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Advanced math classes will continue in Newport-Mesa middle schools

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District will maintain current math course pathways for the 2018-19 school year after parents protested the possibility of eliminating advanced courses for middle school students.

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The district made the announcement in a Monday email to parents. Trustees were expected to discuss the issue further at Tuesday evening’s school board meeting.

Students who pass the math placement exam will continue to be eligible for middle school honors or enriched math classes.

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Meanwhile, administrators will continue to “assess and research” how to best help students meet state Common Core standards in math.

Newport-Mesa's announcement comes after several parents crowded the district boardroom June 26 to criticize plans to modify how math classes are offered in middle school with a new course sequence educators say would establish a stronger foundation for students to flourish in high school.

A district committee of teachers, principals and officials proposed eliminating enriched or honors math classes at middle schools. Instead, all students would take the same math courses until they reach their junior year in high school.

Supplemental math classes were being considered for students who either need extra help or show signs of quick comprehension.

Parents, who received news of the potential changes from district officials days before the June 18 study session, contended a lack of acceleration in middle school would bore "math-focused" students and could mean less access to Advanced Placement classes in high school.

Also, they argued, students could be slowed or confused if classes aren’t sorted by levels.

The district had planned to adopt a new math pathway during a future board meeting with changes implemented for the 2018-19 school year, but trustees directed staff to consider parents’ concerns before a new math pathway was recommended.

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