Solid mathematical skills are the foundation for success in upper education and for many careers in our modern world. Mathematics is also an expression of the order and beauty that surround us. Children grow in competence as well as wonder when they are given instruction that is at the right level and delivered in ways they understand.
Every student entering St. John Bosco takes a placement test in math. Each morning the first instructional period for all grades is math. Children change classes to meet with the class at their own math level. Good math instruction starts with the correct placement.
A child who struggles with math is placed at his or her instructional level in order to gain skills and understanding of important foundational concepts. Many students study math one level above the grade they are in. Some of our graduates from 8th grade have entered 10th and even 11th grade high school math classes and excelled there.
There is no replacement for children learning their math facts by heart. Teachers give students strategies for remembering their facts, and they practice to the point of automaticity.
At SJBS math concepts are continuously reinforced. We use the Saxon Math program, in which a new skill is practiced every day for at least several days before the next skill is added to it. The Saxon approach provides cumulative practice every day so that students have constant reinforcement of what they have learned.
What about the Common Core?
St. John Bosco School will not adopt the Common Core, in whole or in part.
It is our desire to provide children the clear instruction they need and plenty of practice to reach mastery of mathematical skills.
Later in their school careers students are ready to analyze their own thinking, make comparisons, and understand complex relationships in problem-solving. The foundation laid in the early years gives Bosco students the tools they need to engage in those tasks most effectively--when they are developmentally ready to do so.