SFUSD Focus Group to Examine Access and Implementation of Algebra 1 in 8th Grade

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Press Release

San Francisco (October 2, 2023) - As part of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)’s commitment to expanding opportunities for students to accelerate in math, the district is launching its Secondary Math Policy Focus Group to make recommendations on how to equitably implement Algebra 1 in the 8th grade and the implications for the district’s high school math course sequencing.

“This conversation and moving on this issue is one of our highest priorities,” said Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne. “The district’s approach to math has been grounded in access and equity. We ultimately haven’t achieved our desired student outcomes, and acceleration options for students and families are limited. The question is not if we can increase acceleration options, but how we can meet that need equitably and while upholding our SFUSD values.”

In May 2023, Superintendent Wayne shared the district’s commitment to ensuring that students have the opportunity to accelerate in math and that the district would go through a process to increase acceleration options. In order to support this work, SFUSD began in August the process of establishing a focus group for feedback on a redesign of secondary math policy. This focus group includes over 40 members who were referred by their constituent bodies, including a broad and diverse set of perspectives from students, educators, administrators, families, labor partners, and research and education partners. 

This focus group will begin convening in October, and run through December to provide feedback on math acceleration models. The SFUSD community will have the opportunity to provide input and guidance at a series of focus group meetings as well as a public town hall meeting in January. The focus group will discuss the following:

  • Equitable access to Algebra 1 in 8th grade and targeted implementation for 2024-25

  • Feedback on the current curriculum experience from the teacher/leader/student vantage point

  • Revisions to the 9th grade placement policy

Additionally, a cross-departmental team will gather and process the input from the focus group, align to research-based practices, and develop options/recommendations for the secondary math policy.

SFUSD has scheduled a progress monitoring workshop on 8th grade math outcomes for Jan. 23, 2024, and proposed recommendations to the math policy will be considered by the SF Board of Education on Feb. 13, 2024. 

In addition to but separate from the focus group, SFUSD has also launched a third-party audit of its written math curriculum and observations of teaching and learning. The audit is scheduled to be completed by December 2023, and the contents will also help inform recommended changes to the math curriculum.

In 2022-23, the SF Board of Education passed three goals focused on student outcomes to guide the work of the district, schools, and staff over the next five years. One of the goals is: the percentage of ALL eighth-grade students performing math at grade level as measured by the state tests (SBAC Math) will increase from 42% proficiency rate in October 2022 to 65% proficiency by October 2027. To reach the district’s goal in mathematics, SFUSD has been examining evidence about the strengths and challenges in the district’s 2014 Math Course Sequence Policy.