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Integrated Math Pathways

Integrated Math Pathways

Continued Implementation of Integrated Mathematics Pathways & Acceleration in Middle Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Regarding Middle School Mathematics

1. What is Middle School Mathematics in Medford Public Schools, and what courses are available to middle school students?

The Medford Public Schools’ Middle School Mathematics Department seeks to provide ALL students with a sequential successful transition between the basic arithmetic, geometric, statistical, and problem-solving skills studied in the elementary grades to the advanced mathematical skills of algebra, geometry, analysis, calculus, and statistics taught at the high school. It bridges elementary and high school mathematics, focusing on pre-algebra concepts and creating a foundation for high school-level mathematics courses. Our curriculum, based on the Illustrative Mathematics Curriculum, engages students in higher-order thinking and exploration, allowing each student to develop a deeper mathematical understanding. The Mathematics Department is centered around the Massachusetts Standards of Mathematical Practice. These eight practices frame how teachers and students engage with school mathematics:

1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. 4. Model with mathematics.
5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
6. Attend to precision.
7. Look for and make use of structure.
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

In Medford Public Schools, students will take 6th and 7th Grade Mathematics, respectively, in those grades. In 8th Grade, students can take 8th Grade Mathematics or 8th Grade Honors.

2. How will 6th and 7th grade students be challenged?

It is important to note that middle school teachers of all subjects differentiate for students in their respective classrooms. In mathematics, teachers will provide differentiated opportunities for engagement through content, the process, and the product. These activities will activate higher-order thinking while accessing the grade level standards through activities including but not limited to project-based learning and open-ended thought-provoking challenge problems. Some examples include Open Middle Problems and Illustrative Math Tasks. These activities have multiple ways to approach and solve the problem. Samples of these activities are provided in the Appendix.

By offering differentiated activities in math, students are encouraged to move away from the mindset that "mathematics" is simply about numbers and answers. The aim is to shift student focus away from isolated calculations and instead move towards the understanding that the study of mathematics is, at its heart, a mindset of problem solving. Differentiation is essential to strengthening the core mathematical behaviors of students, including the ability to recognize patterns, make connections, organize and use work to communicate thinking, persevere through challenges, and justify reasoning to others (including skeptics).

3. How will teachers develop differentiated instruction and challenging opportunities for students? What is Medford's plan to provide additional training and support to teachers?

Teachers will continue to engage in professional development opportunities specific to differentiation at all levels.

4. How can students enroll in the 8th Grade Honors course?

Beginning June 2025, all 7th-grade students will take a placement test at the end of the year. Students will be enrolled in 8th Grade Honors with the placement test results, NWEA MAP results, MCAS scores, 6th & 7th Grade grades, and teacher recommendations. Parents will have the opportunity to discuss the placement with the Principal and the Mathematics Director.

5. If my child is in Accelerated Math in 7th Grade for the 2023-24 school year, what course will they take in 8th grade?

They will take 8th Grade Honors Math.

6. If my child is in 8th Grade Advanced for the 2023-24 school year, what course will they take in 9th grade?

They will take Integrated Math 1 Honors. All incoming Integrated Math 1 Honors students must complete a summer math packet, whether they took Standard or Advanced/Honors Math at the 8th-grade level.

7. What extracurricular enrichment opportunities will be available for middle school students?

The Math Counts After School Club/Team is a middle school math club that meets weekly after school for both Andrews and McGlynn students based on competition and a diverse set of problems provided by MathCounts. The club meets weekly and engages in individual and group activities. Throughout the year, the members of MathCounts focus on having fun, learning new skills, embracing challenges, and expanding their academic and career opportunities in the future. Students engage in a nationwide competition at the end of the year. Mr. Whistler, an 8th-grade math teacher at the Andrews Middle School, is the advisor for this club.

Questions Regarding High School Mathematics

1. What is Integrated Math? How is it different from Traditional Math?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recommends two pathways to mathematics education: Traditional Math and Integrated Math. Traditional Math offers Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Integrated Math offers three courses, Integrated Math I, II, and III, that combine standards from Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus.

2. What data is being used to assess the effectiveness of Integrated Math?

Data will continuously be assessed through MCAS, NWEA MAP results, district assessments/benchmarks, classroom assessment results, and high school math enrollment. The district will also examine student course participation and dropout rates.

3. What other districts have implemented Integrated Mathematics?

Boston, Waltham, Newton, Needham, Malden, and Winchester are some districts that have implemented Integrated Mathematics Pathways/Curriculum. Integrated Mathematics exists in certain districts as Math 1, 2, and 3.

4. Who designed the integrated math curriculum that Medford is implementing at the 9-11 grade levels?

The Integrated Math Curriculum was developed by the Equitable 6-12 Math Pathways/Program Review Committee based on the Department of Education's standards listed in the Integrated Pathways, an alternative to the Traditional Pathways. The Equitable Math Pathways committee was a two-year committee that met from 2021 to 2023 and was composed of the math director, several high school and middle school math teachers, special education teachers, and English language learners teachers. The committee's mission was to review the focus, clarity, and rigor in our Middle and High School mathematics programs to prepare students for their next academic years while ensuring equity in ALL students' 6-12 mathematics program offerings. The research was centered around ‘Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics’ by NCTM and additional related articles and DESE’s proposed pathways for Mathematics. The committee reviewed classroom and MCAS data to propose evidence-based suggestions for future middle and high school courses.

Medford Public Schools uses the Big Ideas Integrated Math Program to teach the High School Integrated Math Curriculum.

5. Do students have the option to take AP Calculus in grade 12?

Yes. As detailed in the MHS Program of Studies, students can take AP Calculus through the Honors Integrated Math courses. If students continue taking Integrated Math Honors in Grades 9-11, they can take Calculus in their senior year. Please see the flowchart in the Appendix. Students may switch from CP to Honors track if they have the prerequisite grade and complete a rigorous summer packet.

6. If a student were to move out of the district in grade 10/11, would the student be able to integrate into an Algebra II or pre-calculus class easily, or is the curriculum too different?

Yes. Integrated Math 1 and 2 combine Algebra and Geometry. Integrated Math 3 standards align closely with Algebra II standards. The MHS Program of Studies mentioned and linked above provides further details.

7. Will all Medford High School math teachers teach this new curriculum, or will only a certain subset be trained?

All math teachers are trained to teach this curriculum and will teach it as assigned..



Public Meeting: Integrated Math Pathways Q&A

On April 25, 2024, MPS Director of Mathematics, Faiza Khan, hosted parents and caregivers for a presentation and Q&A on the district's transition to an Integrated Mathematics Pathways model for middle and high school math.