An overwhelming majority of Ashland students who were given the choice between traditional math and the Core Plus curriculum decided to take algebra I courses next school year, according to a report given Monday by Ashland High School Principal Steve Gromala.
In a report to the Ashland School Board, it was noted that 83 percent of students signed up for algebra I, which was offered for the first time in several years after parents and board members demanded an alternative to the Core Plus curriculum.
A total of 170 students, including 115 incoming freshmen and 55 of next year’s sophomores, enrolled in the newly offered algebra I course for the 2006-07 school year. By comparison, 34 students enrolled in Core Plus 1.
The addition of algebra I next school year is the first step toward offering a dual-track math curriculum that will allow incoming freshmen to choose between algebra classes and Core Plus. Additional classes such as geometry, algebra II and pre-calculus will be added in future years as students advance.
“I want to ensure you that we will not need any additional staff next year,” Gromala told the board. “For future years, we’ll have to wait and see.”
The 55 sophomores who chose to take algebra I next year will have to start over in the traditional curriculum and must take a minimum of three years of algebra to meet graduation requirements, Gromala noted.
To ensure that students had equal opportunity to choose either algebra or Core Plus, Gromala said the new algebra class was offered during each of the school’s eight daily sections.
Board member Jeanne Thompson, a longtime proponent of implementing a dual math curriculum, thanked Gromala and Curriculum Director Barb O’Brien for setting up the new schedule.
“It’s been a long road, but the parents’ wishes are being met,” Thompson said. “That’s very important.”
Now that enrollment numbers have been determined, the school’s math department is trying to decide which textbook to purchase for next year’s students.
Math teachers have already reviewed 14 different algebra books using a list of criteria and have narrowed their selection to two choices: Glencoe/McGraw Hill 2005 and McDougal Littell 2007.
“They’re in unanimous agreement that either of these textbooks would be appropriate,” O’Brien said.
However, because of the public’s interest in the new math curriculum, O’Brien wanted to give community members an opportunity to review the two texts before the board approves a set of books at its April meeting.
As a result, over the next month, community members can stop by the school district’s administrative offices, review each of the textbooks and fill out comment cards.
The Ashland School District’s central office is located at 2000 Beaser Avenue, and Curriculum Director Barb O’Brien can be contacted at 682-7080, ext. 4.