Town Square

Post a New Topic

Differentiated math instruction in PAUSD?

Original post made by Math?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 19, 2008

How does this school district identify and support talented math students? If kids score well on the STAR test are they targeted to receive math enrichment?

My child had a scale score of 600 on the math section of the STAR test. Actually, I'm not sure whether this is even that remarkable, but I wanted to find out how differentiated math instruction works in the PAUSD.

I'm not particularly hung up on my child participating in a GATE program, per se, (and the mid-average range English language art score wouldn't seem to support that), but I don't want the kid to become bored in math because the rest of the class is farther behind. I'm hoping that at the very least there will be some kind of enrichment material offered within the regular classroom setting, or an opportunity to advance further into the math curriculum independent of the other students in the class.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue? If so, how was it handled at your child's school?

Comments (7)

Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Bless you for your concern. Never just trust "they" will do the right thing. Some extra curricular math play is always a plus.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Depends on what age you are talking about. There is laning in the older grades at some of the elementary schools and then from 7th grade on there is laning. The teachers test the kids for which class they should be in and it is not determined by STAR testing, in fact many math teachers have no idea how the kids have performed in STAR tests. The tests by which the determination of which 7th grade math lane the students are put in are year long assessment of quizes, homework, final exams, and doing optional homework. The optional homework may not seem to be math related, but by doing this homework the students are more likely to get into the better lanes and by opting not to do this homework, they are less likely to get in. It is a different definition of the word optional.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I was wondering if the original poster Math? could tell us a little more about your child's level of math accomplishment so far. Is you child's math ability completely natural - like they just like math and pick it up based on what they learn in the course of the regular PAUSD classroom day?

Or have you put extra focus on math at home and through tutoring programs, or other extracurricular activities?

and how old (or what grade) is your child?


Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I think the average is pretty high, particularly at some schools. Teachers give different level work sheets to different kids, low and high. Palo Alto parents would have a cow if there was a gifted class, because all our kids are gifted in our eyes. I have heard that Escondido has a pull-out one hour a week on math, but that wouldn't fly at our school!

Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm

We got a flyer this year in our first-day packets about Stanford's online gifted enrichment program. Says it's open to all kids at Ohlone who want to enroll. Is that happening at the other PAUSD schools, or is this all the work of an Ohlone parent? Anyway, it starts math enrichment at the K level.

Like this comment
Posted by karen
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm

my experience as an accelerated math student is that you have to prove, clearly to teachers and department heads, at least at paly, that you have the ability, but if you do, they will be willing to support you as for as you can go. i know quite a few kids coming from middle school who are two years ahead in math. that means that somewhere in elementary school, they're already moving beyond the regular school curriculum .

Like this comment
Posted by karen
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm


sorry about that. typed a little fast.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Coming soon: Fire Oak & Barley in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,072 views

The Saddle Room – A True Friend of Kids
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,922 views

Meditation Before Medication for Better Mental Health
By Chandrama Anderson | 11 comments | 1,854 views

The Four E's--Pope Francis and the Middle Class
By Steve Levy | 2 comments | 799 views

My College Mindset is Intrinsically Motivated
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 644 views