March 5, 2014


Dear Parent(s) of 6th Grade Students:


Though there is still much learning to achieve this school year, but we are already planning for the 2014-2015 school year.  As a seventh grader, along with the recommendation of your child’s current math teacher, you and your child will have the opportunity to make choices regarding his/her course options in mathematics. , we encourage every student and parent to be mindful of the importance of course selection and what it entails.  That includes recognizing how extracurricular activities and the intensity of course work can affect one’s school experience.    Therefore, it is our hope that students and their families will give serious consideration to the merit of recommendations when making their course selections.


As outlined in a previous correspondence, the selection of math programming has been amended beginning in grade 7 for the upcoming school year (click here for the overview information).


In seventh grade all students will study Algebra; however, there are two course options regarding mathematics study in 7th grade: 


Introduction to Algebra--Regular

In this course, students will study mathematics aligned with new curriculum standards exploring the following topics: Ratios and Proportions, The Number System, Expressions and Equations, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. Completion of this course will position a student for Pre-Algebra in grade 8.  It is important to note, however, that completion of this course WILL NOT prevent a student from accessing the highest levels of math as a high school student. Please note that the summer Bridge course will no longer be offered after the summer of 2014.



While exploring similar curriculum topics of Functions, The Number System, Expressions and Equations, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability, the pacing and workload in this course is substantially more rigorous.  Topics will be explored in greater depth and the nature of classroom tasks will be more complex. Completion of this course will position a student for Algebra I in grade 8.


One of the compelling factors for a change in the math program was our desire to relieve the pressure for the majority of parents and students in making a high-stakes math placement decision that would impact his/her future study of mathematics.  With this new sequence, most families will not have the make the decision to accelerate in math until late spring of their 8th grade year, a time when students typically demonstrate a higher level of academic maturity.  Research has found for many students are prone to frustration when they are required to learn higher levels of complex math at a time when his/her social and academic readiness skills have not been developed.  We believe this new sequence accounts for this while still delivering a rigorous yet developmentally appropriate course of learning.


Your child’s current math teacher will make a recommendation for one of the above math courses based on the Sixth Grade Mathematical Performance Rubric.  This rubric is intended to provide you, your child, and the teacher with a broad picture of your child’s strengths and areas for improvement. Please use the components of this rubric as a guide when discussing the above math courses with your child.   


Math recommendations will be mailed home in early April.  If you have any questions about the seventh grade math course options and how this decision may impact your child’s future course of study in mathematics, please contact our HMS mathematics facilitator, Mr. Hasson, at 429-5851/ or Dr. Priolo at      


We encourage you and your child to spend some time considering which mathematics course will best suit his/her needs.  Please bear in mind how your child’s course selection may impact the variety of other activities in which he/she is engaged.  While we want to challenge and nurture our students, it is also important that they maintain balance in their lives and make their wellness a priority.



Gino R. Priolo