CHS to make additions to math department for 2016-17

The Carmel High math department has been going through some major changes lately, such as the implementation of the Integrated Math sequence over the last few years, which is a trend that will likely continue into next school year, with proposals already being made for new classes. The most noteworthy of these changes is the effort to create a new math course pathway for CHS students, including an accelerated track to allow for advancement among Integrated classes.

“We are looking at putting in an accelerated course,” CHS math teacher Steve Nacht says. “Essentially, we’re going to condense Integrated II, Integrated III and Pre-Calculus into two years.”

This way, advanced and motivated kids can still move ahead a year in the math curriculum as they could before the Integrated courses, but now all content is preserved and the choice to move ahead is made in eighth grade, after taking Integrated I, rather than in fifth grade.

“The decision gets postponed to allow kids to mature, and I think that’s always a good idea,” math department chair Juan Gomez says. “Because we had seen in the past that the decision doesn’t always get made by the student…and we had some kids that would drop out of the accelerated path.”

Aside from allowing students to move ahead when they are more well-informed, the accelerated track lets students avoid having to take classes at Monterey Peninsula College if they want to take advanced classes like Calculus BC, according to Nacht.

As of next school year, current eighth-graders would be able to place into Integrated II Accelerated, and the year after, Integrated III Accelerated would be offered. To qualify, however, students will need more than just a grade or teacher recommendation.

“Mr. Nacht and Mr. Deckelmann will be working with the middle school teachers of Integrated I to determine a rubric that will be used for enrollment,” CHS math teacher Dawn Hatch says.

Also part of the new course pathway is the possibility of a course in real-world mathematical problem-solving, called Advanced Mathematical Decision Making.

As Nacht explains of the class, “Kids will be posed a problem, and they have to decide what kind of math they want to apply for it.”

AMDM would be directed towards “any students beyond Integrated III who would like the challenge of thinking and communicating mathematically,” Hatch adds. “This course would help students towards better ACT and SAT thinking as well.”

The CHS Math Department gave an open, informational meeting on Feb. 2, highlighting the last few years’ change to Integrated Common Core classes and the new course proposals for next year to an audience of mostly Carmel High and Middle School parents.

Math Night also gave the opportunity for parents to give their input on what fourth-year classes, or those taken after Integrated III, should be offered next year other than Calculus AB, BC and the new AMDM, according to Gomez.

Of course, all of these changes are still proposals that need to be approved by the Carmel Unified administration. CHS Principal Rick Lopez, who is on the board that makes the ultimate choice, is confident they will likely be approved.

“I think it’s quite likely—all the proposal is is to offer a sequence where kids can get to our calculus courses and not have to go off campus,” Lopez says. “I think it’s a good idea, and I don’t think it’s a difficult decision because it’s probably not going to impact a lot of students.”

The Math Night PowerPoint presentation and parent input survey can both be found on the CHS website’s home page.

-Ari Freedman