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Mathematics Options

Mathematics Course Descriptions and Insights

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Mathematics Course Descriptions and Insights

For the complete course descriptions and prerequisites for our math classes, please refer to the most up-to-date M-A Counseling Course Selection Handbook found at the bottom of counseling’s course selections page.
Below are details and insights about the Math Department’s course offerings, guidelines, requirements, curriculum, and pathways.
The Common Core
The M-A Math Department utilizes the standards of the Common Core for mathematics and the Eight Mathematical Practices.  The district's common core implementation includes the traditional class sequence of Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Our adopted curriculum includes Big Ideas for Algebra I & Algebra II, Michael Serra’s Discovering Geometry for Geometry, and Illustrative Mathematics in all three courses.  One of the key changes in content in the common core is that statistics will be emphasized and integrated into Algebra I and Algebra II classes. In addition, students will be engaged in dynamic problem-solving which includes open-ended real-world problems.  State testing will be computer-based and includes free response questions requiring a written response in addition to multiple-choice.  Formal common core testing will take place over two days in the second semester during a student’s junior year. 
Graduation and A-G Requirements
SUHSD requires a minimum of two years of math to graduate.  One of these years must be Algebra I. The UC system and the California state colleges require a minimum of three years of math, including Algebra II or the third-year equivalent.  Any student planning to attend a four-year college should successfully complete Algebra II with a C or higher.  Students can improve their college eligibility by taking as much math as possible in the traditional sequence of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-calculus, and Calculus.  Students who have difficulty with Algebra I may decide to take Integrated Math, a bridge course, before moving on to Geometry.
Course Insights
Algebra is considered the gateway course to college and the foundation of math success.  Without algebra, college success is unlikely.  Algebra I is required for M-A graduation.  Beyond that, algebra skills can significantly affect a student’s success in all their math classes, including calculus.  Calculus teachers have a saying: “Many times when solving a calculus problem, the first step is calculus and the rest is all algebra.”   Click here to view the possible pathways for 9th graders from Algebra I.
M-A offers two levels of Geometry, Enriched and Benchmark (College Prep.)  Geometry Enriched is composed primarily of 9th graders.  The class focuses on student discovery of geometry concepts and requires students to independently apply concepts to higher-level thinking tasks and problem-solving.  Our enriched class prepares students for the rigor of AS Algebra II and the pathway to calculus.  Geometry Benchmark is composed 9th, 10th and 11th graders.  The class utilizes dynamic tasks and projects, more directed instruction and guided practice strategies.  Students who pass with a C or higher will move to Algebra II and the pathway to Pre-calculus or Statistics.   
M-A’s options for the third year of math required for A-G eligibility are AS Algebra II, Algebra II and Data Science. AS Algebra II is intended primarily for sophomores and freshmen who intend to complete calculus. Algebra II is intended for seniors and juniors who want rigorous preparation for college math courses. Students should know these differences and prerequisites when enrolling in AS Algebra II or Algebra II.  Students can choose Statistics or Finite Math & Trigonometry after Algebra II.  Data Science fulfills the third year math requirement for A-G and is offered to seniors.  Please see course descriptions for specifics, details and prerequisites.    
Another option for juniors or seniors is AP Statistics or Statistics. The two courses differ in pacing and content. AP Statistics is a fun, hands-on course, but it moves at an intense pace.  The AP course prepares students for the AP exam in May.  Statistics explores the key concepts of stats to help prepare students fr future college courses using data.  The Math Department encourages some students to take two math courses concurrently so that they can complete Calculus and AP Statistics. The majority of students taking AP statistics are also enrolled in AP Calculus or Pre-calculus. At M-A, over 160 students take AP Statistics or Statistics.
Students also have the option of taking BC Calculus or AB Calculus.  BC Calculus requires the successful completion of AB, or part A as completed through an acceleration program.  Details about options are presented to PreCaclulus students during the spring semester.  
If you have questions about the Math Department offerings, please contact the Math Department Chair.