Mathematics Department Overview
Mathematics in Clifton School District is an integral part of each student’s education. Our curriculum focuses on the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for mathematics and the Mathematical Practices with a focus on major, additional, and supporting standards at each grade level. Students are taught using the tenets of Constructivist theory and instructional strategies that include hands-on learning, inquiry-based teaching, conceptual understanding, direct and indirect instruction, data-driven small group stations/centers, and real-world applications of math concepts and skills. Our adaptive mathematics technology programs, Prodigy, Practice Buddy, Exact Path, Imagine Math, Dreambox, and Study Island, further support and enrich student understanding of mathematics. Finally, we use Defined STEM as a way to integrate problem-based learning with a career focus so students can see how mathematics is infused into everyday life.
Programs used to instruct our rigorous mathematics curriculum differ in elementary, middle, and high school to meet the needs of our diverse student population. However, each completely aligns with the district and state guidelines for mathematics education. At the elementary level, Kindergarten through fifth grade, students use enVisions 2.0 to teach our standards-based curriculum. In the middle schools, grades 6-8, The Connected Mathematics Project 3 program further supports our inquiry-based constructivist approach. At the high school, we have varied texts depending on the course and academic level to meet the needs of our students.
To meet the needs of all students, we have different levels of support in mathematics. We have inclusion classes, basic skills support, resource classes, and ESL and limited English courses from Kindergarten through grade 12. At the middle school, we also offer Math Excel, Intensity Skills classes, and ESL Intensity classes for students who need additional support in the area of mathematics in place of a traditional study hall. Additionally, at each middle school, we have accelerated mathematics courses and Algebra 1 for high achieving students. At the high school level, students can take advanced classes that include AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Computer Science, and AP Computer Science Principles. At high school, students have the opportunity to compete in competitions that include the New Jersey Math League, Continental Math League, New Jersey Secondary School Math Contest, and Trig Star.
Our mathematics department is always striving to improve student achievement. One way we do that is through professional development. We use job-embedded professional development and coaching for teachers as a way to enhance best practices in mathematics, train teachers on new programs, analyze state, local, and student data via LinkIt! in common planning PLCs, and assist new teachers in the district with math instruction. To foster continuous improvement in teaching the NJSLA-M, we send teachers to out of district workshops by partnering with local universities to make sure our teachers are providing the best instruction to our students. Finally, we are continually looking at data to drive and improve instruction in the area of mathematics. Each year assessments, curriculum, and pacing may be revised based on local and state assessment data and feedback from school stakeholders.