A letter from Beverly Bisnett-Jenks, Instructional Administrator for Math, Science and Technology regarding accelerated classes
Dear Seventh Grade Students and Families,
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with information about acceleration and the criteria that are used to determine if your student is ready to participate in the High School level courses in Algebra I and/or Regents Living Environment (Biology) as an 8th grader next year. If your student qualifies for the acceleration program, you will be notified by letter in mid-May of 2023.
At Farnsworth Middle School, we seek to identify each student’s unique talents. Students who have demonstrated exceptional abilities are provided with opportunities to move beyond the core curriculum through acceleration. Acceleration allows students to participate in the curriculum at a faster pace than their peers. Students who are recommended to accelerate first and foremost demonstrate learning behaviors that support them as 8th graders taking High School Level courses. When forming a recommendation the following criteria are considered. Successful accelerated students display the following:
- Access and use resources without prompting
- Attempt to do their best work
- Complete work in a timely manner
- Take advantage of opportunities to extend learning beyond what is delivered during class time.
- Follow directions independently
- Advocate for themselves and communicate with teachers frequently
- Work consistently and demonstrate a desire to understand concepts rather than just finish assignments.
- Able to learn from mistakes and change behavior based on experience.
- Demonstrate mastery of mathematical (scientific) concepts (test at an 85 or better)
- Demonstrate focus and time management skills that support their learning
- Actively participate in class instruction whether in person or remotely
To determine whether a student is ready to take high school-level Algebra, we use four pieces of criteria that are applied to a rubric. These include:
- Quarterly grades for the first three quarters of Grade 7 Math
- Algebraic Thinking Benchmark Assessment
- The iReady diagnostic tool for Math administered end of January/beginning of February
- Teacher Review of student learning behaviors as outlined above
Those students who are selected for acceleration in Mathematics will then be considered for acceleration in Science for the 2023/2024 school year. Students selected to accelerate in Science take Regents Biology in lieu of Science 8. The grade 7 Science teachers will be carefully considering students for acceleration in science based on a teacher’s review of the above mentioned learning behaviors, their quarterly grades, and benchmark assessments. A rubric is applied to these criteria to select students.
It is essential that students demonstrate these skills in order to be successful as accelerated students. This is due in part because students’ performance will be recorded permanently on their transcripts. If at any time you are concerned about your student’s performance and have questions, please feel free to contact your student’s math and/or science teacher or me at email@example.com.
Dr. Bev Bisnett-Jenks
Math, Science, and Technology Instructional Administrator.
Farnsworth Middle School