New Math Pathways Begin in 2020-21

Math Pathway plan will expand opportunities for junior high students

As part of the math program review, the Math Committee is proposing a change in course pathways at NBJH.

The change would allow for two levels of accelerated learning in addition to the core grade-level pathway. The junior high currently has one accelerated pathway and one grade-level pathway.

The three-pathway plan would add a single accelerated path to prepare students for one high-school level math class, algebra, in 8th grade. A new course will be developed to start acceleration in sixth grade instead of seventh grade, which is the current practice. The double accelerated pathway is what currently exists to prepare students for two high-school-level classes; algebra in 7th grade and geometry in 8th grade. 

“Our number-one goal is to make sure all kids are in the right course receiving the right amount of challenge,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kris Raitzer in explaining the proposal to board members at the Dec. 17 regular meeting.

Students will be placed based on their assessment data, teacher recommendation and parent recommendation. There will always be room for exceptions, which can occur along the way from teacher or parent recommendations, Dr. Raitzer said.

The change would impact incoming sixth-grade students. Parents will receive additional information in January, 2020. Current sixth-graders will be evaluated and placed in one of the four seventh-grade courses as they have been in the past. It is necessary to continue their current pathways so that students won’t repeat content or miss content in preparation for high school.

The committee, which includes teachers from every grade, administrators, math specialists and two high school representatives, recommended the change after deep analysis of achievement data, Dr. Raitzer said.

“Our goal is for every student to have a solid and sound foundation to be successful in high school,” Dr. Raitzer said. 

The course pathway plan is one of three major projects that are part of the math program review this year. The committee is also researching instructional minutes at the junior high and evaluating new textbook curriculum for all grades.