As prompted by complications with the new schedule, a new summer math program, starting in June 2016, will be available to incoming freshmen and sophomores who want to reach calculus by senior year.

The program is a 6 week course, on Mondays through Thursdays from 8-12 o’clock. Starting on June 27th, students who have paid the fee of $575 will start their course, Algebra I for incoming 9th graders, and Geometry for incoming 10th graders.

Debbie Hsiao, a student taking Geometry this summer, says she wanted to take a math class over the summer because “I would be able to take more electives during [sophomore] year” and still reach calculus senior year.

The course was designed so that sophomore students would be able to enroll in only one math class during the school year, and still have the ability to take calculus their senior year.

Dr. Duclos, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, confirmed that the district is offering the new program “to provide students with another option for reaching calculus without having to double up in the sophomore year.”

Some students do not want to double up on math classes because they believe it is too much work. Hsiao confirms this, and says that she definitely “wouldn’t have taken a second math class” if there had been a summer school option for her to take.

Math Department Head Ms. Richard disagrees. She states that it is “common practice” in other school districts to take these two math classes concurrently, because the classes are “different” from each other. Dr. Duclos agrees, and doesn’t think it requires excessive work to double up on math classes.

Some parents have also requested that the math curriculum be changed so that Algebra I is taught in 8th grade, rather than freshman year, so all students may take calculus by the time they graduate.

Dr. Duclos says that “we are presenting this recommendation to the school committee now,” and “the district has already held a parent forum on the topic.” Hsiao opposes this suggestion, and says it would be “too challenging” for some 8th grade students to be taking Algebra.

Currently, all sophomore students are required to enroll in two math classes during the school year. Next year when the new schedule is enacted, the district will be “making it voluntary,” to take two classes, according to Ms. Richard. Instead, either taking summer math or enrolling in a second math class in place of an elective will be available to students.

An informative meeting for parents was held on January 12 to discuss the proposed idea of taking Algebra in 8th grade.
By Sarah Cain