As the Denver Public Schools’ website reminds parents of middle school children, “…students the world over will one day compete for resources to get ahead. With technological advances and global commerce framing their paths to success, students who have insight and a creative attitude, and who have been disciplined in mathematical reasoning and communication will be better positioned respond to the needs of a global economy.” Better positioned indeed, and for an endless number of endeavors; put simply, our students must be afforded a first-rate mathematical education. That is exactly what we provide at Grant. At GBMS our mathematical mission is straightforward: provide each student with a top-notch teacher, well-researched and analyzed Essential Learning Goals (ELGs), a superior curriculum, differentiated classrooms and small class sizes. This formula produces outstanding results, confirmed through a variety of assessment data.
Essential Learning Goals are the driving force behind our mathematical instruction. ELGs inform and guide students as to exactly the concepts and skills they need to master to make the progression towards mathematical competency. Additionally, the ELGs permit teachers to readily determine student needs by providing a continuous appraisal of individual student needs. Teachers are able to constantly monitor and adjust the rate of instruction for every child, re-teaching specific lessons, adding interventions and even individual tutoring where necessary.
Guided by our ELGs, Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) provides the curriculum at Grant as the CMP website states, “All students should be able to reason and communicate proficiently in mathematics. They should have knowledge of and skill in the use of the vocabulary, forms of representation, materials, tools, techniques, and intellectual methods of the discipline of mathematics, including the ability to define and solve problems with reason, insight, inventiveness and proficiency.” Included in these intellectual methods is the ability to write about mathematics as a wide body of research has concluded that the ability to write and communicate about difficult subject matter affords a much keener understanding of that material and its processes.
At Grant all classes are differentiated: “Partially Proficient” students are enabled by their peers through collaboration with students functioning at higher levels, while “Advanced” and “Proficient” students constantly hone fundamentals while practicing the “building blocks” of mathematics. Honors students are given additional, high-level homework and an additional once-a-week-project based skills class two or three times per week where they further enhance their abilities, while less proficient students receive skills classes two additional days a week designed to bring them up to pace with their grade level. As a result of our extremely small class sizes, all math students receive an abundance of personal attention, weekly progress monitoring, and modification of instruction.
Mathletics is a series of DPS math competitions that are designed to to challenge and advance our top math students. The topics are selected to improve math skills among sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders who are at a crucial stage in developing and sustaining math interest and ability. Along with the competition, GBMS has created a Pre-AP Math Enrichment course that allows students time to work on the Mathletics topics, as well as explore various other areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.)
All students at GBMS are provided with an ALEKS account free of charge in order to provide students with the advantages of one-on-one instruction, 24/7, from virtually any Web-based computer. Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions. A student who shows a high level of mastery of an ALEKS course will be successful in the actual course she is taking.