What type of advanced math courses does Desoto County offer in middle school?
In seventh grade, the advanced math course, which used to be called “Pre-algebra”, is now named Compacted 7th Grade Math. This class takes students through the seventh grade math curriculum at a faster pace than the regular seventh grade math class so that some of the eighth grade math concepts can also be taught during the fourth nine weeks. The class is 90 minutes in length, also known as a blocked class. Students that pass the Compacted 7th Grade Math class will receive a high school credit and a weighted GPA for the course.
In eighth grade, the advanced math course, which used to be known as “Algebra I”, is now called Accelerated 8th Grade Math. This accelerated course will be approximately a 48-minute class rather than a 90-minute class. In this single period accelerated class, students will complete the 8th grade content and begin to push further into the high school Algebra I course work. Students that pass the Accelerated 8th Grade Math class will receive a high school credit and a weighted GPA for the course.
Is there a plan in Desoto County to offer Algebra I in the 8th grade again?
Yes. The district’s original plan was a two-year transition in order to ensure students gain the background knowledge and fundamental skills needed to be successful with the new standards found in Algebra I. Math skills taught in Algebra I under the old framework are now skills taught in seventh and eighth grade math. To have immediately offered Algebra I in our transition to the new standards, would have created substantial gaps in students’ math understanding.
However, with the possibility of the standards changing and not knowing what gaps this may create, we are not able to infuse Algebra I back into the middle school at this time. Once there is some consistency in standards and in the state assessment used as a graduation requirement for this course are finalized, Desoto County Schools will once again work to incorporate Algebra I back into the 8th grade.
What requirements are there for students to be placed in the advanced math courses?
There are multiple factors used to determine placement in the advanced math classes in middle schools. The flowchart below displays requirements and how courses are filled.
How will my child be able to take advanced math courses required by prestigious universities if they do not take Algebra I until 9th grade?
All students are given the opportunity to obtain two high school math credits while still in middle school if they take the advanced level math courses, (one for Compacted 7th grade math and a second for Accelerated 8th grade math). Even students who do not meet the requirements of the advanced math courses in middle school will leave 8th grade with one math credit, as 8th grade math receives a high school math credit as well.
Additionally, our high schools are on a four by four block schedule which means students can take up to two math courses in one year. In the 2014-2015 school year, Desoto County Schools pushed a math initiative, which opened and filled twelve additional high school math teacher positions in order to increase the possibility of students being able to double up on their math credits after their freshman year. High school graduation requirements state that students must have four math credits with two of those credits coming from courses above Algebra I. Two sample schedules are outlined below, one showcasing a student who may benefit from having extra tome and additional help in math and a second student who excels in math and wants to be challenged.