Promoting deeper and more joyful learning for Piedmont students



Please find below :

1. link to the Proposed Changes To The Secondary Math Pathways

Proposed Changes To The Secondary Math Pathways

2. ALPS feedback on proposed changes to the secondary math pathways

Piedmont ALPS feedback on proposed changes to the secondary math pathways

Dear Members of the Board of Education,

Piedmont ALPS would like to take this opportunity to share our feedback on the proposed Math Course and Pathways changes including comments that we have heard from our members and many others in the Piedmont school community.

We appreciate PUSD’s (in particular, Dr. Cheryl Wozniak’s) efforts to review and revise the math pathways. We were able to meet with Dr. Wozniak several times over the past year to talk about the work of the math committee and agree that efforts are moving in a positive direction and providing much needed transparency for families.

Overall, we feel that PUSD can still do more to meet the needs of advanced learners. As we know from our high GATE identification rates, CASPP scores, and other data, our District is comprised of many students with advanced math abilities. These students thrive in an environment where classroom instruction moves along at an accelerated (or compressed) pace, while simultaneously providing the opportunity for the student to dive deeper into the material and be appropriately challenged according to her/his abilities.

Based on “Proposed Changes to Math Courses and Pathways February 2018,” we respond to each of the four separate proposals below:

The first opportunity for middle school students to accelerate (or “compress”) in math would begin in 6th grade rather than 7th grade.

We enthusiastically support the path to compression beginning in 6th grade. Through the 2018 student and parent survey results, we know that many students found CC6 to be “too easy.” Compression in 6th grade is a welcomed change. However, it is not necessary to slow the compression rate to 4:3 (1 1/3 years of material in one year). In the survey, students taking 3:2 compression courses (1½ years of material in one year) expressed satisfaction with the pace.

The “Summer Bridge IM2A” option to compress after completing IM1 would be discontinued for 8th graders beginning this summer and for 9th graders after being offered one last time this summer. The opportunity for high school students to compress in math would continue to be offered in 9th grade.

ALPS has never been in support of the Summer Bridge IM2A class as part of compressed math pathway. We feel that standard math classes should be available during the school year. We look forward to a math pathway that does NOT include an intensive summer school class or self-study.

However, the Summer IM2A course needs to be offered for another two years in order to satisfy past promises. Current 8th grade students who entered in at the beginning of the publish math pathway had a path they wish to follow. Summer IM2A is part of the previously published pathway for both grade-level and compressed students1. In addition, if the Summer IM2A course will be offered to outgoing 9th graders (as stated in the proposal), it would not be a leap to make it available to compressed 8th graders as well.

Most importantly, eliminating Summer IM2A precludes math students from getting to Math Analysis by sophomore year. The option to take Math Analysis in 10th grade has been available for many years past, with successful outcomes for those students. Similar paths are offered by comparable districts around the state2. We request a pathway to 10th grade Math Analysis be available BEFORE eliminating the summer course.

To this end, we would like to see another option for IM2A to be offered to students seeking to “double” compress in high school. The large number of students taking IM2A last summer proves the need and demand for this course3. One alternative might be to offer IM2A to 8th graders — as part of an IM1/2A course. If no such offering is made available, PUSD should consider enriched IM2 and IM3 courses.

Students would have the option of taking either Math Analysis or Math Analysis Honors, regardless of whether they had taken a compression pathway in middle or high school. Unlike the current Math Analysis Honors course, which compresses Math Analysis and Calculus A, the revised course would be a more rigorous version of Math Analysis without Calculus. Similar to the current class, the reorganized class would be weighted for the purpose of calculating GPAs.

We support this change to Math Analysis Honors. Math Analysis can already be a difficult class for many students. Incorporating Calculus A is no longer needed as long as students have other compressed pathways to reach their goals.

As noted above, the School Board should be aware that there is student interest in taking Math Analysis in 10th grade and not waiting for 11th grade as proposed. We believe that this desire is one of the reasons for the high numbers of 8th graders seeking to take Summer Bridge IM2A. By double-compressing (in both middle *and* high school), students are able to take Math Analysis by 10th.

Students who take a compression pathway in either middle or high school would have the opportunity to take AP Calculus AB (one semester of college calculus taught in one year of high school) or AP Calculus BC (one year of college calculus taught in one year of high school, including Calculus A).

We have no position on this new pathway. Feedback from our members is split. Many appreciate the past path for being slower and lower stress during junior and senior years. Others appreciate the ability to finish AP Calculus ABC in one year – and possibly move in 12th grade into AP Statistics or even more advanced math at a local community college.

In general, ALPS supports the desire of families for the District to flexibly accommodate student needs, with math courses that enable each student to work at their own pace and unique learning style, in consultation with the counseling and math teaching staff. Math pathways that allow students to “on-ramp” and “off ramp” from compression based on their individual needs (such as schedule, demands of other courses, stress, academic struggle, etc.) was an essential goal of the 2014-2015 Math Task Force. ALPS continues to support this level of flexibility in course progressions.

Please contact us with any questions.


Piedmont ALPS
2017-2018 Board: Julie Caskey, Elizabeth Shook, Christina Hsia, Cristie March, Josh Posamentier, Jim Govert, Julie Drassinower, Venus French, Dana Lung, Michele Kwok, SiowFang Tan, Kim Fisher, Cindy Wire


1The School Board approved the previous math pathways at the March 11, 2015 meeting (packet

2Looking at other school districts, Orinda Intermediate School offers multiple paths for advanced learners — not just one advanced path. They allow some students (approx 10% of class) to take Geometry in 8th grade.

In San Carlos, the most advanced students do 3:1 compression and take CC6, CC7 and CC8 all in one year (they call it “compacted”). They also have multiple paths for advanced learners, including Geometry in 8th grade. (slide 5)

Los Altos Math Pathways – advanced students enter high school ready for Algebra II

Cupertino – multiple tracks for advanced students, including completion of Geometry by 8th grade

Saratoga – multiple tracks including a “compacted pathway” and an “accelerated pathway” for all types of advanced students

Palo Alto has a complicated set of pathways, but the dropdown menu for Grade 8 to Grade 9 on this page shows high school pathways for rising 9th graders who are taking 3 different 8th grade courses: Math 8; Algebra 8 and Geometry 8 Honors:

LAUSD offers a standard grade level “College & Career” pathway, and two advanced pathways. In the “Highly Accelerated Pathway,” 8th graders complete Geometry.

3Last summer, there were 59 students who took the Summer School IM2A course (49 classroom, 10 self study), of which 44 eighth graders are now enrolled in IM2B/3 as freshmen.

The summer before, there were 35 students who studied IM2A over the summer or took the challenge exam (and are now enrolled in Math Analysis or Math Analysis Honors as 10th graders).

In the current school year, there are 87 seventh graders are taking compression 7/8A math (versus 103 students in grade-level progression) and 97 eighth graders taking compression 8B/IM1 math (versus 139 grade-level). Both groups of students may be counting on taking IM2A over the summer in order to further compress in high school – and avoid Math Analysis in 11th grade.