Challenger Geometry: A Step in the Right Direction
The Challenger Geometry extra-curricular program has been wildly popular since its inception in 2021, with enrollment far exceeding the administration’s assumptions. Belmont families are voting with their feet. The huge participation rate for Challenger shows the continuing need for more in-school math options at Chenery.
More than a third of the entire 8th grade is participating in Challenger Geometry.
A course taken by more than a third of students in a grade should not be offered as an online extracurricular. At the current Challenger enrollment, Belmont could easily fill 4-5 sections of 8th grade Geometry, in school and available to all students in an equitable way.
73.1% of Belmont 8th graders are taking Algebra 1.
65.3% of Belmont 7th graders are taking Math 7 Compact.
In the 2014-15 school year, 60% of Belmont 7th graders were placed in Math 7 Compact or Algebra 1. That number grew to 73.2% in Math 7 Compact in 2021-22. The number and needs of Belmont advanced math learners have been growing consistently, yet the Belmont Public Schools eliminated exactly the options that met the needs of those students. Math 7 and Math 7 Compact are appropriate for many students, but a large number of Belmont 7th graders are ready for Algebra 1.
Challenger Geometry Was Intended as a Stop-Gap
More than 125 Chenery 8th graders this year are proving they are capable of successfully taking Honors Geometry. There is nothing intrinsic to Geometry that makes it “a high school class.”
With the upcoming shift of 7th and 8th grade students to the new wing at the high school, this is an optimal time to reassess how BPS can serve the needs of these students in school as part of the regular school day. Filling multiple classes of 7th grade Algebra 1 and 8th grade Geometry does not involve additional hiring and does not adversely impact class sizes.
Eliminating Existing In-School Opportunities Widens Equity Gaps
Families with financial means have access to costly outside programs
When the curriculum does not meet student needs, families seek outside enrichment
In-school 7th Grade Algebra 1 and 8th Grade Geometry can be offered at zero cost to the operating budget.