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Classes per day and Algebra start - curious

RichInPittRichInPitt 1298 replies19 threads Senior Member
Just curious about some data points I’ve seen here that are very different than my D’s HS, and others in the area.

How many classes do you have per day? Our school has 9 periods, one of which is lunch. This is the same as I had in HS. My kids typically have 7.5-7.9 credits per year, out of the 8 available. I’ve seen a couple of posts where students need to pick amount classes as they can only take 6. Is 8 abnormal?

When does your school start Algebra? Our school has 3 recommended math sequences. The advanced track has Algebra in 7th, the mainline track has it in 8th, and the third starts Algebra 1A in 8th and 1B in 9th. I’ve seen others refer to Algebra in 9th as ‘typical’. Again, is expecting everyone to start Algebra in 8th grade abnormal?
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Replies to: Classes per day and Algebra start - curious

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7830 replies66 threads Senior Member
    My D had 8 periods/day, 1 of which was lunch so 7 courses/day.

    There were 5 math tracks. The "highest" was:

    9th H Geometry
    10th H Alg II
    11th H Precalc/trig
    12th AP Calc


    Most students at D's school started with some level of Algebra in 9th.
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  • HeartofDixieHeartofDixie 260 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Our school has 7 periods, it was 6 but they changed it a few years back.

    Advanced track has Algebra 1 in 9th grade, standard has Algebra 1A, nobody has algebra before 9th. There is no choice in classes before 9th grade, everyone takes the same classes. Back when I went to school there we started Algebra in 9th grade same as now, but back then those that just wanted to get their 2 math credits to graduate took general math and consumer math.
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  • me29034me29034 1721 replies88 threads Senior Member
    Our high school has 7 periods per day. Period 5 is longer than the others and includes time for lunch. Kids typically take 6 or 7 classes.

    There are 4 math tracks. The middle two have Algebra 1 in 9th grade, followed by geometry, then Algebra 2, and then precalc in senior year. The difference is that one track takes the courses at the honors level and one track is regular level. A small percentage of advanced kids are in the highest track which starts with Algebra 2 in 9th, then geometry, then precalc, then calculus in senior year. I’m not sure what the lowest track is. The vast majority of kids are in the middle two tracks.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1839 replies27 threads Senior Member
    My son is at a private school where he has 8 periods in a day but received 10 grade for 10 classes this quarter. It's a lot even though some of them are "cluster" courses that don't meet everyday. They is still work and things you have to keep up with.

    The "normal" start for Algebra is 9th grade but everyone fights to get in honors to start in 8th grade. My son will have 5 H.S. math & 5 science classes completed when he graduates as a senior.
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  • Darcy123Darcy123 330 replies6 threads Member
    My kids' school has 8 periods not including lunch. The typical college prep track is Algebra 1 in eighth grade. About 10% of the kids have Algebra 1 in 7th grade and 2 or 3 a year start 9th grade with PreCalc.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 845 replies4 threads Member
    edited November 9
    Our school has 6 periods a day but 7 classes - the classes rotate time each day and the class that falls during lunch block is longest but 30 minutes of that time students go to lunch. No one can take a class during lunch. One class is left off each day on a rotating basis.

    Without doing anything special 8th graders take algebra 1 - depending on how well you do you start high school in college prep or honors algebra 1 or geometry though it has recently changed to math 1 in 8th and 9th graders take math 2 honors if they do well. I have no idea how they determine math 2 cp vs starting in math 1 cp.
    edited November 9
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  • 2Devils2Devils 46 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 9
    This same topic has piqued my curiosity as well over the years, enough that I asked around awhile ago to get a feel for the options. I will list them here if that helps the OP. It amazes me that in one medium city we have lots of variance:

    Our kids' private k-12 and the other big private k-12: both have testing for admissions so the attendees do not represent the general population:
    -max 6 core/academic classes per day, plus one elective if desired; math tracks are as follows:

    1. ADV (top 25%) is ALG 1 7th/ALG2 8th/Geom-trig 9th/Hon precal 10/AP AB Calc in 11th/APBC Calc 12 **there are 1-3 kids every 2-3 yrs (of 150kids) who start ALG 1 in 6th grade and then end with LinearAlg/MultiVarCalc in 12, which the BC kids are allowed to take concurrently as an elective. This is an option at one private but not the other. The teachers invite them into this path quietly in 4th or 5th grade. It does not happen every year but no one is exactly sure how it is decided (even me and one of our kids does this path--definitely more to it than one test/eval).

    2. Middle group: ALG 1 8th/ALG 2 9th/ geo-trig or Geo 10th /precal or honors precal in 11th/ APstats or AB Calc in 12th.

    3.Bottom 10%: Alg 1A 8, ALg1B 9th, ALG 2 10th, geo 11, either precal 12 or consumer-based Stats-- a non AP more practical math course

    Big public school system on one side of town:
    -8 core classes, 6-7 academic, in a rotating block schedule.

