Advanced Math Class at LCHS Takes Step Forward

An advanced math course at La Cañada High School is a step closer to reality as the La Cañada Unified School District and Pasadena City College are making plans to collaborate.
“We are excited at the possibility of partnering with Pasadena City College to offer advanced math classes as well as possibly other subjects at La Cañada High School,” said LCUSD Governing Board President Brent Kuszyk in an email. “This will come before the board for discussion at our March meeting and we will be considering a MOU [memorandum of understanding] with Pasadena City College.”
Sugi Sorensen, an LCHS parent and part of the group La Cañada Math Parents, initially reported the news on the group’s closed Facebook page. The group has a page and a website about math instruction in the district.
“If approved by LCUSD executive staff and the Governing Board, LCHS would offer a PCC Multivariable Calculus course to students who have successfully completed AP Calculus, during the regular school day, taught by a PCC professor,” Sorensen wrote.
LCHS interim Principal Jim Cartnal said the information in the post was correct except there was no memorandum of understanding yet with PCC, as was originally reported.
Cartnal described the partnership for duel enrollment in the advanced math class as a “great opportunity” and officials are taking a closer look at possible student interest.
“The lucky number is between 16 and 18 kids,” Cartnal said of what the base enrollment would have to be to get the class off the ground. “When we look at the numbers of kids who are underclassmen that would be in position to take that class if they can work it into their schedule, there are probably 33 or 34.”
Sorensen said this was the first time in his seven years dealing with the district he had heard of a pilot program like this.
“Several high performing districts in the state such as South Pasadena USD and Palo Alto USD already have such agreements in place with local community colleges,” Sorensen wrote. “In contrast, advanced math students at LCHS have had to drive to PCC or GCC to take advanced math courses in the evenings, if there were room available, or take accredited courses online. Under the new agreement, it is hoped that qualified LCHS students could receive high school credit and college credit simultaneously for the course.”
Cartnal said the hope is that after student interest is found to be acceptable and the governing board enters into an agreement of dual enrollment, the class could begin for the next school year in 2019-2020.
LCHS parent Ann Esin, whose daughter is a junior, said the issue was one of availability and inconvenience.
“The high school students are allowed to take PCC courses but registration is delayed for several weeks after the PCC students register,” Esin said. Her daughter, Wren Kawamura, was unable to take the calculus class because there was no open space but a new section was eventually opened for spring semester.
“It’s not just the inconvenience, it’s the availability issue,” Esin said.

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