Math added to middle school schedule
Last updated 4/8/2020 at 3:18pm | View PDF
District 181 middle school students will soon have more math in their daily academic diet.
At Monday night’s Community Consolidated District 181 Board meeting, board members approved a plan to increase math instruction for students at the two district middle schools in the 2020-21 school year. Under the plan, students will have an additional math period every other day, alternating with world language instruction. Students already have daily math as part of their core content.
The new schedule was one of four options considered by the middle school scheduling committee, which was revived last fall. The committee originally was formed in 2017 to study the possibility of incorporating more math into the schedule to ensure students’ readiness for high school. But its work was suspended as other curriculum work was ironed out.
In addition to increasing math instruction, the plan also addresses a discrepancy in math minutes allocated at Hinsdale Middle and Clarendon Hills Middle schools.
“Moving to (this schedule) brings consistency to both middle school schedules and provides instructional minutes to each core class that are appropriately allocated for the amount of content taught during one school year,” according to a memo from district administrators to the board.
John Munch, assistant superintendent for human resources, told board members the district wanted to examine counterpart districts for guidance. District 181’s unusually extensive selection of classes — with 36 different academic paths middle schoolers can take — made it hard to draw comparisons on middle school scheduling in other communities, he explained.
“Students in eighth grade at HMS are taking 36 unique combinations of courses,” Munch said. “We could not find a district that had all of those offerings, so we’re very unique.”
The reduction of time dedicated to world language results in a districtwide decrease of 3.0 FTE, while the 50 percent increase in math instruction requires boosting middle school teachers by 7.0 FTE, based on scheduling constraints. That means a net staffing increase of up to 4.0 FTE.
Board President Meeta Patel acknowledged that some may not be happy with the decrease in world language but praised the move as the right one.
“I think there’s always some competition when we’re trying to do (this rescheduling) within the existing minutes of the day,” Patel said. “The decision to move forward with this really benefits all students.”