says Assistant Superintendent Aaryn Schmuhl. Parents will also have access to the content online so they can help students with homework.
“We’re not just putting tablets in the hands of the students,” he says. “In this case, administrators and teachers are able to control what applications and resources are on the tablets in each classroom.”
Henry County schools have been facing budget cuts and looking to reduce textbook costs since 2007, while Georgia’s math curriculum requirements have changed three times in the last decade, most recently with the Common Core State Standards, Schmuhl says.
“There was a lot missing in the textbooks when it came to meeting the latest standards,” Schmuhl says. “Flexbooks allow us to customize to any changes to the curriculum from year to year, instead of using outdated textbooks.”
The district is spending just over $100,000 to have flexbooks for all students in each math classroom in grades 3 through 10. Schmuhl says this initiative will essentially be cost-neutral because the district will be spending less on textbooks.
Lya Snell, Henry County’s math coordinator, says teachers and administrators will collaborate on creating and adding content to the flexbooks. Much of the content—such as videos and presentations for math instruction—will be free or created by teachers.
“This program is really blazing a new trail for us to see if free digital sources can be applied to other subjects.” Snell says. “We’re also giving students more access to technology. It’s an exciting time for our district.”