Choice and Opportunity
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District has a history of exceptional student achievement, dynamic teaching, and unparalleled community support. The District is committed to maintaining our reputation for producing exemplary students with the skills necessary to compete in an evolving and competitive environment. Our teachers and administrators are sensitive to the needs of the community and students we serve. As a result, the staff is committed to infusing instructional strategies that engage students in opportunities to further develop critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills.
Creating a culture of continuous improvement in teaching and learning is vital to the future success of any organization. The rigorous expectations set forth in the new Common Core State Standards have provided us an opportunity to critically evaluate and calibrate our curriculum and instructional strategies. The full implementation of the standards for mathematics requires a review of course content, instructional delivery models, and sequencing in mathematics.
This paper will address the actions taken to ensure a rigorous program that provides opportunities and access to advanced math courses for students, while maintaining sound mathematics principles at all levels.
The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe varieties of expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students. Students are required to reason abstractly and quantitatively and have a deeper understanding and application of mathematical concepts. Math instruction has become increasingly sophisticated, and students must have a solid foundation before moving on to higher- level courses. PVPUSD also realizes that opportunities to advance are valued by the community and should remain in place for our students.
In order to address the shifts, teachers and administrators met regularly over the course of the 2013-2014 school-year to increase their knowledge of the new standards, analyze data, review current educational research, review current programs and practices, and explore how similar districts were approaching the transition to the new standards. Their mission was to discuss secondary mathematics instruction and develop recommendations that will:
- Identify course sequencing and placement criteria
- Ensure equity in instruction, and
- Provide access to rigorous course work for all students
PVPUSD teachers worked diligently to align math instruction and curriculum with our new state standards focusing on cultivating deeper understandings of essential concepts. A variety of data was reviewed including: cohort groups through certain course sequences, rate of sustainability on a course sequence, and comparative data between courses. Options were created to support the unique needs and desire to maximize potential for all students.
CONCLUSION AND BELIEFS
The newly established course sequencing provides opportunities for all students to be successful and reach high levels of mathematics in high school.
Points of emphasis include:
- Our students will have more options and opportunities for advancement than most surrounding and similarly high-achieving districts.
- PVPUSD students will remain highly competitive for college and career options.
- Students will be able to explain ‘WHY’ and ‘APPLY’ high-level math concepts.
- PVPUSD will expand high-level mathematics course offerings.
- The rigor of mathematics instruction will increase at all levels.
PVPUSD believes that the new California State Content Standards for Mathematics will increase rigor at each level and will ultimately better prepare our students for college and career readiness. We further believe that better preparation at the formative years will position our students for more opportunities to excel in higher-levels of mathematics in high school.