The math department at Homewood-Flossmoor High School is putting its finishing touches on the new Integrated Math curriculum and working on how best to inform parents of what the change will mean for students.
The incoming freshman class will be the first to use the new curriculum. H-F will no longer list Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II as core courses. Students will be enrolled in Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3. The District 233 school board approved the updates in March.
Robert White, chair of the math department, told members of the District 233 Planning Committee Nov. 13 that math teachers are working on “designing chapter tests and final exams for April/May. The curriculum document and proficiency scales are ready to roll. That will give the math teachers time to review that and get feedback and make changes as needed.”
White said the teachers “have written all of the chapter tests for Integrated 1 and transition to the final exam.” He said developing targets “of what we want students to do, that’s been our first goal.”
The curriculum is using Common Core Math Standards and is being designed “making sure we’re not teaching junior high math but we’re teaching high school math.“ White believes that “is a trap that many districts get into.”
“Curricularly, yes, next year will be hard because we’ll be doing some Geometry with freshmen, but right now we’re experiencing some growing pains on the instruction side. There’s a lot of managing how much change we can do all at once. That’s the primary focus of what we do every day,” White told the committee members.
“Traditionally we have about 100 students entering the building that had not taken Algebra I but they’re taking Geometry and we have about 30 students who are double accelerated, so they’re taking at least Algebra/Trigonometry. Every once in a while, a student (is at) Pre-Calculus.
“I think we’re going to be dealing with a lot of the same systems that we’re dealing with now. Kids are going to enter this grid where they are. Students that should have taken Algebra 1 are going to take Integrated 1,” White said.
White and Jen Hester, director of curriculum at H-F, said they are meeting with staff at Homewood District 153 and Flossmoor District 161 to talk curriculum and verify what math students are learning so there can be a sound transition into the high school program.
H-F board member Michelle Hoereth, who serves on the Planning Committee, said she’s hearing concerns from parents and was appreciative of efforts the district was making to give families insights into why the curriculum is changing.
The Public Relations Office is designing Integrated Math printed materials and an informative video for parents.
Hoereth also asked how the math department would be assessing growth and giving the school board comparisons on the success of Integrated Math versus the current Algebra I, Geometry, Algrebra II system.
“When will we be able to see data that will show whether we need more time to evaluate?” she asked. “Is it going to be Integrated Math 1 for 2024-25 school year. Does that mean 2025-26 we should see something? I just want to make sure the board has a full picture.”
Hester said the math department will develop assessments for the course, and “Algebra will be tracked with ACT/SAT scores.” White added: “Proficiency scales will have targets, and we’ll be able to know the percentage of students meeting those targets as we go through it.”