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Math, science teacher may be added to Palmerton district

Published February 06. 2013 05:02PM

An additional math teacher and a half-time science teacher could be added at Palmerton Area High School in the 2013-14 school year.

The only impact on the 2013-14 budget would be the half-time science teacher, as the math teacher would be a retirement replacement, explained Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, to the school board at a workshop meeting on Tuesday.

Fenner attempted to explain the rationale behind the proposed changes to the junior high school/high school Math department, and added the rationale was based on data concerning the Class of 2012, of which 37 percent went to a four-year college, 46 percent into a two-year/technical college; seven percent to the armed services; and 10 percent into employment.

According to the College Board website, she said the National average for math in 2012 was 514, with Palmerton Area High School's average at 470.

Fenner said the Pennsylvania School Systems Assessment tested all mathematical areas in 11th grade, whereas the Keystone exams are specific to the Algebra I content. Having Algebra II follow Algebra I would give students not proficient on the Keystone exam more Algebra content, she said.

In addition, the Geometry Common Core Standards content is better aligned to be combined with Trigonometry content, she said.

Fenner said the proposed changes would be to eliminate Algebra A, Algebra B, Algebra III/Trig; combine Geometry and Trig together; change Accelerated Geometry (currently ninth grade) to an honors course; change Honors Probability & Statistics to a non-honors course; and if a student fails Algebra I, the course would need to be retaken at PASD, with no credit recovery available.

Currently, only the two sections out of the six sections are placed into PreAlgebra in seventh grade, Fenner said. In order to get more students into the College Prep track to raise SAT/Keystone scores, they request the majority, or 80-percent of the class be placed into PreAlgebra in seventh grade, she said. In addition, students will start the CP/honors track in ninth grade, with Algebra II as the majority of students are college bound.

Afterward, Pamela Wuest, high school Mathematics chairperson, urged the board to approve the changes.

"We're all behind this; we'd like it," Wuest said. "We want to challenge the students."

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