    1. "honors/gifted" (have to meet "gifted" cutoff in 6th grade or test in--top 7%):
    Alg 1 7th/Alg 2 8th/Geo 9th/precal 10/AP ABcalc 11/AP BC calc 12 **in these big schools typically there are 1-3 kids a year (of 300+) who do Alg 1 in 6th and take AP stats after BC in 12th, or do dual-enrollment of higher calc at a college.

    2."advanced" track ALG 1 8th/ALG 2 9/ Geo 10/Precal 11/AP AB 12

    3."regular" ALG 1 9th, etc etc to Precal 12th

    4&5: "slower" at least 2 other slower tracks with ALG 1 finished in 10th or later

    Big public school system other side of town:
    -6 classes per day unless one of the arts or other specialty HS.

    1. "honors/advanced" track: ALG 1 8th/Geo 9/ Alg 2 10/Precal 11/AP Calc 12 (not clear if AB or BC). There is no path for ALG 1 in 7th that anyone there has heard of, nor 6th.

    2. "Regular": ALG 1 9th, etc etc to Precal 12th

    3&4 "slower" at least 2 other slower tracks with ALG 1 in 10th or later.


    edited November 9
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  • ClassicMom98ClassicMom98 173 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Older S had 4 different schedules in 4 years with 4 different principals and 3 superintendents. Year 1 - 7 periods (lunch is not a period), year 2 - 8 periods (ditto with lunch), year 3, block schedules with rotating days (4 classes one day, other 4 the next), year 4 - 4 block classes in fall, 4 block classes in the spring. They stuck with this schedule the 4 years younger S was there.

    College bound kids traditionally started algebra in 8th grade. However, about 10 years ago, they created a "gifted track" (college bound, not really gifted) that started algebra in 7th grade. The reason for this was to draw kids away from the private schools showing they would be behind when they funneled to the public hs and help raise test scores. (Our private options are only K-8 here.)

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  • voyagermomvoyagermom 121 replies8 threads Junior Member
    My DD's school has 8 periods per day not counting lunch. Most students have 1 free period so take 7 classes, though 2 free periods is not unheard of either, though not necessarily 2 free every day. They have a 6 day cycle and science labs meet 1 day per cycle, so you might have two free periods all days other than a B day if B days are when you have your lab. Also many electives meet 3 days per cycle so perhaps you have Ceramics 3 days and a free period 3 days.

    As far as math, the "on level" is to have algebra 1 in eighth grade. The sequence then would be 9th geometry, 10th algebra 2, 11th pre-calc, 12th calc. For the above level kids who take calc as a sophomore or junior there's multivariable calc as well as AP Stat as math options for after calc.
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  • nomoodnomood 178 replies20 threads Junior Member
    For me, my school has 6 periods, not including lunch. Lunch is a set time that everyone has to have. If you decide to take a 0 period, you can take 7 classes.

    For algebra, you can start at either 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1681 replies14 threads Senior Member
    DS’ HS has 6-class period, and a lunch as well as a whole school activity period, so I guess you can say it is 8-period day.
    He started algebra 1 in 7th grade, his HS only has math up to AP Cal BC, which he is doing now.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 845 replies4 threads Member
    I answered already but forgot to say though many start high school in math 2 in 9th they take math 3 in 10th precalculus in 11th and can take AP Calc AB or AP Calc BC (no need for AB first) in 12th grade so following the school track they end with calc 2 - some students opt to take summer math classes at the school and possibly free dual enrollment math to end at a high level.
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  • LuanneLuanne 54 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Our HS has 7 classes and a rotating schedule that gives 6 periods a day. Lunch is just lunch. But, there are music classes that can be taken as zero or eighth hour classes - before or after school. My 10th grader has 7 classes plus band in 8th hour.

    My 2 oldest had algebra in 7th grade. That is the advanced track that they placed into during 5th grade. My youngest has algebra in 6th grade. He skipped 4th grade math, so is a year ahead of the advanced track. There are a lot of kids in algebra in 8th and many more in algebra in 9th.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 130 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Our HS has 8 classes on a rotating block schedule with 6 periods per day, repeating every 4 days, and each class meets 3 out of the 4 days (except for lab sciences and some math classes that have labs). The block in the middle of the day is longer to accommodate lunch.

    Our district identifies students to accelerate math and science in 6th grade. They do a condensed math program covering 3 years of middle school math and science in 2 years. Those students have Algebra 1 in 8th, Geometry in 9th, and Algebra 2 in 10th. From there, there are choices. We are a full IB school so IB students take math from that program. We also have a wide array of AP and DE classes so kids not doing IB usually take DE precalc and AP calc AB or BC, their choice. Some take AP Stats in 11th and DE precalc in 12th. Due to major scheduling issues, DD took DE precalc in 11th and has to take IB Math Studies in 12th as it was the only “higher level” math class that didn’t make her drop foreign language or stop playing in the orchestra.

