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Math at BIS

2021-2022 Math Changes

During the Fall of 2019, concerns were raised within our community regarding the required student assessment scores necessary for entry into Algebra 1. To address these concerns, Assistant Superintendent Silversmith presented information during multiple School Board meetings. Below are copies of those presentations made between January 2020 and November 2020.

Following the Feb 2020 School Board Meeting, Assistant Superintendent Silversmith was asked to explore a pathway providing all students equal access to successful completion of Algebra 1 by the end of 8th grade. Then, COVID entered our world causing us to pivot to closing schools, developing virtual learning and creating multiple reopening schedules.

Knowing that a new math framework is due out this Fall 2021, Assistant Superintendent Silversmith is currently recruiting members to serve on her Math Committee to research the framework and decide which new math curriculum adoption will best support the goal of Algebra access for all.

Understanding that it will take the 2021-2022 school year to adopt new math materials, we developed a "bridge" in the interim which will allow any current 7th grader access to Algebra 1 during his/her 8th grade year,. As a reminder, this is a year following a pandemic in which instructional minutes were reduced and frequent assessment information was limited.

Since all 7th graders are currently taking Math 7, all will need to complete Math 8 next year. With this in mind, Assistant Superintendent Silversmith and I engaged our Math teachers in several discussions during the first part of this school year to explore how best to offer Algebra concurrently with Math 8. Knowing the goal was equal access, we discussed several options:

  • Offering Algebra as an elective during the school day.

  • Directing families towards the community colleges for Algebra 1

  • Providing Algebra as a zero period before or after school

  • Purchasing Edgenuity, same program used by SMUHSD, and allow students to complete Algebra within a predetermined timeframe outside of the school day.

We looked at all of these options through the following lenses:

  • Limiting electives.

  • Lack of transportation before or after school.

  • Costs of community college fees for Algebra.

  • Staff capacity

  • Curriculum materials/New Math Framework due out Fall 2021

  • Cost of additional staffing

  • Student supports

  • Concurrent learning in Math 8 and Algebra

In speaking with the Math teachers, they recommended, after studying standards in both Math 8 and Algebra, that students complete one trimester of Math 8 prior to taking a concurrent Algebra class. Edgenuity was a viable option because they can accommodate a later start timeline while still ensuring a full completion of the course. After much discussion and research, Assistant Superintendent Silversmith moved forward with the purchase of this program and included in the cost the additional live tutoring support for students. On top of live tutoring built into the program, BIS Math teachers will be available next year through Trojan Time or office hours to provide additional support.

I hope this overview provides more context around the decision to offer this temporary "bridge" program which provides all students equal access next year to Algebra 1 while our District is looking into a new math adoption. If you are interested in serving on that Math Committee next year, please contact Marla Silversmith.

math at Bhs