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Math Pathways

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Math Path Ways

 

Math Pathway Descriptions

Miller Creek Middle School (MCMS) offers math courses that are aligned with the California Common Core State Standards of Mathematics. Concepts in middle school build the mathematical foundation necessary for success in higher level mathematics. MCMS math courses focus on both the content and practice standards and engage in ‘Big Idea’ thinking that enables students to engage in and grapple with rich mathematical concepts.

Math Pathways

There are three pathways a student may choose during their three years at MCMS.

 

Path ways explanation chart

Pathway 1

All students are automatically enrolled in Pathway 1 which offers one grade level course per year for three years. This standard middle school math sequence prepares students to enroll in Algebra 1 in the 9th grade and provides a solid foundation which prepares students to succeed in their college studies and/or careers. Most MCMS students complete Pathway 1.

Pathway 2

Students that choose Pathway 2 are enrolled in Math 6 for their 6th grade year and Math 7 for the 7th grade year. During the 7th grade year students also complete a Math 8 Apex independent study course online. The course is rigorous and standards aligned. Students that successfully complete Math 7 and Math 8 Apex courses may enroll in a standard in-person Algebra 1 course in grade 8. This sequence of courses prepares students to enroll in Geometry in the 9th grade. Students will complete the Math 8 Apex course independently and outside of their 7 period day at MCMS. However, the Apex course is supported by an optional, drop-in teacher tutorial twice per week either before or after school. This sequence of courses prepares students to enroll in Geometry in the 9th grade. This pathway allows students to accelerate their learning by completing four courses over three years.

(Math 6→Math7→Math 8→ Algebra 1)

 

Pathway 3

Students that choose Pathway 3 are enrolled in Math 6 for their 6th grade year and Math 7 for the 7th grade year. During the 7th grade year students may concurrently enroll in a Math 8 course which means they are enrolled in two MCMS math classes. Math 8 would be one of the student’s two elective courses. Students that successfully complete Math 7 and Math 8 will enroll in Algebra 1 in grade 8. This sequence of courses prepares students to enroll in Geometry in the 9th grade. This pathway allows students to accelerate their learning by completing four courses over three years.

(Math 6→Math7→Math 8→ Algebra 1)

 

Open Pathways & Choosing What’s Right

Any student can choose to accelerate their math learning by participating in Pathway 2 or 3. Students who typically find success in accelerating their math learning in the middle grades are students that are highly motivated, exceed grade level expectations on classroom and standardized exams, and are independent students who are able to communicate and problem solve when a concept is unclear. Families should expect double the workload when choosing to accelerate math since students are learning concepts of two math courses in one year. Decisions to accelerate mathematics need to be carefully considered. There are numerous opportunities to advance at the high school level when a child is more mature and has had the opportunity to develop a strong academic foundation.

Important Family Considerations:

  • What does your child have going on outside of school (sports, music, performing arts)? Are they interested in and able to take two math courses in one year? Board Approved 3.8.22
  • Will accelerating math courses lead to additional stress?
  • Does your child have a passion and commitment to accelerating math?
  • Will your child require a lot of additional support from family or tutors? In spring of the 6th grade year, students will indicate interest in accelerating during their 7th grade year by enrolling in Pathway 2 or 3 when doing course requests through Aeries.

 

Additional Family Resources

1. Video Link- Phil Daro: On Course Acceleration of Math Courses in Secondary Mathematics

2. Statement on the Impact of Calculus on UC Admissions: UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, April 2016


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m not sure my child is ready to accelerate but can we give it a try? The goal of middle grades mathematics is not to accelerate rather to build a solid foundation of learning to ready students for higher levels of mathematics. Higher level mathematics is not more important, it's just more complex. Middle grade mathematics is equally important as it is critical to the long term understanding of abstract concepts. If you are unsure if your child is ready to accelerate make sure to ask some important questions:

  • Does your child consistently exceed grade level standards on school and state exams?
  • Is your child able to juggle competing demands of time?
  • Will accelerating math courses lead to additional stress?
  • Does your child have a passion and commitment to accelerating their math learning?
  • Will your child require a lot of additional support from family or tutors? (This is a sign that they should focus on the grade level math class.)

If you are unsure if your child is ready, we recommend Pathway 1 or 2. Pathway 1 allows for a solid math foundation. Pathway 2 is concurrent enrollment in Math 7 and the independent study Math 8 Apex course. If your child decides part way through the year that this is not the right time for acceleration, a schedule change is not required, they just unenroll from the Math 8 Apex course. If your child enrolls in the MCMS Math 8 Pathway 3 and changes their mind, there may or may not be space in the preferred elective class and a schedule change that impacts more than one class may be required.

 

Will Algebra 1 be taught by a Miller Creek teacher?

Yes. Algebra 1 is taught by a Miller Creek teacher.

If my child enrolls in Pathway 2, how many hours a week should my child spend on Apex Math 8?

Students should expect to spend approximately 4 hours a week on the Math 8 course.

If my child enrolls in Pathway 2, when will the Apex Math 8 independent study begin?

Your child will begin their Apex Math 8 course at the beginning of September. You will receive communication from the MCMS teacher that oversees the Apex course at the end of August.

Will my student receive a grade for Apex Math 8?

Students will receive a grade for Apex Math 8.

How will my child be challenged in heterogeneous classes?

All classrooms have a range of abilities. Research shows that in mixed ability classrooms rooms, where all students engage in rich math tasks, student achievement on state tests increases for students at all levels. Research also shows that it’s the quality of instruction that makes the biggest difference. The Miller Creek Math Department uses instructional strategies and tasks that involve problem solving, require critical thinking, and the finding of creative solutions. This paper shares evidence of two professional development interventions given to 120 school districts in California. When students are provided high-level work, engaged in rich tasks, and evaluated using formative assessment, student achievement on state tests increased dramatically, for students at all levels of achievement.

If my child takes Math 8 as an 8th grader will they be able to take high level math classes in high school and college?

Yes. There are many ways to accelerate the learning of mathematics for students.

My child struggles in math. How will they be supported?

All students are presented with rigorous coursework and for some students, additional scaffolding is required. Students receive differentiated instruction within the classroom as well as during Study Hall. Some students have a modified math course and receive small group intervention. Students can also access support through online platforms.

How does my child get support with their Math 8 Apex course?

Students enrolled in Apex will have a designated Miller Creek teacher who they can email with questions and/or support. Additionally the teacher will have a drop in tutorial twice per week. It will be scheduled either before or after school.

My 7th grade student is taking Math7 and Math 8 in person and no longer wants to take Math 8. What do we do?

If your child enrolls in the MCMS Pathway 3 and changes their mind, there may or may not be space in the preferred elective class that they would transfer into and a schedule change impacting more than one class may be required.

How do I know that my child is making adequate progress in Apex Math 8?

Students have due dates for each lesson. Due dates are assigned to help families balance the lessons over the year. If a child misses a due date as a result of an illness or conflict, there is no penalty. The due dates are a suggested pacing to help each student successfully complete the course, master the content, and be prepared for algebra next year. There are assessments that indicate progress throughout the year.

My child is enrolled in Apex Math 8 and would like to transfer midyear into an in person Math 8 course. Is this possible?

Switching classes may be possible if space is available. Submit a scheduling request through the front office. Please note that the request may require scheduling shifts with your child’s other classes.

If I notice that my child is not doing well in Apex Math 8, can they opt out?

Yes, students can unenroll from their Apex Math 8 course at any time without any consequence by communicating with the Miller Creek Apex teacher.

Sign up here for Apex math.

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