This is an overview on the effects of the Semester System on Math delivery and background on our advocacy efforts:
MATH & SEMESTER SYSTEM
Class schedules at the majority of Secondary Schools in Peel are organized in a Block Semester System. Students have 4 subjects in the Fall Semester and then 4 new subjects in the Winter Semester.
What does this Means for Your Student and Math?
They will be in one of the 4 schedule patterns illustrated below.
|GRADE 9||SUMMER BREAK
(July & August)
|GRADE 10||Time Gap
Between Math Courses
(Feb. – June)
(Feb. – June)
THE MAJORITY (75%) OF STUDENTS WILL HAVE A TIME GAP BETWEEN MATH COURSES OF 7 MONTHS or MORE (7 MONTHS = 50% & 12 MONTHS = 25%)
25% OF STUDENTS WILL BE SLIGHTY MORE FORTUNATE TO HAVE ONLY A 2 MONTH GAP.
We say slightly more fortunate since they too will have a 7 or 12 month gap before having Grade 11 Math.
( These marks are important for University and College entrance requirements)
OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
Our son and daughter attended Brampton Centennial Senior Public and then Brampton Centennial Secondary School. At ‘Little Centennial’ (Grades 7&8) both students did well at Math and Grade 9 was not an issue, however after having a long gap between Grade 9 and 10 it was obvious to us that the long period of virtually no math instruction was having a detrimental effect on their math skills. Both children had a 12 month gap before Grade 11 Math.
The Semester classes are 75 minutes long (1hr:15min). The course curriculum is very demanding - a lot of material is covered in a short time. If your student misses even a few days due to illness etc. it will take a strong effort to catch up.
PROPOSAL TO THE PEEL DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD(PDSB) - A/B Schedule
In October, 2008 a proposal was presented to the PDSB-Board of Trustees requesting Grade 9 Math to be delivered all school year long on alternate school days. Math was to be alternated with Physical Education classes in an A/B Schedule. This proposal would result in students having the delivery of the course material over the entire school year; hence more time to do homework, to seek help and removing the long gap. (Grade 10 to be added later).
Physical Education classes are another problem area in the Semester system. Currently, Students have exercise everyday for ½ year and then NOTHING. No physical fitness trainer in the world would advise this type of training schedule. (It comes as no surprise that many students drop Phys. Ed. after Grade 9).
This proposal was supported by our local Trustee Steve Kavanagh but was not approved by the Board of Trustees (Vote: 6 Against vs. 5 In favour). The Peel DSB opinion focuses on Grade 9 Math scores on EQAO Tests, however this view does not address issues with student learning in Grades 10 and up which relies on student success in earlier grades. The Board also denied that cost savings due to fewer Math Text books is a factor in their continued support of the status quo.
We will need your support to petition the PDSB again and change the system. You are encouraged to keep a close watch on the progress of your student regarding Math and Physical Education. If your experience over the next few years is similar to that of our family, we need to hear from you. This appears to be a multi-year project. Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincerely, Stan Taylor, Brampton ON.