At SLCSE, we believe that all students can learn math in a collaborative and caring learning environment. Our vision is that students will continually push themselves towards deeper understanding and higher achievement, guided by their own curiosity and the ideas of others. We believe students in a diverse mathematics classroom become better mathematicians because they have access to the divergent thinking of others and have more opportunities for speaking about and refining their mathematical ideas. As one of our students put it, “When you are working with kids who work at a different pace, it gives you the chance to slow down and really understand the process, not only to know how to get the right answer.”
We do not believe that learning math is checking off a list of discrete topics and moving on. We believe that mathematics is an active process that provides us the opportunity to extend and deepen our understanding while identifying connections between topics that we are studying and have studied allowing us to build mastery along the way. We know that students, parents, and the world at large often have misperceptions about what students can achieve and we know that challenging our perceptions of ourselves and each other is vital to changing reality. For these reasons and more, we do not track students by perceived math ability, but by grade level in school.
We have chosen our curriculum carefully to ensure that all students have the opportunity to be challenged as they develop their mathematical understanding through building a common language, utilizing a variety of mathematical models, establishing common expectations and mathematical culture in the classroom. Our curriculum is based on a spiraling review that enables students to be re-exposed to material several times throughout their mathematical career with new applications and extensions at each resurfacing. Lessons provide opportunities for heterogeneously grouped students to surface ideas, solidify understanding through small group discussions, and practice discrete skills. Additionally, keeping students in grade-level bands provides opportunities for powerful real-world experiences that come from the integration of math and science.
We believe that all students have the right to access a challenging curriculum. All students in our system enroll in 4 years of Mathematics and have the choice to take AP Calculus or Concurrent Enrollment Mathematics classes during their senior year.