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Office of the Superintendent Donald Gill, Ed.D.

Preparing Students for Success in College, Career, and Life. July 29, 2010

For Immediate Release Antioch Unified School District’s focus on every student completing Algebra 1 by the 8 th grade: The State Board of Education mandates that students satisfactorily complete California Algebra I standards by the end of 8th grade. Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Donald Gill has stated “It is critical that we push our students hard to meet this grade level standard. Today, if our students are going to compete on an equal basis with students from other nations, they must go beyond the basic question of what students learned. The more important question is what can our students do to apply their mathematical knowledge with real world problems?” While the district has clearly identified the need to give access to all students to UC a-g course of study, a large group of math teachers, site administrators, and counselors from each middle and high school met several times this past year and during the summer to tackle the issue of very low math grades across all schools. Over the years, several alternatives were provided in the middle school such as Algebra Concepts and Math Readiness, each aimed at providing the foundation for Algebra 1. The results, however, do not indicate any significant impact from this. Mary McCarthy, Director of Educational Services, shared that “while 40% of students in the middle school take the Algebra 1 Content Standards Test (CST), only 24% were proficient. Of the 63% of 9 th graders who took the Algebra 1 CST, only 8% were proficient. Many of these 9 th grade students have received support math courses in addition to Algebra 1 both in middle and high schools. The district is awaiting the 2010 STAR results. “By focusing on one objective, that is to ensure that all 8 th grade students in 2012-13 will be enrolled in Algebra 1 in the 8th grade, we have revisited our support plan. Starting this year, we will provide each student in the 6 th grade who is not testing at advanced levels for their grade will be provided a period of math support. This support will continue in their 7th grade and we will have data in two years to show if this level of resource has worked. This new plan, shared and embraced by middle school principals, provides multiple pathways to completing Algebra 1 by 8th grade, while also supporting students throughout their middle grades” reported High School Reform Administrator, Dr. Fal Asrani. The district has embarked on the college readiness initiative and continues to struggle with the number of students who are taking higher levels of math and science courses. Deer Valley High School Co-Principal Clarence Isadore, member of the Task Force commented, “One common theme appears that our students are so burnt out by having to repeat Algebra 1 that large numbers don’t proceed to Algebra II. We know they need Algebra II to ensure that they are college ready”.

The district has become a member of the Silicon Valley Math Initiative (SVMI) to assist in training teachers on strategies and pedagogy around Algebra I. The Task Force will continue their work this year and closely monitor this plan. Contact: Fal Asrani, Administrator, High School Reform (925) 776-2060 510 G Street, Antioch, California 94509-1259

Office of the Superintendent Donald Gill, Ed.D.

510 G Street, Antioch, California 94509-1259

Antioch Unified School District’s focus on every student completing Algebra 1 by the 8th grade