April 25th, 2014

New Math Pathways for Cambridge Middle School Students

On March 4th, 2014 the Cambridge Public School District administration and School Committee amended the Academic Challenge Policy to allow for two math pathways in the CPS middle schools.  The CALA community has advocated for this change for two years, and supports this decision, as it better enables middle school math teachers to meet the wide ranging math learning needs of their students.  The change also closes an opportunity gap for socioeconomically disadvantaged children with advanced math learning needs, whose families might not otherwise be able to afford advanced math opportunities for them.

The math pathways are designed to be flexible, so that students may move from one to another as best fits their academic needs.

Detailed information about the new math options is below.  The revised Academic Challenge Policy is here.


Below is text from the four information sheets that went home with students in April 2014, about middle school math options, including options for the spring and summer bridge course. All were published by the CPS math department: http://www3.cpsd.us/Math/Math  Feel free to forward this post, especially to the middle school listserves.

Middle School Mathematics Programming
2014-2015 School Year
Information for FamiliesIn the 2014-2015 school year, each of the Upper Campuses and the Amigos School will implement two new mathematics courses in 7th and 8th grades. The addition of these new courses will give middle school students the opportunity to complete Algebra 1 by the end of 8th grade.The diagram below outlines math options open to students in the 2014-2015 school year:

On-Grade Level: Grade 6 –> Grade 7 –> Grade 8 –> CRLS: Algebra 1 or Geometry

Accelerated Level: Grade 6 –> Accelerated Grade 7 –> Grade 8 Algebra 1 –> CRLS: Algebra 1 Honors or Geometry

Details of Math Options by Grade Level
Grade 6
All 6th grade students will be enrolled in a 6th grade math class. Math classes in the Upper Campuses (excluding the Amigos School) are co-taught by two teachers. This model allows teachers to fully meet the mathematical needs of their students, while also focusing on their emotional and social needs as they become middle school students.

Grade 7
At the end of a student’s 6th grade year, students will be evaluated for a classroom placement in
7th grade. Students will be directed into one of two pathways:

• An on-grade level classroom where students will complete 7th grade math by the end of the 7th grade. This classroom will have rigorous instruction and hold high expectations of students.

• An accelerated level classroom where students will complete all of 7th grade and half of 8th grade. In 8th grade, students will complete the remaining 8th grade content and Algebra 1.

Decisions will be discussed with families in the Spring and will be made based on a student’s mathematical ability and emotional and social readiness. Any family wishing to override the school’s recommendation will need to enroll their student in a 7th grade preview program. Classroom teachers will provide details to families wishing to take this route.

Grade 8
After the end of a student’s 7th grade year, students will be recommended again for placement in either the on-grade level 8th grade classroom or the accelerated level 8th grade classroom:

• Students in the on-grade level 8th grade classroom will complete a full and rigorous 8th grade math program and be ready to enroll in Algebra 1 in their 9th grade year.

• Students in the accelerated level 8th grade classroom (Grade 8 Algebra 1) will complete the remaining 8th grade content, as well as a full and rigorous Algebra 1 course.

Recommendations will be discussed with families in the Spring and will be made based on a student’s mathematical ability and emotional and social readiness. Any family wishing to override the school’s recommendation will need take an assessment of prerequisite 8th grade content and score 80%. This assessment will be offered to students in mid-June and at the start of the school year.

Programming to be Offered This Year to Prepare Students
Students recommended to enroll in the accelerated level 8th grade classrooms in the 2014-2015 school year will need to show mastery of the prerequisite 8th grade content scoring 80% on an assessment. To support students in meeting this goal, the district will offer programs in the Spring and Summer:

In the Spring (before students leave for April Break), students will be given an outline of content they need to learn. Students will be given access to Edgenuity and will need to complete assignments each week. A teacher at each campus will meet with students afterschool once a week for two hours to teach identified crucial lessons, and to offer support to students with the week’s material. Students should plan to take the assessment offered in June.

In the Summer, students will be able to register in a 5-week summer class that will teach them the outlined content in a classroom for 2 hours a day. We are working with our community summer programs to possibly integrate this class into existing summer opportunities. We will provide schools and families with more information on this option before April Break.

High School Entry
After the end of a student’s 8th grade year, students will be recommended again for placement in either Algebra 1 (College Prep level or Honors level) or Geometry (Honors level only) in 9th grade. Generally, students in the on-grade level classroom will take Algebra 1 in 9th grade and students in the accelerated level classroom will take Geometry Honors in 9th grade. Families wanting to override a school’s recommendation will need to take an Algebra 1 Final Exam to determine their child’s mastery of Algebra 1 content in either June or at the start of the school year. Students scoring 80% or higher will be placed in Geometry Honors (10th grade math), bypassing Algebra 1 (9th grade math) in high school.

Staff, students, and families are encouraged to email any questions they have to Mark Healy, District Math Coordinator, at mhealy@cpsd.us, or to Dr. Jessica Huizenga, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, at jhuizenga@cpsd.us .


Middle School Mathematics Programming
Accelerated 8th Grade Math Preparation

Any child who will be enrolled in the Accelerated 8th Grade Math class in September 2014 will need
to complete a preparation course. This course will teach students content from 8th grade that they
will need to know before starting the course in September. Students must learn this content and pass
an exam before starting the Accelerated 8th Grade Math class in September.

