Students working on math problems

Math in Somerville

Math Challenge Updates

Current Somerville Math Challenge Initiative Updates, Milestones, and Goals

Letter to Families from Superintendent Skipper

Superintendent Mary Skipper's Letter to Families in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole.

Resources for Families

In addition to the resources below, check out our website of resources for families:

Blogpost: Helping Students with Math Homework

Video: With Math I Can

All The Mathematical Methods I Learned In University Are Obsolete 

Video: How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning | Jo Boaler | TEDxStanford

Helping Students With Math Anxiety


Grade 8 Math Grouping

In alignment with the pathways that the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks lay out, Somerville students either complete the traditional pathway that covers the eighth grade math standards in preparation for Algebra I in 9th grade or an alternative faster-paced pathway that covers both the eighth grade math and Algebra content, preparing these students to take Geometry in 9th grade. How this is done varies by school, with some schools offering separate traditional and faster-paced classes and others offering both options in a differentiated way within one mixed class.

  • The Argenziano, Winter Hill, and East Somerville Schools offer two different classes, the traditional and faster paced classes. Going forward, students who scored Meets or Exceeds Expectations (500 or higher) on their grade 6 MCAS will automatically qualify for the faster paced group. Those who missed the cut-off, but show proficiency on other measures such as STAR, district common assessments, and daily coursework, will also be eligible for the faster paced class, provided that both the teacher and parents agree that this is the right path. During the year, students who are excelling in the regular class will have the option to move to the faster paced class.
  • The Kennedy, West Somerville, and Healey Schools offer one mixed 8th grade math class for all students, while providing opportunities within that class for students with higher proficiency to master the Algebra content required to take Geometry in 9th grade. It is not possible to offer two different classes at these schools that are grouped by proficiency while maintaining manageable class sizes and without having a major negative impact on scheduling and programming. Therefore, they will continue to offer one combined class and work closely with our instructional coaches to differentiate for the range of learners within the classroom. We anticipate that within a few years, as our interventions fully take effect and the number of proficient students continues to increase across the district, that all schools will be offering their 8th grade math in this way.


Leadership team

Uri Harel, K-8 Curriculum Coordinator 

Chad Mazza, Assistant Superintendent