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Mount Madonna School Advances a Middle School “Math Path” By Katrina Leni-Konig AT MOUNT MADONNA SCHOOL (MMS), students experience a transformative approach to learning mathematics that goes beyond the curriculum to enhance each student’s lifelong relationship with the subject. The goal is to create an environment where every individual can thrive as a math student, fueled by curiosity, confi dence, and determination. Mathematics is then a tool that supports the continual development of the students’ emotional intelligence. Teachers nurture a classroom culture that encourages self- awareness, resilience, and humility. By middle school, students are asked to take the lead in determining their own “math path,” considering which classes they will want to take in high school. Too often, students are sorted into math classes by a test, grades or other forms of top-down selection. At MMS, we wanted to develop a process that allows each student to discover what feels right for them. We give them time and opportunities to explore math in different ways. The math path selection process begins in sixth grade, when students select a math elective, either the Math Lab Intensive or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), for one period a week. Through STEAM, students link logical thinking with creativity through music, engineering, and art. By seventh grade, Math Lab Intensive becomes required Algebra skills practice in order to advance into an accelerated Algebra I/II course in eighth grade. Students can move into an accelerated math path as late as tenth grade, by taking a geometry course over the summer. Mount Madonna School “Research shows that math achievement correlates with hard work and motivation more than any other factors,” said Lisa Catterall, MMS director of middle school. “The opportunity to accelerate at any time through tenth grade means that students can jump ahead when they are truly excited about math and want the chance to do more.” Many students in traditional programs are left with feelings of ‘not being good at math’ well into adulthood. By providing students with a choice and opportunity of exploring mathematics in different ways, we are opening the possibility for all students to feel confident and successful in math. Katrina Leni-Konig teaches sixth and seventh grade math and science at Mount Madonna, and lives in Gilroy with her family. creating something special Open House November 19, 11:00am Art & Play in the Pre & K! November 30, 9:30am Pirates of Penzance, Jr. December 10-11 RSVP 408-847-2717 Pre/K - 12th grade CAIS & WASC accredited Nonsectarian Bus Transportation GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 19