Curriculum committee presents first look at new math-course sequence

Plan involves three branches to address varied student aspirations

Cherry Hill Public Schools Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction Scott Goldthorp and the Secondary Mathematics Curriculum Committee presented a first look at what the eighth grade math curriculum sequence for 2022-’23 and beyond might look like.

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The presentation at a Jan. 11 board of education meeting was to inform the board of the committee’s thought process, but the curriculum was not formally introduced, voted on or adopted at the session. 

The proposed plan would split the sequence from the traditional requirements of Geometry, Functions, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus to only require Algebra 1 and Geometry. After Geometry, students will have the choice of three pathways: Quantitative Literacy, Statistics and STEM. 

The STEM pathway most closely mirrors what is currently in place, and would offer Algebra 2 for its first course. The other two pathways enable different kinds of math to be introduced. Quantitative Literacy is geared to students who may be interested in humanities or technical fields, and its introductory course is Quantitative Reasoning. Students would review number, ratio and proportional reasoning, mathematical modeling, predicting with probability, statistics and data analysis. 

The Statistics course is an Introduction to Data Science and is geared to students who may be interested in pursuing research or data analysis. Students would review the idea of data and visualizations, making inferences, justifying conclusions and probabilities, data collection methods and predictions and modeling. This pathway is meant for students who may be interested in research and data analysis. 

By comparison, Algebra 2 looks at functions, inverse functions and transformations, logarithms, absolute value, piecewise functions, complex numbers, radical and rational equations and functions, polynomial equations, functions, end behavior and trigonomic functions and models. The course would be geared to students looking at careers in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

For the upcoming school year, the committee proposed consolidating Algebra and Introduction to Functions at the eighth grade level into one algebra course and implementing the initial pathway courses in the 2023-’24 school year.

In response to board member Dr. Benjamin Rood, who asked about the flexibility in switching pathways mid-track, Goldthorp explained that students do have the flexibility to move between tracks and jump in, with the exception of perhaps some of the STEM courses and Business Calculus that involve specific prerequisites.

In other news:

  • The board will review the book “Wish Tree,” by Catherine Applegate as a sixth grade whole class novel
  • Data Analyst Val Schmid-Sadwin presented the Start Strong test results by school, grade and subject. The test was not meant to predict the scores for the NJSLA (NJ Student Learning Assessment) in the spring, but served as a one-time test to measure the disruption in learning from the pandemic. Across all grade levels, K-12, the Start Strong results showed the most support was needed in Mathematics, Science and ELA (English and Language Arts). 
  • Other course proposals for 2022-’23 in the high school include Career and Technical Education Programs like Filmmaking (Broadcasting 3), Design/Build 1,2,3 (formerly Design) and increased opportunities for STEM exposure in high school through Neuroscience and Society, the Science of Cooking, Toxicology and Animal Behavior.

In the upcoming weeks, parents can look for:

  • High-school open houses: Cherry Hill West on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., East on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. The latter may be virtual depending on COVID transmission rates.
  • Genesis Parent Portal: Feb. 7 to 28
  • Open enrollment deadline: Feb. 28
  • Course request process closes April 1.

The next board meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Malberg Administration Building. It will also be available remotely and online.

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