Preparation Course
Students wishing to start their preparation now can use our online instruction platform, Edgenuity.
To access the site, students should ask for a username and password from their classroom teacher.
Alternatively, families can send their child’s name and school in an email to the District Math
Coordinator, Mark Healy (mhealy@cpsd.us) , to receive their child’s username and password. Each
school will hold a class once a week to support students as they complete the Edgenuity course.

In June, after completing the course, students will need to take a placement exam and achieve at
least 80% on the exam. This will guarantee their placement in the Accelerated 8th Grade Math class.
The exam will be given at each of the schools during the week of June 9. Students not passing the
exam will be given a second opportunity to take the exam in September and will have access to
Edgenuity over the summer.

Attached to this letter, you will find the following information:
• An outline of content to cover by week
• A suggested calendar that families can use to cover the content in time for the June exam

Accessing Edgenuity
Once a student has their Edgenuity account information, they should login to the site, http://www.edgenuity.com . Once they login, they should do two things:

Check that their computer has the correct applications installed: On the login screen, there is a link that says “Check PlugUins.” Click on the link and download any required software.

Watch the Orientation Video: After logging in to Edgenuity, click on the “Organizer” button. Then choose “Resources,” then “Orientation and HowUTo,” then “Student Orientation Video.”

After performing these steps, they can return to the main screen and clink on the course to start, which is called “8th Grade Accelerated Bridge Course.” They can start the first activity by clicking on “Next Activity.”

The Edgenuity Support Desk is very helpful, so please feel free to use it if you have any issues. Their
phone number is 877U202U0338. When your call is answered, press Option 3 for support. They are
available Monday through Friday from 7:30am until 9:30pm, and Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Any questions or concerns can be addressed to Mark Healy, District Math Coordinator, at mhealy@cpsd.us or at 617-349-6683.


8th Grade Accelerated Course Preparation – April 2014
Course Pacing

Week 1 – April 28
The Real Number System
• Know that numbers that are not rational are called irrational
• Understand rational numbers have a decimal expansion that repeats eventually, and convert a decimal expansion which repeats eventually into a rational number
• Use rational approximations of irrational numbers
Standards: 8.NS.1, 8.NS.2

• Apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions
• Use square root and cube root symbols
Standards: 8.EE.1, 8.EE.2

Week 2 – May 5
Scientific Notation
• Use scientific notation to estimate very large or very small quantities
• Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation
Standards: 8.EE.3, 8.EE.4

Week 3 – May 12
Algebraic Linear Equations
• Solve linear equations in one variable.
• Give examples of linear equations in one variable with one solution, infinitely many solutions, or no solutions.
• Solve linear equations with rational number coefficients
Standards: 8.EE.7a, 8.EE.7b

Week 4 – May 19
Lines and Linear Equations
• Recognize equations for proportions (y/x = m or y = mx) as special linear equations (y = mx + b)
• Understand that the constant of proportionality (m)  is the slope, and the graphs are lines through the origin (0, 0)
• Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different
• Understand that the slope (m) of a line is a constant rate of change
• Derive the equation y = mx for a line through the origin and the equation y = mx + b for a line intercepting the vertical axis at b
Standards: 8.EE.5, 8.EE.6

Week 5 – May 26
Systems of Linear Equations
• Solve systems of two linear equations in two variables and relate the
systems to pairs of lines in the plane; these intersect, are parallel, or are the
same line
• Use linear equations, systems of linear equations, linear functions, and slope
of a line to analyze situations and solve problems
• Solve systems of two linear equations in two variables algebraically, and
estimate solutions by graphing the equations.
Standards: 8.EE.8a, 8.EE.8b, 8.EE.8c

Week 6 – June 2: Review

Week 7 – June 9: Final Exam


8th Grade Accelerated Pathway Bridge Course

April 28
• Exponents
• Exponents & Multiplication
• Exponents & Division

April  29
• Scientific Notation
• Negative Exponents

April  30
• Topic Test

May 1
• Solving Equations by
Adding or

May 2
• Solving Equations by Multiplying or Dividing
• Solving Two-Step Equations

May 5
• Writing Two-Step Equations

May 6
• Topic Test

May 7
• Combining Like Terms
• Solving Multi-Step Equations

May 8
• Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides
• Solving Equations with Grouping Symbols

May 9
• Topic Test

May 12
• Number Sets

May 13
• Introduction to Radicals
• Square and Square Roots

May 14
• Finding Square Roots
• Square Roots and Irrational Numbers

May 15
• Solving Equations with Rational Numbers

May 16
• Topic Test

May 19
• Cumulative Exam

May 20
• Introduction to Functions

May 21
• Graphing Linear Functions

May 22
• Topic Test

May 23
• Slope

May 26
• Rate of Change

May 27
• Slope-Intercept Form

May 28
• Topic Test

May 29
• Writing Linear Equations
• Linear Equations and Two Variables

May 30
• Graphing Linear Equations Using Intercepts

June 2
• Systems of Equations

June 3
• Topic Test

June 4
•  Cumulative Exam

June 5

June 6

Week of June 9 – Final Exam

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