High School Math

Close to half of my clients are doing Calc I,II,III often planning on the AP test.  I have a lot of opinions on this and how rapid turnover at Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill and Carrboro high schools are leading to a teaching style directed to the AP exam – sometimes by using materials that are nothing more than cut and pastes of previous tests.  This rarely produces good results as those are “trick” questions not staple ones.  I adapt as needed to the client but have been using calculus in my own school and research for over 30 years so it is a subject I love.  Precalculus is now getting its own AP test.  These are often highly varied classes in material and can be harder than the calculus classes that follow in some cases so reach out early if you have concerns. 

Math I,II,III are the staple common core math courses and are constantly evolving.  This is likely because they are based on the self investigative model that Phillips Exeter uses so well.  Sadly these require consistently high caliber and highly motivated and specially trained teachers and students.  This is not what public schools typically have to work with and the materials end up being light on the number and quality of problems with rather disconnected discussions.  I supplement these courses with additional problems to ensure competency in the topics.

The local district is not very helpful to people coming from away in terms of placing kids correctly.  Once you are placed it is EXTREMELY difficult to move up in the sequence so better to talk early than have your kid bored and losing interest.  I tutored my first high school student here in the 1990’s and was amazed by the quality of materials and teachers and their feedback.  Since then the agenda of the board has changed and salaries have stagnated.  School excellence is hardly mentioned in the board’s priorities.  Be warned that your student will probably not get any graded homework and probably not get to see their tests so there is effectively NO feedback in the current model.  Many local parents are good at math and may provide great assistance.  If not, someone will probably be needed to see that they are keeping up with the material before the test comes and they move onto new topics.

I cannot possibly reach the number of students who need help now and the board will not allow private contractors to meet with students on school grounds unlike the local private schools.  If you have opinions on this (as the taxpayer/owners of the schools) please tell the board: https://www.chccs.org/Domain/1052.

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