Increasing Option II Math Course Availability in Hillsborough Township Schools

Increasing Option II Math Course Availability in Hillsborough Township Schools

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Asha Murthy started this petition to Hillsborough Board of Education and

Proposal for Increasing Option II Math Course Availability at Hillsborough High School, NJ

To: Hillsborough High School, Board of Education [BOE]--Superintendent Office, and The Mayor, Mr. Frank DelCore

From: The Parents of Hillsborough Township and surrounding areas, NJ

Objective:  Allow students to take Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 via Option II (online or in-person) during the summer directly before or during high school (for the purposes of course advancement)

Introduction: Hillsborough is rated among the best towns to live in New Jersey. In addition to safety, beautiful parks, and prominent sports leagues, Hillsborough Township offers its residents a well ranked school system. Hillsborough township has grown significantly in the last 20 years, with a current population of about 40,000.  People living in different towns and counties have moved in to avail themselves of the benefits of one of the best school systems in New Jersey. Unfortunately, this has stretched the resources available to our students in the school district.

Currently, students in HHS cannot double-up in math due to the recent budget referendum failing. Previously, students were allowed to concurrently take Geometry and Algebra 2; however, due to budget cuts, this is no longer offered. Additionally, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra 2 are restricted to being taken at HMS/HHS during the school year by a local Hillsborough mandate. We fully recognize how difficult a position this is for school administrators, teachers, and other faculty, as they all want to provide students with as many opportunities as possible. This is why we want to work together to change certain local Hillsborough school district policies, so that our children can still reach their potentials even in the face of fiscal constraints.

Proposal: Allow students to take Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 at accredited schools (online or in-person) outside of Hillsborough for original credit through Option II during the summer between 8th and 9th grade, or any summer thereafter.

Reasoning: The mandate that students have to take state-tested math courses (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2) during the school year at HMS or HHS was instituted under a  different budget, with the assumption that students would be able to double up in math during their freshman year of high school. As this is no longer the case, we feel that it is in the best interest of students that the policies are updated to align with the times as well as the financial resources available. There are numerous ancillary benefits to this proposal: students who are heavily involved with extracurricular activities may benefit from taking these courses during the summer rather than doubling-up during the school year, and students who missed academic cutoffs in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade can advance in the math course series and show their development.

Additionally, allowing students to take any of these courses via Option II at an outside, accredited institution, will provide the maximum amount of students the opportunity to advance courses and achieve their highest potential. The NJ State Department of Education’s states that their vision of Option II is to: “maximize student achievement” by encouraging “local school districts to permit alternative learning experiences that are stimulating and intellectually challenging, and that enable students to fulfill or exceed the expectations set forth in the Core Curriculum Content Standards”. Our request would allow Hillsborough to align its policies with the goals of the NJ State Department of Education.

Examples: The blueprint for this model already exists at other high schools in the county and state (Franklin, Bridgewater-Raritan, Hunterdon Central, West Windsor-Plainsboro), as well as within Hillsborough (for Math Analysis H); it would just need to be adapted for Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2 specifically.

Conclusion: We understand School administrators such as yourselves are in a very difficult position, having to balance funding with the wishes of students and their families. We believe that expanding Option II independent study course choices (paid for by students’ families) to encompass original credit for Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2 in the summer before 9th grade or during high school would allow for the best of both worlds.

Parents:  Please sign the petition to express your support. This petition is for changes that will impact students moving from HMS to HHS, as well as those already at HHS. If you have a student who will be attending HHS this fall, or in the future, please consider this petition and pledge your support if you agree with increasing math course opportunities for our children

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