Accelerated Math at SJB
SJB offers advanced mathematics to a limited number of students beginning in 4th grade. The makeup of the advanced group can change from quarter to quarter. Students with a greater need for challenge may be selected for an independent study course overseen by a middle-school math teacher.
Students learn complex mathematical ideas and advanced problem solving. The focus of this program is to provide accelerated, targeted math instruction designed to deepen the students’ understanding of number sense, computation, algebraic concepts, measurement, geometry, data analysis.
In 4th grade, students are selected based on in-school math assessments, teacher recommendations, and Scantron performance scores. The content, lessons, and activities are constructed around the small group, and the standards are related to the current mathematical strand. When the content has been sufficiently covered and checked for understanding, a new group is chosen based on a different area of the math curriculum, new strands, and new Scantron scores. This enrichment program encourages students to think critically and to work efficiently, and it exposes them to new content in an exciting way.
In grades 5-8, classes are divided so that students receive small-group math instruction each day. Students in grade 7 receive pre-algebra instruction at different rates of acceleration and levels of complexity, and students in 8 receive algebra instruction and advanced algebra instruction. Students who need a greater challenge and a more accelerated pace are placed in an independent mathematics course. In the independent course, the student is limited only by the challenge of the content. SJB has the capacity to provide geometry and Algebra II/Trigonometry.
The primary goal in middle-school mathematics instruction is to prepare students for success in freshman math courses in the Catholic high schools and to give advanced math students the best opportunity to test out of freshman math and into an honors or higher-level math course at the start of high school.
In attaining that goal, SJB has been successful -- 94 percent of our students succeeded in testing out of freshman algebra, according to a survey of the last three graduating classes conducted in the past three years.
The students were accepted into the honors math program, 10th grade geometry course, or 11th grade trigonometry/algebra II, according to the survey.
The honors placement tests are taken at the end of 8th grade at the students' new Catholic high schools, or the placements are made based on admissions test scores.
SJB constantly strives to improve its math program. The school provided new textbooks and math resources for students in most grades in 2018 and 2019.
Math teachers regularly attend professional conferences with the aim of learning the most effective, evidence-based teaching methods, and they seek alternative and online instructional options to meet particular needs and challenges of individual students.
SJB student math scores compare favorably to average math scores of students in Montgomery County and students statewide in Maryland.
Private schools hit Blue Ribbon marks when average math and reading scores of students in each grade meet or exceed scores at the 85th national percentile. SJB is represented by the solid light blue and solid dark blue. The blue ribbon marks are represented by the lighter patterned bars.