Middle school students in Cupertino are known for their motivation to learn and take the most challenging coursework. However, they often work too hard for something that may not reap the most benefits. This is true of math, an area where students experience the most frustration. There are a few reasons for this.
- Math learning is consecutive and sequential. Parents and students often are not aware of the math sequences and contents that make up each individual math course, or the importance of aligning the sequence of courses. The different names of math courses are not intuitive, especially when the term “integrated” is applied.
- Teachers may or may not follow through with the sequences and finish all contents areas that are required. Grades indicate how well students have learned the topics and concepts that the teacher has covered, but grades do not provide assurances of how completely students have learned the course.
- There is no coordination between two different levels of math or collaborations among teachers at different levels. The higher-level teachers know very little about the status of learning in their student’s prior courses. Each teacher teaches on his/her own in his/her own classroom.
- Students are already struggling to understand the curriculum and assessment strategies for each course. Most of them do not comprehend what to anticipate next.
To ensure success in math learning at each level, a common thread that runs through different levels in math learning is needed. Successful math learning rests on the completion of prior concepts and contents. It also needs to include proper scaffolding, or the breaking down of numbers in a way that students understand, and in making sure that students finish all content required in each course at each level. There needs to be a robust overall strategy in curriculum structure and delivery.
To address these current concerns, Young Scholar Program (YSP) at Legend College Preparatory offers middle school math with an overall strategy that makes learning intuitive and effective. Algebra 1 and 2 are combined into one course, and Geometry and Trigonometry into another. This arrangement ensures continuation and completeness in math learning. It also removes the traditional gaps in learning that can occur when students study math out of sequences over time with different teachers, and where no collaboration has taken place. YSP offers combined courses that are taught with the clear goal of getting students ready for Pre-Calculus Honors and AP Calculus. And all math courses at LCP are U.C. approved.
In addition to a clear and properly aligned curriculum, middle school math at LCP also fully incorporates the College Board’s Pre-AP curriculum. Middle school students who finish these U.C.-approved courses will earn a transcript with official Pre-AP Algebra 1 and Pre-AP Geometry designations in their transcripts starting 2020-2021 school year.