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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Algebra 1 for eighth-graders

I've been communicating with many concerned Crossett Brook and Harwood Middle School parents this past week regarding the proposed change to the eighth-grade curriculum, requiring all students to take Connected Math. Eighth-graders who are algebra-ready would have to take Algebra 1 as an online course in their own time.

Many of us believe that:

  • Top schools in Vermont, New England and the rest of the country offer algebra to algebra-ready students in the eighth grade. It keeps kids interested in math and eases the academic pathway to higher math (calculus) and science (AP physics) during high school.
  • Alternate pathways to higher math and science that result from eliminating algebra in the eighth grade are unreasonably complicated and cause an undue burden on students and their families.
  • Harwood should strive to be a competitive and recognized leader in the pursuit of advanced math in high school. Eliminating algebra during school hours for algebra-ready eighth-graders is counter to this goal and harmful to the aspirations of students.

We believe that there are several alternatives to the 24/7 online model that would satisfy not only the accelerated learners but all eighth-grade students. We are looking forward to discussing these alternatives with the administration at the eighth-grade math meeting at 6 p.m. on May 3 in the Harwood library.

If you have a child who you believe would be a candidate for taking algebra in the middle school, I urge you to attend the May 3 meeting and to voice your opinion at the next Harwood board meeting at 6 p.m. on April 18. As we've seen from history, once a middle school math program is eliminated from the curriculum, it's nearly impossible to bring back. You can learn more at


Nancy Baron





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