2023 CRLS Math Placement for Rising 9th Graders

2023 CRLS Math Placement for Rising 9th Graders
Posted on 03/23/2023

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Dear 8th Grade Families/Caretakers,

We hope that this communication finds you and your family well physically and emotionally.

As you and your child(ren) approach the end of 8th grade and anticipate the beginning of their high school journey, we would like to introduce you to the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) math department. The Mathematics Department strives to uphold the district’s mission, as well as the math department’s vision, and use it to inform our decisions around courses, curriculum, and pedagogy.

Mathematics Department Vision:
Create equitable mathematics communities that engage all students in making sense of challenging mathematics, provide all students with access to challenging curriculum and empower students to participate meaningfully in mathematics discourse. (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)

There are many pathways that a CRLS math student can explore (possible CRLS math pathways), all of which begin with Algebra 1. Algebra 1 is the foundation for all of your child's high school math classes. For this reason, it is extremely important that students have very strong Algebra 1 skills. It is also the reason that 70% of all incoming 9th graders have historically taken Algebra 1 at CRLS.

This upcoming school year, there will be an extensive and well-intentioned shift towards aligning 9th-grade math placement with the experience 8th graders have in CPS classrooms. Our goal is to ensure equitable and supportive placement of scholars into our rigorous CRLS math classrooms and recognize that we are still working through the repercussions of the pandemic. For this reason, rising 9th graders will typically start their Mathematics journey at CRLS in one of two spaces:
  • Algebra 1 (Full year)
  • Algebra 1 Honors (One Semester)

The placement process into one of these spaces will be comprehensive, starting with the Upper School math team completing course recommendations before the end of March for Algebra 1 or Algebra 1 Honors. (Please note that this team will not be recommending that any scholars place out of Algebra 1. This is because Algebra 1 is not comprehensively taught in our Upper Schools.) Upon completion of the recommendation, if a family would like to change the placement, they will have to provide evidence of successful completion of a mathematical program that aligns with the goals and experiences of our CPS classrooms.

Mathematical programs can include:

  • CPS’ summer CAMBridge Program (Recommended because it is aligned with our CRLS Algebra 1 courses)
  • Another eligible summer program (Not recommended)
  • This option requires ALL of the following supporting documents:
    • A recommendation for Algebra 1 honors from the upper/middle school math team.
    • Proof of successful completion of program and/or a letter of recommendation from a program head explicitly stating that the student has demonstrated the level of knowledge needed to place out of the requested course.
    • A list of topics covered (must be comparable to CRLS course)

Please note that the family and self-referral options for placement are no longer available. These were options created in response to the pandemic, and we are working toward re-prioritizing mathematics in our CPS math classrooms.

For the 2023-2024 school year, in the rare instance that your student is found eligible to place out of Honors Algebra I they will be enrolled in Honors Algebra 2, followed by Honors Geometry in the 10th grade.

To initiate this request, please:

After reviewing the request and supporting documents, the dean, guidance counselor, or a math teacher may contact the student and/or family for more information. Students who are deemed ready to place out will be notified either via email, phone, or a direct schedule change.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to your child’s successful math career during their time at CRLS.

*Please understand that placement is conditional, based on availability.
**If approved, student will be asked to take a diagnostic in order to identify and provide any needed supports
***Students will only be allowed to place out of one class for the 23-24 school year.


Siobahn Mulligan 
Director of Mathematics
Cambridge Public Schools 
135 Berkshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02141 
[email protected]

Josh Marden
Interim Dean of Mathematics Curriculum
Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School
459 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
[email protected]

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