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Local schools selected for national study

By Staff | May 27, 2009

Six Lee County public high schools have been selected to participate in a national Algebra 1 Study conducted by researchers at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at The Johns Hopkins University. More than 450 ninth-graders from Cape Coral, Dunbar, East Lee County, Estero, Island Coast, and Riverdale high schools will participate in the federally funded study.
The Johns Hopkins Algebra I Study will evaluate two non-traditional approaches to teach algebra, determining if one approach is more effective in increasing mathematics skills and performance or whether the two approaches are equally effective. Schools were randomly assigned to one of two strategies for one school year. To be eligible for the study, students must be in enrolled in Algebra I for the first time.
“Not only is this an honor for our district to be selected for a national study, but it’s a great opportunity for our students and teachers as well,” said Dr. James Browder, Superintendent of Schools. “We are going to see up close innovative and unique teaching methods with a goal of increasing student achievement.”
One strategy, Stretch Algebra, is a year-long course in Algebra 1 with students attending classes of 70 to 90 minutes a day for two semesters. This approach gives students a “double dose” of algebra with time to work on fundamental mathematics skills, as needed.
The second strategy is a sequence of two courses, also taught in extended class periods. During the first semester, students will take a course called Transition to Advanced Mathematics, followed by the district’s Algebra I course in the second semester. The first-semester course was developed by researchers and curriculum writers at Johns Hopkins to fill gaps in fundamental skills, develop mathematics reasoning and build students’ confidence in their abilities.
Teachers using both strategies will receive professional development and mathematics coaches will provide weekly support to those who are teaching the two-course approach and the study will provide teacher guides, as well as, hands-on materials for students in Transition to Advanced Mathematics. Johns Hopkins researchers will be collecting data throughout the school year.
Other districts selected to participate in the study in 2009/10 include: Chatham County Public Schools, NC; Fairfax County Public Schools, VA; Toledo Public Schools, Ohio; and the Washington County School District in Utah.

Source: School District of Lee County