Curriculum Update - Algebra 2

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Nancy Woller Teaching Math

During these first few weeks of summer break, some of our excellent math faculty have been hard at work updating and enriching our math curriculum. Tom Brennan, Megan Orton, and Nancy Woller have been updating our approach to our Algebra 2 and Algebra 2 Honors courses to ensure deeper student learning and a stronger student experience for all enrolled in this important year of mathematical development. 

Student at White Board Beginning in the 2021-22 school year, Waterford will offer a single course on Algebra 2 — there will no longer be an “Honors” or a “Standard” option. All students enrolled in Algebra 2 will learn the mathematical concepts necessary for success as they progress in the mathematics  curriculum. All students will also have the opportunity to earn the “Honors” designation on their transcript by completing some additional coursework and higher-level problems throughout the term. 

This development is one that the math department has researched and considered for several years. Our hope is that it both improves the student experience of our curriculum and strengthens their mathematical skills. In the past, the recommendations for student placement in either Algebra 2 or Algebra 2 Honors required adjustments in the fall as students shifted their registrations after settling into the most appropriate math class for them.  Shifting to our new model will allow students to maintain their schedule without disruption while always having access to the honors-level work, skills, and designation on their transcript. Additionally, the curricular revision will incorporate more rich tasks and active learning to help students develop the rich understanding of mathematics that is crucial to a full liberal arts experience. 

Math studentWhen undertaking this curriculum revision, the math department reviewed current literature on math instruction and tracking, and is confident that moving to a revised curriculum without a standard / honors designation will facilitate greater learning for all students. Students ready for a higher level of challenge will be able to access it by completing work that specifically prepares them for PreCalculus Honors course. 

This change is one that the math department is excited about, and they are eager to speak with anyone who has questions. If you’d like more information about the change, please reach out to Math Department Chair Nancy Woller (nancywoller@waterfordschool.org). In August, the department will host an information session to learn more about this shift; keep an eye on the Waterford Weekly and the school calendar for details.