Updated April 2021

Bellingham Public Schools support students with high quality math instruction. Our four middle schools in Bellingham use a common on-grade sequence and of standards for sixth,seventh, and eighth grades math courses. Read an in-depth explanation of the importance of a strong middle school foundation: High School Mathematics in Middle School.

Additional questions about middle school math? Contact Charisse Berner.

Typical grade level pathway for math includes starting in grade 5 in math 5 and ending with grade 12 in Precalculus or alternative
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Most eighth graders will take Math 8, and we believe that most students are served well by grade level mathematics. We also realize that some students may be interested in and motivated to take Compacted Math 8/Algebra 1 in eighth grade, which is a class that earns high school credit.

We have created an optional, additional, independent course during second semester of seventh grade for those who have this motivation: Online Bridge to Compacted 8/Algebra 1. Students who successfully complete this “bridge” course will be eligible to take Compacted Math 8/Algebra 1 in eighth grade. We will send a message to all families of seventh grade students near the end of first semester with detailed information.

Students who do not opt in for this independent, online class will be enrolled in Math 8 in eighth grade, with no action required by students or families, and they will still have all four years of high school to earn their necessary high school math credits.

Algebra in 8th grade pathway for math beginning with grade 5 and math 5 and ending with grade 12 in AP calculus or other advanced math.
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Here is more information about our math program: 

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

We ensure that our math curriculum offerings are aligned with state mathematics standards for sixthseventh, and eighth grade, 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 are prepared to enter two or four-year higher education institutions or the workforce. The standards do not dictate how teachers teach but provide clear learning goals for each grade.     

What are the key benefits of this sequence? 

  • Students gain a strong foundation of middle school math that prepares them for high school and beyond.
  • All schools across the district are implementing the same plan.
  • There is an option for the top 1-2% of students who may need a substantial intervention to meet their needs.

How is the math program reflective of The Bellingham Promise? 

The Bellingham Promise, the strategic plan for Bellingham Public Schools, compels us to develop confident individuals, mathematicians, problem solvers and critical thinkers. In addition, our key strategies include Great Teaching with Strong SupportOne Schoolhouse Approach and a commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 

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 a One Schoolhouse Approach in that the math course sequence is the same at all middle schools districtwide so that teaching is aligned for all students. And we are committed to courses that are inclusive. We support all students to successfully develop a strong mathematical foundation through eighth grade.  

How do we support students whose math skills are below grade level? 

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. Occasionally, there are students who are served through special programs who need a greater level of support and could be taught in a different location for short periods of time for focused instruction in math. These students are identified ahead of time and with parent input. 

How doesBPSserve students identified as Highly Capable in mathematics? How does differentiation occur? 

For students who are identified as highly capable in the area of mathematics, additional options will be made available based on their individual needs.  Additional supports include the use of Concept Quests, math circles, and open/expansive questioning strategies with deeprich math problems. The Department of Teaching and Learning works together with our schools to meet the needs of students who are identified. Families of these students will be contacted by teachers and 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 the 1 to 2 percent of students eligible to take Math 7 in the sixth grade. 

Due to the interruption of state testing during the pandemic, our protocol has changed and includes the following criteria: 

Fifth grade students in 2020-21 school year who meet at least two of the four data criteria below are invited to take a locallydeveloped grade 6 math endofcourse assessment. 

  • Third grade Math SBA (Smarter Balanced)Scale score of 2550 (level 4) and above 
  • Fourth grade fall Math MAPRIT score of 233 and above 
  • Fourth grade winter Math MAPRIT score of 234 and above 
  • Fifth grade fall Math MAPRIT score of 238 and above

After identified students take the assessment, those who score 40 out of 47 (and above) will be invited to bypass Math 6. Instead, this group may take Math 7 and the Bridge course during sixth grade. This identified group will then be prepared to take Compacted Math 8 and Algebra 1 (1.5 years of math in one year) in 7th grade. Students and families will be notified of the results in June. 

Pathway for geometry in grade 8 for the top 1 to 2 percent of students. Begins with grade 5 and math 5 and ends with grade 8 and geometry.
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Any revisions to these criteria will be posted on this webpage. 

What materials are used for math instruction? 

  • PK-5 Mathematics core curriculum is Bridges in Math (which includes Number Corner) 

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 360-676-6545 or by email. 

Charisse Berner
Director
Cathy Allred
Administrative Assistant
360-676-6545