Gowanda Board of Education discusses math curriculum

GOWANDA – The math curriculum was a topic of discussion at a recent Gowanda School Board meeting. High School Principal Dr. Robert Anderson approached the Board of Education about changing the current math curriculum.

For incoming freshmen, students who took the advance track in middle school will go into geometry. For students who passed the eighth-grade state exam, they are placed in integrated algebra. Students who scored low on the eighth-grade exam are placed in Math A1.

“Math A1 is half of the algebra course. Students in that track are essentially taking half the class in a one-year span. In year two they take algebra A2, the second half. As 10th graders they would take the integrated regents exam, pass and go on to another math class,” said Anderson. “It became really obvious to us with the new scores coming out in August. We felt that the way we currently sequence math did not keep pace with … New York state. It wasn’t in line with our district goals in terms of pushing kids to Advanced Regents Diploma and our building goals …”

Anderson said those who are placed into the two courses takes them out of the advanced regents track and limits math possibilities for students as upperclassmen. He proposed the district eliminate the Math A1 class and all students in their ninth grade year will take a math credit class. By eliminating the class, Anderson said there will be more opportunities for students to earn the advanced regents diploma.

Students who are currently in the A1 course will still have help with AIS services if needed and will have opportunities for extra help. There are other courses, non-Regents classes, offered by the district in algebra and geometry. These classes teach the same topics as the Regents class and the student can have the opportunity to take the Regents exam pending teacher approval. Data presented at the meeting included 12 other districts in the surrounding area – four of which have a two-year version of algebra like Gowanda implements.

Superintendent Charles Rinaldi said there has been a “paradigm shift” over the past 12 years he has been at the district.

“I think there has been a paradigm shift. The faculty … is more aggressive and more about raising a standard rather than lowering a standard to accommodate more children,” he said.

The board of education did not make any decision on the matter at the meeting.

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