- The 2022-23 Math Instructional Leader is Natalie Docktor.
- The 2022-23 administrator in charge of Math is Erik Olah.
- Standards & Framework
- Paly Math Flow Chart: Flexible Pathways
- Math at Paly
- Paly Math Electives
- Placement and Course Challenge Process
- Students New to PAUSD/Math Placement Testing
- Prior Approval for Off-Campus Courses
Standards & Framework
Paly Math Flow Chart: Flexible Pathways
Math at Paly
- It is our goal in the Palo Alto High Mathematics Department to place students in courses that provide the appropriate level of challenge. When placed appropriately, a committed student who puts in the amount of work required should be able to master the content of that course. Due to the sequential nature of the subject, students who have not mastered a particular course have little chance of success in the course that follows in that sequence.
- For PAUSD students, readiness for a particular course is determined by the present teacher, who knows both the PAUSD curriculum and the student's preparedness level and makes a careful, informed recommendation for placement with the student's best interest in mind. Eighth grade teachers at our middle schools in the district place incoming freshman in one of the following courses: Alg 1, Geo, Geo H or Alg 2/Trig H (students who took Geo H in the district in 8th grade).
- On-site placement test for out-of-district students will be on April 21, 2023.
It is possible for students to change lanes over the course of their math education. Your student’s current math teacher, Teacher Advisor, Counselor, and the Math Instructional Leader will help with such decisions. Students showing academic responsibility, independence, and mastery on current year assessments might consider moving up a lane. Students are encouraged to speak with the classroom teacher and the IL for support in choosing a new lane. Changing lanes into a more advanced course may require summer work.
So that a student does not fall further behind in the course, up-laning first semester must occur within one week after the first progress report, and up-laning second semester must occur during the first week of the semester.
Down-laning first semester must occur within one week after the end of the first quarter, and down-laning second semester must occur within the first week of Semester 2. Down-loaning is only possible if there is room in the requested new class.
If a student submits a lane change form before the administration of the second scheduled test of their current course, then no grades will transfer to the new one. If the form is submitted after, all grades will transfer.
Homework By Course/Lane
- All math classes assign homework daily.
- Please refer to Paly's course catalog for information on what a typical weekly HW load is for a particular class.
Progression To Next Level
- Please refer to the course catalog for course prerequisites.
- Students earning a D- or higher in both semesters of a regular lane course may continue on to the next course. However, students would be strongly encouraged to redeem their grade and shore up their understanding in summer school.
Summer School and courses taken outside the district
- Even the best summer school courses are crash courses that are not comparable in depth or breadth to the course work in our Honors or Advanced lane. Consequently, all summer courses earn just regular lane credit.
- The typical summer courses offered by PAUSD are Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Depending upon enrollment size, both first and second semesters will be offered in 3-week intensive sessions for each. For additional summer school offerings and information, please visit https://www.pausd.org/student-supports/summer-school.
- After completing the PAUSD graduation requirement of Alg 2, students can apply to take courses at accredited institutions for credit (including community colleges like Canada, Foothill, De Anza, if they are 16 or older). Pre-approval from both the Dept IL and the Assistant Principal of Instruction is a requirement. Courses taken without proper pre-approval will be denied PAUSD credit. Pre-approval forms are available in the Guidance Office. Courses taken outside the district can only earn regular lane credit.
Paly Math Electives
This course is designed to be a project-based introduction to applied statistics
|Grades of C- or better in both semesters of Geometry or higher course||Semester (UC approved)|
|Advanced Problem Solving
The objective of this course is to foster excellence in mathematics through problem solving and competition
|None||Four semesters available:
APS 1, 2, 3, and 4 (not UC approved)
|AP Statistics||Refer to Paly's course catalog as there are multiple pathways into AP Statistics||Year (UC approved / UC weighted)|
Placement and Course Challenge Process
Changing Math Placement
Students who feel they are not appropriately placed should meet with their teacher and counselor to determine if a schedule correction is needed (BP 6152.1). Within 10 school days of an initial placement decision or placement decision upon reevaluation, a student and their parent/guardian may appeal the decision to the Superintendent or designee.
Challenge by Examination
PAUSD Board Policy allows high school students to challenge courses by examination (BP 6155). This examination is aligned to state-adopted content standards in mathematics taught in the course being challenged. If a student successfully challenges a course, a grade based on their results and units will be added to their transcript with a note indicating that the requirement was met by examination.
Students New to PAUSD/Math Placement Testing
Welcome to Paly! All new-to-district (or returning-to-district) students are required to take a math placement test in order to assist the school in placement of your child into a mathematics course commensurate with their foundation. This placement test does NOT track your student into a single course sequence. We have laning at Paly, and students can change lanes at various points throughout their high school career as fits their needs and performance. A few things of note:
- Do not sign up for the placement test unless you have received confirmation that your child has been assigned to Palo Alto High School.
