Mathematics Enrichment at SJB
SJB has launched an accelerated mathematics pilot program in 5th and 7th grades with the goal of developing a new, third-level math program in grades 5-8 for the 2018-19 school year.
A handful of students with a demonstrated aptitude for mathematics were selected for the web-based, 4-week pilot course, which unleashes pacing and content restrictions. Using laptops in the classroom, each student logs onto ALEKS, a subscription-based online math program linked to McGraw-Hill, publisher of SJB's new algebra textbooks.
A pre-assessment determines skills mastered, skills to be learned, and a course of action individualized to the student. Grading is determined by effort and progress. The course is coordinated by two middle school mathematics teachers, Mrs. Dalton and Mr. Lucey, who provide individualized instruction and monitor practice problems and periodic assessments for mastery.
SJB is excited about bringing a third-level mathematics course to the middle school. The effect will be more targeted instruction and more appropriately challenging problems for all middle-school math students.
Four times a week, selected students in grades 3 and 4 experience mathematics education at a level one or two steps above their regular classroom instruction. Two math teachers invite small groups to the upper school Math Room to challenge the students in new ways. The 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. Students still attend regular math classes, but the enrichment program provides an opportunity to accelerate. Students are selected based on teacher recommendations and their latest Scantron performance scores. The content, lessons, and activities are constructed around the small group and the standards 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 ALEKS 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.
Our primary goal in middle-school mathematics instruction is to prepare our students for success in freshman math courses in the Catholic high schools and to give our 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, we have 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 over the winter.
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 7th and 8th grade algebra and pre-algebra textbook curriculum is receiving an upgrade for 2018-19. 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.
SJB 8th Grader Awarded 1st Place Scholarship in Essay Competition
Congratulations to Riley Langan. She has received the first place award in the Catholic Business Network's annual 8th grade essay competition. The Catholic Business Network will award Riley a $2,500 high school scholarship at its awards breakfast on Friday. Riley plans this fall to attend St. John's College High School, where she has received a scholarship and entrance into the De La Salle Scholars Program. Eighth-grade students across the archdiocese were invited to write, in 250 to 500 words, an essay about the combat of hate with extraordinary love.
SJB Eighth Grade Students Show High School Colors
If you see a couple of 8th grade students walking to the library in their Holy Cross and Good Counsel sweatshirts, they're not out of uniform. We encourage the 8th grade students to proudly wear the sweaters and sweatshirts of the high schools they plan to attend, and we do this for a few reasons.
1. Eighth graders deserve privileges for their perseverance.
2. We have a fair number of buddy-class activities, and we want the younger students to see where their older buddies will be in school next year.
3. We want the younger students to make the connection between the rewards and the dedication and hard work that our 8th grade students displayed.
High School Acceptances
Each spring, we give a brief rundown of how our 8th grade students fared in their applications to the Catholic and private high schools.
Of the 22 students who applied to Our Lady of Good Counsel, 16 students were accepted, and 6 were placed on the wait list.
Of the 8 students who applied to the Academy of the Holy Cross, all 8 students were accepted.
Of the 11 students who applied to St. John's College High School, 6 were accepted, 2 were placed on the wait list, and 3 were rejected.
Of the two students who applied to Georgetown Visitation, one was accepted and one was placed on the wait list.
Of the two students who applied to Stone Ridge, one was accepted and one was placed on the wait list.
Of the one student who applied to Sidwell Friends School, the one student was accepted.
Of the two students who applied to St. Vincent Pallotti High School, both students were accepted.