• Middle School Scheduling and Placement FAQ:

    *Students will receive their schedules the 1st day of school*
     
    How will I know if my student is in advanced classes?
     

    The answer varies depending on the content area. Most students will continue on a placement path similar to last year. Please note that advanced placement in one content area does not automatically result in advanced placement in another (ex-HiCap or Honors for Language Arts does not automatically result in advanced math placement. Advanced math is determined on a combined set of specific assessment scores).

    · MATH:

    o Incoming 7thgrade students slated for advanced placement in Compressed Math 7 who are eligible to test for Algebra will receive a letter early July with more information. See FAQ below for more information.

    o Incoming 7thgrade students slated for advanced placement in Compressed Math 7 students who are not eligible to test for Algebra will NOT receive a letter confirming advanced placement into Compressed Math 7.

    o Incoming 8thgrade students who were 7th Grade Compressed Math students who did not qualify for Algebra will receive a letter early July.

    o Incoming 8thgrade students slated for Algebra who were in Compressed Math 7 or regular Math 7 will NOT receive a letter.

    · LANGUAGE ARTS/SOCIAL STUDIES:

    o Incoming 7thHiCap: Students identified to participate in the Highly Capable program have already been identified by the Tumwater School District and notified by the district office. The Highly Capable program at the middle level for 2013-2014 includes a HiCap Language Arts/Social Studies Block and access to an additional advanced Exploratory Enrichment with a math/science focus. To “opt out” of program, appeal placement,or request testing for 2014-2015 eligibility, families are referred to the Tumwater School District Student Learning department: 360.709.7030.

    o Incoming 8th HiCap: Students identified to participate in the Highly Capable program have already been identified by the Tumwater School District and participated in the 7th Grade HiCap program. In 8th grade, HiCap placement is only in Language Arts, not in an LA/SS Block. 
    What data is used to determine math placement?
     

    · Classroom tests –average score of student’s first attempts on math unit tests

    · District mathplacement test

    · State assessment– most recent MSP Math score

    Students new to TSD will be placed in math based upon the data available from previous school/ student cumulative file. Students interested in advanced math placement will have the opportunity to take the district placement test(s) if more data is needed to determine appropriate placement. 
    What if my incoming 7th grade student got a letter indicating there is an option to test for Algebra? Should s/he take the test?
     

    Incoming 7th grade studentswho received a letter indicating they have the option to test for Algebra 1 are already on an advanced math track. They will at minimum be scheduled into Compressed Math 7. The course is a compressed version of seventh and eighth grade state standards. Students successful in Compressed Math 7 move to Algebra 1 in 8thGrade. Continued successful completion has students on track to take Calculus their junior year, which is more than sufficient to qualify for admissions to competitive colleges/universities.

    If a student takes Algebra 1 in 7thgrade, s/he is in a situation of ‘double acceleration’. Successful completion would mean s/he will be bussed to the high school for Geometry in 8th grade. Continued successful completion would allow students to take Calculus their junior year. While starting to take high school level courses can allow high school credits to be earned during middle school, we do not recommend doing so in order to complete the graduation requirement and stop taking math. We strongly encourage all students to stay enrolled in math courses through their senior year, no matter what track they are on. Accruing high school math credits in middle school should only be done in order to graduate with more credits than the minimum requirements, not to take less math in high school.

    Traditionally, the double acceleration track of Algebra 1 has not been an appropriate placement for many 7th graders. This is because most of them have not had exposure to, and therefore do not have mastery of the 7th and 8th grade state standards. It is a good placement for students who already have a solid math foundation and mastery of the middle school math standards. Our experience is that some very capable and hardworking students who push forward on this track hit a ceiling of math understanding during high school and struggle to keep taking math through their senior year. Others have found that there are some learning gaps as they progressbecause of missed content related to the middle school standards. We do not like to see these students experience math frustration or burn out, when they previously were some of our strongest and most engaged math students. For this reason, there is a high bar for qualifying for the double acceleration track.

    If a 7th grade student opts to test for Algebra 1 placement, we want to be clear with him/her that no matter how they do on the placement test – they are a very capable math student. Unfortunately, some feel like ‘failures’ if they do not do well on the Algebra Placement Test.  Please remind your student that to receive an invitation to test means their math data is in the upper end of all the students in their class.  They are an advanced math student whether they qualify to double accelerate or not.

    Please help your student be prepared with this mindset by emphasizing that: 1) they are already an advanced math student by being placed in Compressed Math; 2) that few students were invited to test as incoming 7th graders; and 3) historically, less than half of the students who take the test tend to meet the Algebra 1 cut scores. 
    What if I want to change my student's teachers?
     
    Changing schedules after placements are complete is very restricted due to all the data points and considerations used in creating the schedules, especially if the need/concern was not communicated on the Pre-Registration Form. (See Placement Process details page.)
     
    If you believe the change request is essential, you may initiate the Procedure for Changing Classes:

    1.     After attempting to resolve the concern with your student’s teacher, contact the school counselor to communicate rationale for request and specific student needs. 
    2.     Schedule a Change of Placement meeting with the school counselor and the team (or specific teacher) to discuss placement needs and concerns. Develop strategies/plan and implement for at least two weeks. Set a review meeting date. 

    3.     If concern continues, schedule a Change of Placement meeting with the principal and school counselor to determine options for addressing ongoing needs/concern. Please note that any schedule change may impact the student’s entire schedule.