Education Week, known as “American education’s news site of record,” has published an article on the Long Beach Unified School District’s “multi-faceted strategy to raise math rigor and achievement.”
An article titled “How One District is Raising Math Rigor and Achievement for Students of Color” by associate editor Christina A. Samuels describes how LBUSD is working to help more students from low-income families, English-language learners, African American students and Latino students thrive in advanced math courses.
Samuels notes that school district leaders decided in 2014 that students must take four high school courses in math to earn a diploma.
“That’s twice as many as what California requires, but more in line with what it takes to be a competitive candidate for the University of California and for California State University,” Samuels wrote.
Along with the higher standard, “Long Beach has seen a steady rise over the past five years in the percentage of students meeting the standards for college admission, based on their grades, completed coursework and scores on standardized tests. Notably, that increase is across all demographic groups,” Samuels wrote.
To meet the higher standards, Long Beach built ongoing support for students well before they start high school. In elementary school, for instance, Long Beach takes “an expansive view” when identifying students for gifted education. The school district is piloting an enriched preschool-through-grade 2 curriculum at some elementary schools with a high percentage of African American students and students in poverty.
In middle school, the school district created a unique position, a “math assistant principal,” or math coach who divides her time among three middle schools that need the most help based upon math scores. Across middle schools, a math development class provides eighth graders enrolled in Algebra I additional opportunities for math practice and review, the article notes.
In high school, Long Beach is among the California districts embracing a math class called Introduction to Data Science, developed with the assistance of the University of California, Los Angeles. The course gives students an alternative to Algebra 2 that is accepted by California universities as a prerequisite.
For a select group of high school boys who show potential but need extra support, the Urban Math Collaborative provides a peer group that teaches study skills and provides math enrichment. Samuels quotes a former Urban Math Collaborative student who is now a senior at the University of Laverne and remembers that “my experience when I was going through high school is that I had love, I had support.”
Find the full article at edweek.org. Search for “How One District is Raising Math Rigor.”