The Cyclical Nature of Math Classes

Math is changing in Oregon schools. The math curriculum changes content every seven years, and that change will be taking effect at the beginning of fall 2024 for most school districts. This rework will have a greater impact on students than in previous cycles, as the Oregon Department of Education has different requirements for the curriculum compared to previous years. How will this rework of the curriculum affect high school students?

Most higher-level classes, such as International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP), will not be seeing much of a difference. However, standard-level classes might be seeing an overhaul in the content taught in specific classes. 

Students in Bend-La Pine Schools might have noticed that on the newer curriculum guides, classes that used to be titled Math 9 or Algebra 1 are now titled Math 1. There is no need to be worried, the content will not dramatically change. The Bend-La Pine school district has not yet decided on the exact changes to the classes’ curriculum, and, wanting to keep options open, renamed Algebra 1 as Math 1 and Geometry 1 as Math 2. 

Linda Adams is a Teacher on special assignment who helps secondary school teachers (middle and high school). She explained that the options the district is deciding on are between integrating some algebra, some geometry and some new data literacy standards into one class, or, leaving things as they currently are, having algebra separated into one distinct class and geometry with data literacy in another.

Why change the curriculum? Adams explained that this overhaul is happening because the current math classes prepare students for calculus. Nowadays, calculus isn’t a necessary tool for most career paths. To adapt to this, the Bend-La Pine district is planning to create three main pathways. These pathways would start with Math 1 and Math 2. That will then lead to the calculus pathway, the data reasoning pathway or the quantitative pathway.

Oregon school districts go through a rework of the curriculum every seven years in order to adapt to changing teaching standards and to refine any previously noticed problems with the curriculum. Stacy Stockseth, an Instructional Coach for secondary schools, explained that the Redmond school district has already re-adopted the same elementary math curriculum as last cycle, but the school district is still in the process of testing its secondary math curriculum options. Stockseth said that they hope to have a curriculum that addresses the new state standards while also providing the best practice strategies. Adams explained that vendors, the people who create and sell textbooks, give the district small samples of their textbooks so the district can decide on a vendor who best fits their criteria. Currently, the district is testing the narrowed-down curriculums in classes to discover possible benefits or difficulties they have yet to anticipate. 

Adams explained that the Bend-La Pine school district personnel have narrowed down the choices, and some teachers are actively testing out the new curriculum in their classes. The main benefits anticipated are adaptability of lessons and content, higher generated student engagement and support for teachers, students and parents.

One problem the new curriculum is focused on fixing is the lack of student engagement with the current curriculum. A teacher at Bend Senior High school described that a large number of students in standard-level classes, compared to advanced classes, lack engagement in certain subjects in math. The Bend-La Pine district is focusing on finding a curriculum that has more contextual and applicable math lessons for standard high school and middle school math classrooms. 

The Bend-La Pine school district has hopes for this new curriculum, but time will tell how well their plans apply to the classroom next school year.


  • Matthew Williams

    The current photographer and assistant editor of The Obsidian. A Bend native and current junior of a local high school. Hobbies include reading.

    View all posts