Letter to Parents and Guardians

Letter to Parents and Guardians
Dear Parent or Guardian,
Justine Hebert
Somerville High School
My name is Justine Hebert, and I am writing to tell you about the Geometry course that your student is
enrolled in at Somerville High School. I look forward to an interesting and busy year teaching this
college preparatory course, which will include strategies and concepts for maximizing your child’s Math
MCAS score.
One of my goals for all courses that I teach is to foster and maintain positive and open communication
with students as well as parents and guardians. So, first I will invite you to contact me with any issues or
questions that you may have regarding Geometry during the year. Email is the easiest and quickest way
to reach me. My email address is:
[email protected]
In addition, please know that I maintain a website for our class, which can be found
at: www.mshebertmath.com
(Note that the name is “hebert”, and not “herbert”. )
The website is a place where you and your student can find schedules, class notes, assignments, and
other course-related documents. It is especially useful when your child is absent. On the website, you
will also find documents such as the course syllabus, the absence policy, and expectations for students
regarding class details such as grading and assignments.
As noted above, this is a college prep math course. Students are supported with content and strategies,
and at the same time we set expectations for a high level of student engagement, accountability, and
preparedness for the course. Once class begins, your child will know exactly what the expectations and
requirements are. You can find these on the website under Geometry Course Documents .
Most of the students in this course will be preparing for the Math MCAS assessment, which is scheduled
for Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18, 2016, during the school day.
All assignment and assessment scores are logged onto the X2 system, which you may access for
information on how your student is faring in class.
Your child has been issued a physical textbook and will have access to the online textbook. The textbook
must be returned at the end of the school year.
Lastly, I am attaching a fact sheet about the important relationship between higher math classes and
careers. Perhaps you and your child can talk about and investigate some of these ideas together!
Higher level math classes open doors for college programs, as well as advancement beyond entry level
jobs. If you and your student would like to explore careers that use higher math skills, I recommend
starting with this website: www.weusemath.org
Please join me in supporting and encouraging your student in his or her success in Geometry!
Sincerely Yours,
Justine Hebert
Teacher, Geometry
Advanced Math Equals Career Readiness
The equation is simple: No matter their background, students who take challenging mathematics courses in
high school get better jobs and earn more money throughout their entire lives.
Higher-level math opens doors for any and all postsecondary programs and keeps it
open for advancement beyond entry-level jobs.
80 percent of U.S. jobs require some postsecondary education or
training. This includes bachelor’s and associates’s degrees, vocational certifications apprenticeships, and other credentials.1
About half of 2010 graduates wish they had taken different courses in high school, with math being the most commonly referenced course. 40% of graduates say they wish they had taken “more math/higher level math.”2
Simply taking advanced math has a direct impact on future earnings, apart from any other factors. Students who take advanced math in high school have higher incomes ten years after graduating—regardless of family background, grades and college degrees.3
The 81 Career Cluster Pathway
Plans of Study, developed by
secondary, postsecondary, business,
industry and government leaders,
to serve as a guide for career and
technical education (CTE) students’
educational and career goals in a
wide range of careers–in health
care, manufacturing, finance,
among others–recommend
that students take a rigorous
set of math requirements at the
secondary and postsecondary
levels. At a minimum, every plan of
study recommends that students
complete Algebra II and one
additional higher-level math course,
such as Statistics and Pre-Calculus.14
Black, male students particularly benefit in terms of annual earnings later on, with each additional mathematics course completed increasing their annual earnings by 8% on average. This figure it particularly powerful given many other estimates find each additional year of schooling increases earnings by about 15% in total.4
Juniors and seniors who take higher-level math make larger learning gains during their last two years in high school, particularly in the much sought-after “advanced skills,” such as multi-step problem solving and the application of analytic logic—and students who make big gains on math tests during high school have higher earnings seven years later.5
Three-fourths of adults in the top-paying quarter of jobs took Algebra II.6
Members of the baby boomer generation held an average of 11 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 42, a trend that will continue to grow with new generations of workers.7 Higher-level mathematics equips students with the critical thinking and analytic skills, as well as the adaptability and flexibility, necessary to navigate multiple job and career changes in the 21st century economy.
Achieve, 1400 16th Street NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036
Phone (202) 419-1540
American employers are demanding advanced math skills.
98 percent of the business organizations surveyed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put a premium on improving math and science in upper elementary, middle and high school, with more than three-fourths placing a “very high level of priority” on improving math and science to strengthen America’s workforce.8
A little over half of all U.S. occupations require a significant level of “knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.” Included in these nearly 500 occupations are about 45% of low skills jobs, about half of middle skills jobs, and over 80% of high skills jobs.9
One study found that the math skills required by electricians, construction workers, upholsterers and plumbers—traditional “blue collar” jobs—match what’s necessary to do well in college courses.10
For example, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ test to screen prospective apprentices includes algebra problems;11 the FAA’s exam for incoming aircraft mechanics also includes algebra;12 and the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) Construction Technology Certification curricula includes geometry.13 ENDNOTES
Biroonak, Armand & Kermit Kaleba (2010). The Bridge to a New Economy: Worker Training Fills the Gap. The Institute for America’s Future and the
National Skills Coalition. http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/assets/reports-/the-bridge-to-a-new-economy.pdf
2 College Board (2011). One Year Out: Findings From A National Survey Among Members Of The High School Graduating Class Of 2010.
Rose, H. & Betts, J. R. (2004, May). The effect of high school courses on earnings. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 86(2), 497-513.
4 Goodman, Joshua (2009). The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory Math Coursework.
Finding related to advanced math coursetaking and achievement from Bozick, R., and Ingels, S.J. (2008). Mathematics Coursetaking and
Achievement at the End of High School: Evidence from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. (NCES 2008-319). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Finding related to math gains and later earnings from Rose, H. (2006, August). Do gains in test scores
explain labor market outcomes? Economics of Education Review, 25(4), 430-446. (p. 445)
Carnevale, A. P. & Desrochers, D. M. (2003). The democratization of mathematics. In Bernard L. Madison and Lynn Arthur Steen (Eds.), Quantitative
Literacy: Why Numeracy Matters for Schools and Colleges, 21-31. Available from http://www.maa.org/ql/qltoc.html. (p. 26)
Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release. (2008, June) Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby
Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey. Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Statistics and Research Center. (2006) Education Reform: Insight into the Business Community’s Views About the U.S.
Education System. (p. 6)
Achieve analysis of O*NET data
10 ACT, Inc. (2006). Ready for College or Ready for Work: Same or Different? Iowa City, IA: Author.
11 National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Construction and
Maintenance Industry, http://www.njatc.org/training/apprenticeship/index.aspx.
12 www.faa.gov/mechanics/become
13 The National Center for Construction Education & Research, www.nccer.org
14See http://www.careertech.org/ for more information on the State’s Career Clusters.
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© March 2013