No longer a charter, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology will require algebra for admission

The state’s top performing high school, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, will no longer be a charter school in 2016-2017, enabling it to impose an algebra requirement for fall admissions.

Gwinnett County school leaders opened the school in 2007 to engage students interested in math and science.  As a charter school, GSMST could not set academic admissions requirements. 

Since GSMST will not be a charter school next year, Gwinnett spokeswoman Sloan Roach confirmed algebra will be required. Nine years of data showed having algebra in middle school was a key determinant in success at GSMST, she said.

She said Gwinnett parents have been informed of the new algebra requirement.

According to the school site, eligible applicants must now meet three criteria:

•The student and their custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must currently reside within the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ attendance zone (anywhere in Gwinnett County, outside the city limits of Buford).
•The student must be currently enrolled in a recognized 8th grade curriculum and complete all promotion requirements to ninth grade status by the end of spring semester, 2016.  (Students who have applied to previous GSMST lotteries or students who are currently designated as 9th through 12th graders are not eligible.)
•The student must be currently enrolled in and successfully complete a full unit of Carnegie-eligible (high school) Algebra or higher.  (Students currently taking pre-Algebra, Introduction to Algebra/Geometry, or the equivalent are not eligible.)

GSMST was up for charter renewal this year. Unlike magnet schools,  charters cannot have admission requirements.  They must be open and accessible to all students, and, if oversubscribed as GSMST has been, rely on a lottery to award seats.

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology emerges Georgia's top high school on several rankings.

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology is not renewing its charter next year.

In a letter to the state, GSMST said, “While we will not seek charter renewal, we will continue to design, build, and implement instructional programs focused on offering high-level, challenging programs of advanced studies in mathematics, science, and technology to our students. As we return to GCPS public school status, we will continue to partner with universities, colleges, business, industry and parents to provide students the appropriate academic, technical, and employment skills needed to successfully enter post-secondary institutions and/or the workforce.”

I asked Roach about rumors the new middle school in Duluth would be a math and science magnet and serve as a feeder to GSMST.

“Neither GSMST nor the new middle school in Duluth are ‘magnet’ schools. GSMST will have special school status under SWSS/IE2. The new middle school will be a zone school and serve students within the Duluth Cluster. The attendance zone for that school will be determined through the current redistricting process,” said Roach in an email.

One parent expressed concern the GSMST algebra requirement will hurt minority and low-income students who have historically been underrepresented in advanced math in middle school. (You can see federal data on racial disparities in middle school Algebra 1 enrollment.)

 

Reader Comments 0

7 comments
Sean Whiteman
Sean Whiteman

My concern is that this change was done mid year with students already in whatever math class they were assigned to prior to the change. So if a student in middle school had been informed at the end of the prior school year, they may have worked hard over the summer and attempted algebra if it was required by GSMST. I am sure the data says this will help but I know for sure, it is not required. 


How do I know? My son, was only in pre algebra, no probe, came off the wait list 10 days after school started, the last day you could do this (this has since been changed to 5 days) and is going into the 12th grade at GSMST next month. It can be done and children who are willing to work should be given the chance just like everyone else based on the following. 


Many family's in Gwinnett county simply don't understand that as long as all of the tax payers are paying for this school (all of them, cp, gifted, special ed)  any one that wants to attempt to go to it, can try to go and see if they can make it. If you don't like it this way, work hard to change it to a magnet school and let's see how it plays out then. You'd have to first fix how students would be educated in the lower levels fairly but that is another story. 


As for our family, the choice was simple. We are tax payers that about 80% of our home tax bill went to the Gwinnett county school system. We paid this amount into this system when we did not have our children in the Gwinnett county school system. In 2013, Georgia had the fifth lowest graduation rate in the county and only about 71% of students graduated that year.


The number one school in Georgia and the number 3 in the nation at that time has a lottery that any student can apply for. We lived in Gwinnett county and decided to put our child's name into the lottery. 


Our student got in and will get out in four years. Maybe rather than students leaving, GSMST should find a more created way to teach the students that fall on the lower side of the academic scale. It's easy to allow the best and brightest to come into a program and do well.  


What GSMST does do well is prepare the student for college level rigor and productive study/work habits.  I think it was worth the hard work, I just don't think that anyone should be excluded from trying. Make it a magnet school if you want to have an exam to get in but until you do, let all that are willing, do their best to try to succeed. 



Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

"Nine years of data showed having algebra in middle school was a key determinant in success at GSMST,..."

Imagine that.  Admission based on academic qualifications.  Which can only mean one thing - wait for it, wait for it...

"One parent expressed concern the GSMST algebra requirement will hurt minority and low-income students who have historically been underrepresented in advanced math in middle school."

Yep, there it is.  Never fails when you're talking about academic qualifications,



gsms_student
gsms_student

It is catch 22.  If you take students who are not qualified then they either drop out or fail.  So many of them at this school....not just academically backward but those who are mediocre students as well.

Lee_CPA2 

Beach Bound2020
Beach Bound2020

Asian and Southeast Asian students are minority and generally of modest incomes.  I don't see those particular student groups having problems with Algebra I in middle school.  Maybe economics and racial/ethnic status isn't really the issue behind why some student groups overwhelming fall behind in math?  Just a thought.

Q1225
Q1225

@Beach Bound2020  "Asian and Southeast Asian students are minority and generally of modest incomes." 

The median Asian household income is 20% higher than the median White household income.  The median Indian (South Asian) household income is 60% higher than the median White household income.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Beach Bound2020


How are the Asian descendents of slaves whose grandparents were kept in Asian only schools until 1971 doing?


Just a thought.



Starik
Starik

@AvgGeorgian @Beach Bound2020 The history of the Chinese and Japanese in America would be interesting to explore. Weren't they brought here as laborers during the Civil War?