- We will offer the Spring placement testing after school at Paly on Friday April 21, 2023, in the Math department.
Ninth Grade Courses
- Algebra 1
recommended if they have passed Algebra in the 8th grade and have mastered 4 or fewer of the 7 MDTP Algebra strands as assessed by their Algebra teacher.
- Geometry H
recommended if they have mastered at least 5 of the 7 MDTP Algebra strands as assessed by their Algebra teacher.
- Algebra 2 / Trig H
recommended for students completing Geometry H in the 8th grade
- Problem Solving 1 (Sem1)
- Problem Solving 2 (Sem2)
- Students must complete 3 years of math including Algebra 2 at Paly to fulfill PAUSD graduation requirements and UC/CSU eligibility requirements.
- Students who want (or need) to repeat in 9th grade the course they completed in 8th grade can choose to take the corresponding lower level readiness test. For example, a student who took Algebra in 8th grade may need to solidify their mathematical foundation. Thus, a student who has completed Algebra in 8th grade may still be placed into an Alg 1 class as a freshman. (This is similarly true for individuals who took Geometry in 8th grade.)
10-12th Grade Placement
Incoming 10-12th graders from outside the district take one of the following placement tests in Mathematics:
- Students who have completed a formal Algebra 1 class before enrolling at Paly will take a Geometry Readiness test for placement in one of our Geometry classes for sophomores: Geometry A or Geometry. This test covers all of the topics taught in Algebra I necessary to be successful in Geometry.
- Students who have completed formal courses in Algebra I and Geometry (or have completed 2 years of an integrated Algebra/Geometry curriculum) will take a Readiness test for placement in one of our three Algebra II courses: Algebra 2/Trig H, Algebra 2/Trig A, or Algebra 2. This test covers the Geometry curriculum as well as Conic Sections and Trigonometry.
- Students who have completed formal courses in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, will take a placement test for one of our three PreCalculus courses: PreCalculus, Intro to Analysis & Calculus, or Analysis H. This test covers curriculum taught in our various Algebra 2 courses.
- Students who have completed formal courses in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus will take a placement test for one of our Calculus courses: Calculus, AP Calculus AB, or AP Calculus BC. This test covers curriculum taught in our various PreCalculus courses.
Students who want (or need) to repeat the last course they took can choose to take the corresponding lower level readiness test. For example, a student who completed Geometry with a "D" likely needs to solidify their foundation in the subject. They may take a Geometry Readiness test and be placed in one of our Geometry courses at Paly. Students who have formally completed all required prerequisite courses can qualify for math courses beyond their age group if they perform well enough on the placement test to be placed in our Honors lane course. We do not place students ahead unless they have mastered the material covered in the preceding honors level course. For example, a student who has taken Geometry in 8th grade but does not prove competency in all topics covered in our Algebra 2 Readiness assessment will be placed into either Geo A or Geo H.
Additional Placement Test Info
All placement tests are solely multiple choice. We provide scratch paper. They are all designed to be done without a calculator. No special preparation is needed for the test.
- The Algebra Readiness test takes 60 minutes.
- The Geometry Readiness test takes 75 minutes.
- All other Readiness tests take 90 minutes.
Prior Approval for Off-Campus Courses
Students wishing to take off-campus courses (non-PAUSD) must have prior approval. Please see this link for more detailed information regarding off-campus courses at Paly.
- Algebra 1 (Prentice Hall); Charles, Hall, Kennedy, et al (Pearson Ed)
- Algebra 1 Common Core; Randall Charles, et. al.; Pearson
- Algebra 2 (Prentice Hall); Charles, Hall, Kennedy, et al (Pearson Ed)
- Algebra and Trigonometry Graphs & Models, Third Edition; Bittinger, Beecher, Ellenbogen and Penna (Pearson Ed)
- Algebra and Trigonometry: Graphs & Models 4th ed
- Calculus, Concepts and Applications Second Edition; Paul A Foerster (Key Curriculum Press)
- Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 8th Edition
- The Practice of Statistics by Starnes et al; published by BFW; 5th ed
- Geometry (Prentice Hall) Foundation Series; Charles, Hall, Kennedy, et al (Pearson Ed)
- Geometry Common Core by Charles, Hall, Kennedy, Bass, Johnson, Murphy, and Wiggins
- Geometry by Jurgenson Brown Jurgenson Published by Houghton Mifflin
- Precalculus Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic Seventh Ed; Demana, Waits, Foley, & Kennedy (Addison Wesley)
- Precalculus, A Graphing Approach; Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (Harcourt Classroom Edu Co) *reference*