SPRING TWP., Pa. – The Wilson School Board on Tuesday heard 20 written statements from students and parents concerned about the district's realignment of the middle school math program.
At the January board meeting, the board approved secondary academic program changes for the 2021-22 school year. Part of those changes include a realignment of the sequence of math courses which would move algebra 1 to eighth grade from seventh grade and move geometry to ninth grade from eighth grade.
Chris Trickett, assistant superintendent of secondary schools, said the concern from parents is that making the shift could present barriers to students when it comes to taking the college-level advanced placement calculus in their senior year.
"In seventh grade, that is a year where students experience a lot of curriculum," Trickett said. "When we go into eighth grade, students go into geometry, where we cover as much content as we can."
Because the Algebra 1 Keystone Exam is not offered until eighth grade, however, Trickett said teachers spend time in that year covering the algebra standards that the students need to be proficient in the state exams.
Trickett said the feedback from teachers was to do a realignment so that geometry, which he said is a high school course, could be taught in ninth grade.
The comments read from parents and students suggested the math pathways presented by the administration will not meet the needs of accelerated math learners.
One mother raised a concern that kids will now not have the same opportunities that currently exist for AP level courses.
"Challenging our children works," she said. "This would be selling our kids short, leaving them less prepared for college and for life after Wilson."
Other parents called the new sequence a decelerated math program that will be a huge step backwards.
At the conclusion of the comments being read, board President Brad Hart announced that Superintendent Richard Faidley will be giving a presentation on the math sequencing at the April 19 board meeting.
"We will also be meeting with parents of gifted students to hopefully answer questions, listen to concerns and clarify misconceptions about students not being able to access an accelerated math curriculum," Faidley said.
Board members agreed to hold off on a discussion until after Faidley makes his presentation.
In other business, the board approved a resolution to extend the date for the filing and payment of 2020 mercantile and business privilege tax returns, which are now due until May 17 to mirror the federal tax extension for 2021.