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Simon highlights ‘College Essentials’ math class 

Launches survey of innovative math program and course ideas

CARBONDALE – August 28, 2012. Continuing her effort to improve student achievement and math preparedness, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited Carbondale Community High School today to learn about its Essentials for College Algebra course. The course, available only to high school seniors, aims to bridge the gap between the three years of math currently required to graduate high school, and a student’s future college plans.

“Too many students arrive at college unprepared for college-level math,” Simon said. “We need to find new, innovative and engaging programs that will better prepare our students for college and career, and Essentials for College Algebra might be one piece to that curriculum puzzle.”

The Essentials for College Algebra course at Carbondale Community High School was designed to help close the gap between a third year of required math and the student’s math needs upon graduation. The course reinforces high school math skills that college-bound students need to qualify for credit-bearing, post-secondary math courses. Ideally, students who complete the course will not need to take remedial math courses at college that expend financial aid but offer no credit.

"Preparing students for College and Career Readiness goes beyond meeting the minimum requirements for graduation,” said Daniel Booth, Carbondale Community High School Principal. “It means ensuring students have the skills to effectively transition to post-secondary education. It's difficult for anyone to take a year off of math and come right back at the same skill level. The Essentials for College Algebra class is designed to help students hit the ground running after high school and pursue their college and career goals while reducing the need for remediation."

Essentials for College Algebra is just one of many innovative ideas that Simon hopes to discover through a statewide math survey she launched today. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are invited to submit math curriculum and program ideas that could be considered for statewide implementation. Programs could be geared toward higher math achievement in college, career or technical preparation, middle school enrichment, or collaboration between grade levels on math curricula.

Simon will compile the survey results and present them to an Illinois Board of Education group that is tasked with developing statewide math curricula models. The curricula models could be implemented at middle and high schools statewide to help districts and teachers ensure that students graduate prepared for college and career.

“We have a great opportunity here to gather effective ideas from across the state that could boost math achievement and strengthen our students to better compete in college classrooms and for high-paying jobs,” Simon said.

To participate in the survey, please click here.