    As a side note, the accelerated science kids do 3 yeas of middle school science in 2 years and take Earth Science in 8th (which is the usual 10th grade science class). Bio or Honors Bio is in 9th, Chem or Honors Chem is in 10th, AP Physics or Regents Physics in 10th, and AP Bio and/or AP Chem in 12th, their choice. There are also a few DE science classes available and IB science classes are available for those students.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3503 replies24 threads Senior Member
    My daughter's HS has 6 academic class periods. The regular math sequence is Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Stats or Precalc. Most advanced track is Precalc (9), Calc AB or BC (10), Calc BC or MV (11), MV or APStats or more advanced courses through dual enrollment or online (12).
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  • chardonMNchardonMN 105 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Our school has 7 periods and kids take 6 classes. Occasionally someone will take 7 if they are in choir, band, or orchestra, which are year long courses, or want two foreign languages (rare). Usual path is Algebra 1 in 8th grade. Maybe 10% start in 7th and one or two in 6th. Most freshmen are in Geometry or Honors Geometry.
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  • mountainsoulmountainsoul 86 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited November 14
    Our high school has 8 periods per day including lunch. Upperclassmen can and sometimes do opt to take 8 classes with no lunch. Wednesday and Thursday are block days with longer class periods. Odd class periods on Wednesday and even class periods on Thursday.

    Math placement is determined in 5th grade based on a combination of standardized tests, teacher evaluations, and other criteria (Talented and Gifted placement, etc). The college prep/regular track kids take Algebra 1 in 9th grade followed by Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalc. The AP/IB/advanced track kids start with Algebra 2/3 followed by Calc 1, Calc BC, and Calc 2/3. A handful of very advanced kids take Calc 1 in 9th grade.
    edited November 14
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2463 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Our HS has 8 periods in a day, one of them is lunch, and PE is a requirement all four years. There are a bunch of other requirements too: drivers ed (classroom portion) and consumers ed as well as either a fine art or applied tech class, plus the usual "core" graduation requirements. Students get 1 credit for each full year class. Summer school is pretty common because a lot of kids want to get in more electives than the schedule otherwise allows.

    The math tracks vary by level. Honors classes move fast, and they combine Algebra 2 & precalc one year and trigonometry combines with Calculus A the next. CP and lower levels don't combine topics. About 40% of students start freshman year in some level of geometry or higher.

    Big public suburban school that usually sends at least a handful of kids to T20s and several more handfuls to public ivies.
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5591 replies337 threads Senior Member
    Our school offers 8 periods a day most kids usually take one as a lunch but I've seen some kids with no lunch. If you are taking DE classes you can take less classes if you like. My two oldest took 7 periods a day plus lunch all four years, youngest has opted to only take 6 periods plus a lunch for senior year.

    At our school kids are encouraged to start the math sequence that they are ready for. The highest is:
    9th Pre AP Algebra 2
    10th Pre AP Pre Cal
    11th AP CAL BC
    12th multi variable cal/ linear algebra

    My youngest also took AP Stats and Beyond AP Stats, my oldest took Cal 3 DE. Since there's no college credit for high school Multi/Linear, she was advised to either complete her Cal sequence or retake it all for her major.
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  • howdidwegetherehowdidwegethere 5 replies2 threads New Member
    It seems that our HS (private - test admissions) schedule is rather different. Kids register for 7 courses each year but do not have each class every day. Days 1-7 are 5 classes per day with a mandatory mid-morning tutorial, lunch, and some extra time after lunch (40 mins) for advisory, on campus service, clubs, tutorial, or independent work. Day 8 is 4 courses and lunch + service/tutorial while Day 9 is a late start day (for kids not teachers) and only 3 classes + lunch.

    As for Math, various streams exist starting in 6th grade but the most advanced kids will do the following:
    6th: pre-Algebra,
    7th: Algebra,
    8th: Geometry,
    9th & 10th: a special program for 2 years (a mix of Geometry, Algebra, Trig, and Pre-calc), most of those kids double up and take AP Stats in 10th,
    11th: AP Calc AB, and
    12th: AP Calc BC + Multivariate with an option to double up w/ a class at GT

    The kids who struggle the most with math will likely do the following:
    6th: review of 5th to solidify concepts
    7th: pre-Algebra
    8th: re-visit pre-Algebra & touch on some Algebra
    9th: Algebra 1
    10th: Geometry
    11th: Algebra 2
    12th: Pre-Calculus

    It is so interesting how many different schedules and programs exist.
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