The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

CCSD Mandates New Algebra 1 Curriculum

Wryn Duepre
Most math classes have a workbook created by math teachers and modified each year to meet student needs. The new OUR (Open Up Resources) curriculum may change the extent to which teachers are involved in creating their classroom resources.

Algebra 1 is changing at Creek. Next year, high schools in the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) will have to use a new Algebra 1 curriculum written by Open Up Resources (OUR), a non-profit organization with the goal of creating accessible, problem-based curriculum. Creek math teachers were notified of this change in Dec. 2023.

“It’s a lot of changes at once and it’s going to be ongoing for the next few years,” Department Coordinator Johanna Lewis said.

According to CCSD K-12 Mathematic Performance Improvement Partner Amber Gardner, the district decided to implement the OUR curriculum due to recent advancements in the field of neuroscience.

“We have a better understanding of how students construct mathematical knowledge,” Gardner said. “Historically, a lot of the things that we have done in math classrooms are counter to how the brain naturally learns mathematics.”

This new curriculum offers more hands-on activities and less daily homework than Creek teachers usually assign. The program aims to make the math classroom more engaging and discussion-based, yet Lewis worries that some of the activities and review will leave less time for students to reach mastery of the material.

“I’m just concerned about what they come away with knowing [and] what their understanding is,” Lewis said. “You know how important algebra is when you get to calculus and beyond.”

Next year, Algebra 1 teachers will have to follow the OUR pacing guide which requires all Algebra 1 classes in the district to take a test on chapter material in a two week window. Students will have to take the same tests, regardless of whether they are taking the CP or Accelerated class at Creek.

According to CCSD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dominique Jones, this pacing is designed to give all students access to every Algebra 1 concept.

“[The OUR pacing] is not about being locked in and rigid,” Jones said. “Ultimately, it’s about making sure that every single kid that’s in Algebra 1 has the entire breadth of that content.”

OUR offers a curriculum for each of three high school-level math classes: Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Next year, high schools only have to teach Algebra 1 using OUR, but middle schools will have to use the program for classes up to Geometry. According to Lewis, there is a possibility that high schools will have to adopt OUR in higher level math classes as well in the coming years.

To prepare students for higher level math classes, Lewis believes that it’s likely that teachers will have to supplement the OUR material. Lewis anticipates that next year, Algebra 1 students will receive a combination of OUR and teacher-curated curriculum.

Current Model for Modifying Math Curriculum: Implementing OUR could affect math teachers’ involvement in creating and modifying curriculum. (Amanda Castillo-Lopez)

“Creek will still have all our workbooks … we still will design a lot because that’s just who we are,” Lewis said. “We know what the kids need to do well in Calculus, Stats, or whatever class they’re taking.”

CP Algebra 1 teacher Christopher Stirrup is willing to adapt to the changes coming next year.

“It might be a very successful thing, but…it’s new, so we don’t know,” Stirrup said. “It’s very possible those kids are going to stumble and I’m going to stumble and any teacher is going to stumble. That’s part of learning.”

Math teachers will attend district training over the school year, and over the summer, they’ll work on creating a combined OUR and teacher-curated curriculum.

“We’re gonna have to figure out [where we] need to add some of our own stuff to make sure that kids learn, because our ultimate goal is to make sure that the kids learn what they need for future classes,” Principal Ryan Silva said.

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About the Contributors
Amanda Castillo-Lopez
Amanda Castillo-Lopez, News Editor
Hi! My name is Amanda, and I’m a senior at Creek this year. As the News Editor for the USJ, I've reported on many different events in our community and global circumstances that affect us. I've become particularly connected with and enlightened by a variety of people in my community through stories and interviews, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue expanding my writing skills and knowledge of the world around me through journalism.
Wryn Duepre
Wryn Duepre, Chief Photographer
Hi, my name is Wryn and I am a senior! I am the Chief Photographer for the USJ and this is my second year doing so! I love writing, reading, and taking pictures. I am a freelance photographer in my spare time and I love teaching photography and creating impactful photos that tell stories!

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