This school year, students who excel in math are being challenged more than ever before with a new program in Madison City Schools. District leaders have started a new accelerated math program for students learning at a fast pace.
Although this is the first year 5th graders can take accelerated math, all of the classes at the elementary schools are at full capacity. As one of the superintendent's initiatives, the goal is to challenge students.
"Its like, can we get onto negatives now? I might as well just stay at home and sleep," said 5th grader, David Tettey.
That's how Tettey describes his learning in a traditional math class. But this year, it's different for the Mill Creek Elementary student.
"It's actually something that makes your brain work, in other classes, it's like I know multiplication now, let's do something else," said Tettey.
He's one of the students in the new accelerated math program and says after the first school semester, he can already tell a difference in how he is being challenged.
"There is a lot of things that you can do to move at your own pace and there is actually something to challenge you," said Tettey.
The class is interactive, with students often working in groups. They still learn the fundamental 5th grade math, then build off that.
"The big difference I think is in this curriculum, promoting mathematical thinking. It's not just the straight procedures, it's the background on why you're doing that procedure, building that understanding," said Lisa Large, an accelerated math teacher.
Last year, district leaders traveled throughout the nation visiting schools with strong math programs.
"We found really strong programs in Virginia, New York, we did some visiting. We took some ideas from them and that's what we are trying to implement here," said Superintendent Robby Parker.
For Parker, offering more advanced classes is part of having high expectations for all students. Something school leaders credit for the district recently receiving an "A" letter grade from the State Department of Education. Something only six districts statewide received. There are future plans to take accelerated math classes down to the third grade.
There is an application process to get into the class, and students test scores are taken into consideration.
The incentive for students is to better equip them to take even more challenging math courses once they get into middle school the next school year.
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