Bellingham Public Schools supports students with high quality math instruction. Since the 2014-15 school year, our four middle schools in Bellingham use this sequence for math courses for incoming sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

How is the math program reflective of The Bellingham Promise?

The Bellingham Promise, the strategic plan for Bellingham Public Schools (BPS), compels us to develop confident individuals, mathematicians, problem solvers and critical thinkers. Two of our key strategies include Great Teaching with Strong Support and One Schoolhouse approach. Our district’s math standards allow for in-depth learning around math concepts, fluency with math procedures and application of those concepts. Our math program exemplifies One Schoolhouse in that they are happening at all middle schools district-wide to align teaching and increase learning expectations for all students.

Why does Bellingham Public Schools have this middle school mathematics sequence and curriculum?

We ensure that our math curriculum offerings are aligned with state standards in mathematics, which feature high learning expectations for each middle school course.

Standards are designed to create clear educational goals for teachers and students K-12. These standards were created to ensure that students graduating from high school would be prepared to enter two or four-year higher education institutions or the workforce. The standards do not dictate how teachers should teach, but provide clear learning goals for each grade.

Math Flow Chart

What are the key benefits to this sequence?

  • Multiple entry points (meaning, students can change sequences at several different points in time, as opposed to getting into accelerated math and at fifth grade only.)
  • Access to high level math classes for all students
  • This transition ensures our students are college and career ready
  • Students leave middle school with a solid foundation in math
  • Students have choice in which course they take

What are the interventions for below grade level students?

We expect teachers to address the needs of all students in the classroom. When appropriate, middle school students will have extended learning opportunities when extra support is needed.

How is BPS serving Highly Capable students in mathematics? How will differentiation occur?

For students who are identified as highly capable and most highly capable in the area of mathematics, additional options will be available to meet their particular needs.  The Department of Teaching and Learning works together with our schools to meet the needs of students who are identified. Those families will be contacted by our Highly Capable program.

How are the 1 to 2 percent of incoming sixth grade students who meet rigorous criteria identified?

Bellingham Public Schools uses a data-driven process to identify these 1 to 2 percent of students who are eligible to take Compacted Math 7/8 in the sixth grade.

In 2016, our protocol included the following criteria:

1. Any student in grade 5 identified as highly capable (quantitative) meeting one of three criteria below was preferred, but not required and;

2. Any student not identified highly capable (quantitative) who met at least two of the three data criteria below:

4th grade Math SBA Scale score of 2600 and above
4th grade spring Math MAP RIT score of 240 and above
5th grade fall Math MAP RIT score of 245 and above


Students who met the criteria above and who were interested in taking Compacted Math 7/8 as a sixth grader were invited to take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) for grade 8 math portions only (norm referenced test) and a locally developed grade 6 common core state standards math criterion referenced assessment.

Students with an ITBS score of 85th percentile (and above) and a score of 33.5 of 46 (and above) were invited to by-pass Math 6.

Revisions to this criteria are expected in spring of 2017. Updated criteria will be made available and communicated with families.

What materials are used for math instruction?

The PreK-12 Math Review Committee selected Connected Mathematics Project 3 for our resources grades 6-8. Algebra classes use Agile Mind.

Still have questions?

If you have specific questions about your student’s achievement in math, please contact your student’s teacher.

If you are looking for additional information about the math sequence or rationale, please contact the Department of Teaching and Learning at 676-6545 or by email.

Read an in-depth explanation: High School Mathematics in Middle School