Principal's Note

Jim Woytek

Jim Woytek - Principal

The mission of the Gunnison Elementary School is to develop lifelong learners in a safe, caring environment by providing a standards-based instruction at each student's level, meeting assessment targets, and increasing individual achievement.


Dear Families,

My two older brothers are both engineers, so math is one of their strong suits. It’s something they use every single day—and not just basic arithmetic, like I use. My niece recently came home after school and my engineer brother had a bit of a struggle helping her with math. Both parents and kids can be frustrated with the “new” way of teaching math. Some of you, like my eldest brother, might ask, “What’s wrong with how I learned?” Well, the simple answer is that culture, technology, and our economy have changed more in the past two decades than it did in the first 150 years of our country’s existence. We’re educating students and training them for a world in which 2/3 of the jobs they’ll be working in don’t yet exist. Granted, memorizing math facts is as important as knowing your sight words. And yet, the Colorado Academic Standards and Common Core State Standards challenge students to learn the fundamental concepts and real-world application of mathematics that far surpasses what we ever did in our education. Memorizing an algorithm to solve an equation isn’t our goal for our students. Our goal is give students the tools to be creative problem solvers who have a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Suffice it to say, it can be frustrating to have a conversation with a child and feel like you’re speaking a different language. (I think that happens with far more than math, though!). My hope is that some of the following resources can help with both the why and the how of teaching 21st century math skills. You can visit the Math Learning Center Family Resources Page for insights into our new curriculum, Bridges, and a brief overview in English and Spanish. You can read five simple ways families can help with math, learn about educating students for a new type of economy, and look into some free math apps. Our teachers are taking great care to meet the needs of all students in math instruction and I hope that some of these resources may support your learning as adults!

Have a wonderful weekend. 


Jim Woytek

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