Mathematics Pathway Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If all students must begin in Integrated Math 1, how will my student get to Calculus?
Integrated 1→ Integrated 2→ Integrated 3 honors→ Calculus
Every student will be able to take Calculus by their senior year if they are interested. By creating a strong foundation in middle school, students will be more prepared for higher-level math courses like Calculus. A rush to Calculus leaves some students behind. Many who take Calculus in high school need to retake it in college.
My child has always been gifted at math. How will this affect them?
Students who take Integrated 1 at RLS only benefit from 1 year of a GPA bump (when they take Calculus). In this new model, students who intend to take Calculus will get two years of a GPA bump in their math classes (GPA bump for Integrated 3 Honors as well as Calculus).
In addition to being more prepared for Calculus, their GPAs will be higher than in the current model of acceleration. Historically, SHHS has seen that students who follow the old acceleration model have lower grades, meaning a lower overall GPA, when compared to their peers who did not accelerate. Colleges prefer to see a student earning As and Bs in their math courses as opposed to taking a course a year early and earning Cs.
Previously, some students who took Integrated 1 at RLS “ran out of math classes” by their senior year. Colleges want students to take math all 4 years in high school and it is generally frowned upon to not take a math class in your senior year.
My student needs to get into a competitive college. Will this change hurt their chances?
No, colleges do not penalize students for not taking classes that do not exist at their school. Colleges will see that SHHS requires all students to take Integrated 1 as freshman and that will not be held against them. All students will still have a pathway to get to both Calculus and AP Statistics if they choose. We are not removing pathways; we are removing barriers.
What benefits are there to giving students the power to decide their math futures as a sophmore?
Students have a better idea of what they want to do with their lives in high school. If a student decides they are not interested in a STEM career, there may be no need to take Calculus. Instead, they can focus their time and energy on classes that help their future degree/career.
It gives students more options in their math classes: Statistics, AP Statistics, and Personal Finance are great course offerings that are not on the Precalculus → Calculus track. In most careers, and in life, these three courses are more valuable and useful than Calculus.
When students accelerate in middle school, they miss math topics that are not talked about again in their K-12 mathematical career. By accelerating in their junior year, they are exposed to all foundational math skills and do not end up with the “holes” in the knowledge that we typically see with students who have been accelerated past an entire year of content.
How will students of all-levels be engaged in their math classes?
Math classes have changed dramatically from the past. Students are no longer asked to focus solely on calculations, algorithms, and formulas. Teachers are trained to ask deep, thought-provoking questions that force students to dive deeper into the material.
Teachers place a focus on collaborative learning to encourage students to discuss their ideas. In this environment, all levels of students can contribute to the conversation and learn from each other.
Teachers use low floor, high ceiling problems as often as possible. These types of problems have easily accessible starting questions (low floor) but can be taken to conceptually advanced levels (high ceiling).
Students are given opportunities to engage with the class in meaningful ways. Not all students take advantage of these opportunities. If your student is saying they aren’t engaged in math class, then it might necessitate a conversation about what they are doing instead of working collaboratively on problem-solving.