Mathematics

Core Values

Our math teachers are dedicated to helping our students develop their interest in math and build a math foundation that will help them to thrive in college and beyond. Our department philosophy and our approach to teaching and learning are founded on four core values:

  • Helping students develop a growth mindset toward math enhances their learning

    Too often, students have viewed struggle in math as an indication of failure or as an indication the student is not a “math person.” We believe all students can be successful in math. We want our students to know that successful people struggle quite often - in fact, as problem-solvers, mathematicians and really any other creative person, spend most of their time struggling with problems - and they enjoy the challenge. They view mistakes as feedback, not failure. If one approach doesn’t work, then their response is to figure out why and try another. We encourage our students to view struggle and mistakes as part of the learning process - and as an indication that they are challenging themselves. We want them to respond by trying again and we want to give them strategies for stronger resilience and perseverance. We believe in giving students multiple opportunities in the learning cycle to master a concept, with the teacher providing guidance and feedback along the way. The development of a growth mindset towards struggle will only become more important as students advance toward college and career, where success will depend on a desire to take on new challenges and a willingness to struggle with them.

  • Procedural fluency should come through conceptual understanding

    Fundamentally, we want students to be making sense of the math from the start of freshman year. Procedural fluency is important, but it should come through sense-making. Asking students to present and explain their thought process not only helps to verify understanding but also helps to show students that there is often more than one way to solve a problem. Sense-making discussion helps students understand why procedures work, which helps students apply them more adeptly and more flexibly.

  • We're developing problem-solvers

    Math is problem-solving, not recipe-following. And as students move on in math and in life, they will increasingly face problems they initially won’t know how to solve. From the start of freshman year, we want to help students develop important skills which will empower them as they move through the math curriculum. Defining objectives, applying previous math knowledge, and forming strategies for effectively utilizing all available resources are all essential problem-solving skills. These skills are important not only for success in our upper division courses, but also for success in college and career.

  • Collaboration improves learning and prepares students for college and career

    Our department teachers use a variety of instruction methods, but we believe students particularly benefit when they are problem-solving in groups under the active guidance of an instructor. We strive to give them discussion-worthy problems which are open in nature, and which support both accessible entry points and high ceilings, to accommodate a full range of learning. Teachers engage with students through direct instruction and guidance, but also by encouraging discussion and debate within teams that prompts students to share different ways to think about a problem for deeper learning. This not only leads to deeper understanding, but in the process, students also learn valuable teamwork and collaboration skills that will serve them in college and beyond.

The Math Curriculum Course Map (below) illustrates the sequencing of course offerings. The math core consists of Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Completion of the core, or its equivalent, is required before a student is allowed to enroll in advanced electives. There are regular and honors/AP sections of almost every course (e.g. Geometry and Geometry Honors).

Three full years of math are required for graduation, but four is highly recommended.

Program Offerings

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Curriculum Course Map

 

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Possible Pathways

 

HONORS & ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) PROGRAM

The purpose of offering Accelerated, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses is to provide students who possess both the academic talent and interest in mathematics an opportunity to be challenged in a way that a regular course would not offer. This challenge stems from teachers stretching the student’s mathematical knowledge by examining topics in greater depth/detail and moving at a faster pace. Expectations of students enrolled in these courses include exemplary comprehension of the prerequisite mathematics, a commitment to active class participation, a passion for learning, and a dedication to the responsibilities that accompany the rigorous academic study.

In recent years, the mathematics department has changed its policy of advancing students based on accelerated summer work. Click HERE for complete details.

Courses