Brooklyn Students Tally Success Using Hopkins Program
The seventh- and eighth-grade students in school district 22 in Brooklyn have been studying math using a unique learning program developed by experts at the Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth.
Last month 57 students took and passed the Regents I exam, which is normally taken in high school. And in an unprecedented move, Ramon Cortines, chancellor of the New York City Board of Education, agreed to award high school and regents credit to those who qualified.
In June, many of the students will take the Regents II exam, which includes some high school geometry, said Lila Edelkind, director of gifted and talented programs for district 22. If they pass, they will get credit for the second year of high school math. When they enter high school as freshmen, the students will be offered third-year math courses. In their sophomore and junior years, they may take pre-calculus and calculus, respectively In their senior year, they will be offered advanced placement math, a course for which they can earn college credit.
Under CTY's Optimal Match program, which has been in place in district 22 for the past three years, students are taught math at their individual abilities, paces and levels of learning, said Luciano Corazza, CTY director of academic programs. The teachers were initially instructed in Optimal Match teaching methods during training sessions at Hopkins. Others were trained within the district setting. The program is in place in all five elementary schools in district 22 and serves more than 800 students.
Using Optimal Match methods, teachers involve both students who excel in math and those who are learning at their current grade level. Many students are working with materials designed for classes two and three years ahead of them. One sixth-grade student in district 22 is currently studying ninth-grade math.
District 22 superintendent John Comer is a strong supporter of Optimal Match teaching and was instrumental in getting the board of education to allow the students to earn Regents and course credit. He hopes to implement Optimal Match methods in other subjects throughout the schools in district 22.
"Educators talk about individualizing education, and teaching children one-on-one is a great topic of discussion," he said. "The Optimal Match is taking that discussion and putting it in action."
The Optimal Match program has also been implemented at schools in Los Angeles and Pasadena, Calif., and in Yonkers, N.Y.
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