In mathematics, emphasis is placed on developing math skills to provide students with learning differences with a depth of understanding, reflect practical application, and connect to other content areas. Students are grouped according to like need in math using a framework built on the development of math process and skills to enable more focused instruction, to allow the New Jersey State Learning Standards to be addressed at different levels of depth, and to be completed by each student on a different timetable. Students within each multi-aged class are placed in a course based on formal assessment, informal assessment, and teacher recommendation.
The research and strategies of Mahesh Sharma, founder of the Center For Teaching/Learning of Mathematics, serve as the foundation for the math curriculum. These same principles can also help children with dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a common learning issue that impacts kids’ ability to do math. The Orton Gillingham principals employed by The Bridge Academy’s mathematics program also addresses this learning issue.
The framework courses of study include Symbolize, Apply, Vary, Expand, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, and Financial Literacy. Emphasis is placed on both conceptual and linguistic models of learning. To achieve mastery of the language of math, students are taught using a multi-sensory approach. Instruction is concept based using a variety of manipulatives, shared inquiry, and a high frequency of problem solving dialogue. Lessons are designed to reflect several levels of understanding; intuitive, concrete, pictorial, abstract, applications, and communication.
The goal for all students is quantitative literacy as reflected in automaticity of the skills, facts and procedures of mathematic, and applying them to other mathematical ideas, to other disciplines, and to real life at their individualized level.