CCSNH Colleges And Programs

Math Learning Communities


Our proven approach to increasing the math readiness of NH high school students for life skills, college, and careers is back!  Read on to find out more about this exciting program developed in partnership between the Community College System of NH (CCSNH) and NH high schools.

Overview

Math Learning Communities (MLC) is a supplemental, two-tiered math program available to all public secondary schools to help meet the needs of students who lack a strong foundation in mathematics and are not ready to engage in mathematical reasoning and the application of math required in upper-level and college-level math courses. Our goal is to provide high school students with a strong understanding of higher-level math concepts in order to assist them in pursuing any postsecondary education and training programs to successfully transition from high school to college to career. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Math Learning Communities program, please contact Kris Conmy, the Program Director, at [email protected]

Details

The two-tiered strategy of the Math Learning Communities consists of two levels of innovative and integrated math courses: 

Tier 1 is a course offered at our partner high schools, taught by their faculty, for high school credit and is based on the math competencies required to successfully enroll in a first college-level math course at a NH Community College or a four-year university. 

Tier 2 is a course offered at our partner high schools, at NH Community Colleges, or online for both high school and college credit through the CCSNH Early College program and is widely transferrable to four-year colleges and universities.   

The two courses are designed to be interesting and energizing for students and to keep students engaged in mathematical reasoning through the completion of their high school experience.  The delivery of both courses relies on the utilization of the Standards for Mathematical Practice as incorporated into the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and incorporates proven best teaching practices that include Habits of Mind (Costa, 2000) and highly motivating Applied Problem Solving (Boaler, 2009). 

Benefits of the Math Learning Communities program 

Students: 

  • Avoid the time, cost, and discouragement of struggling with pre-requisite math courses upon entering college 
  • Are eligible to apply for Early College scholarships
  • Are eligible to apply to a wider range of college programs and majors 
  • Can transfer their successfully-completed Tier 2 course to many four-year colleges and universities 

Partner High Schools are provided: 

  • Free placement assessment 
  • Purchasing assistance for course resources  
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 course curriculum training and instructor guides with full-course lesson plans 
  • Advisor Handbooks for guidance counselors and math faculty 
  • Professional development events and onsite technical assistance to promote innovative teaching practices 

Contact Us 

If you are interested in learning more about the Math Learning Communities program, please contact Kris Conmy, the Program Director, at [email protected]

FAQs

Starting in 2006, in collaboration with Plymouth State University through a Making the Transition from High School to College grant, CCSNH developed a Steering Committee to research assessment practices and placement scores for prospective community college students.  Four-hundred Career and Technical Education Center students were assessed using the Accuplacer.  

Based on the results, a course called Senior Math was designed to build student competency on the 14 algebraic competencies identified as a requirement to be prepared to take and pass a first-year math course offered at one of our CCSNH colleges.  From September 2007 to August 2008, the CCSNH Math Transition Project Steering Committee developed and recommended a syllabus for a common, college-level mathematics course, Topics of Applied College Mathematics (TAC.Math), to be offered as a dual enrollment course for high school and college credit.   

From September 2008 through June 2009, the Senior Math and TAC.Math course sequence was presented to high school and college audiences and in June of 2008, a proposal on behalf of six high schools and the seven community colleges to implement a two-tiered approach called “Math Learning Communities” (MLC) was approved.  A Project Leadership Team of high school and community college faculty was developed to support and guide the MLC and outreach to high schools, to recruit MLC partners, and to offer joint high school and college professional development opportunities to promote implementation of the MLC at the college and high school level. 

Eventually the Senior Math and TAC.Math courses would be revised based on program results and feedback to address the changing landscape of math preparedness for college.  Senior Math became Advanced Mathematical Foundations which served to review, strengthen and expand upon a student’s understanding and ability to apply fundamental competencies in the following subject areas: Algebra; Geometry; and Probability and Statistics.  A new course, Quantitative Reasoning, was developed to replace TAC.Math and was offered not only through the MLC program, but also at the community colleges.  The subject area content includes: Number Theory/Number Systems, Algebra – Functions & Modeling, Finance, Geometry & Measurement, Probability & Statistics.  All content to be taught at a college level by qualified instructors emphasizing an applied problem solving and critical thinking approach to their teaching.  

From 2008 to 2017, the program enrollment grew from 8 to 37 high schools and almost 1000 students.  Over those years, we had been fortunate to secure funding for the MLC project through the Math Science Partnership grant through the DoE, then through the College Access Challenge Grant and then through the Math Science Partnership again.  Unfortunately grant funding, and thus the MLC program, ended after 2017.  However, recognizing the success that students in the program had achieved, many high schools continued to offer the Quantitative Reasoning course through the CCSNH Running Start, now Early College, program.  Some also continued to offer a version of Advanced Mathematical Foundations as well. 

With strong, bi-partisan support for the program in the NH State Legislature, in 2023 a bill was passed to fund the revival of this impactful programIn April 2024, a new Program Manager was hired, and we are in the process of forming a new project leadership team to update the courses in the two-tier approach and reaching out to all NH public high schools to recruit schools into the program beginning with the 2024-2025 school year. 

The primary goal of the two-tier strategy to strengthen the math skills of high school juniors and seniors will have applicability for a cohort of secondary school students who are often reluctant math learners and are most likely not to be candidates for pre-calculus or other higher mathematics However, the Tier 2 course would be an excellent opportunity for any high school senior to explore new mathematical concepts while also earning college credit. 

For students who continue to struggle with mastering mathematical concepts and/or fail to thrive in math courses taught using conventional methods, the Tier 1 course will serve to review, strengthen and expand upon a student’s understanding and ability to apply fundamentals using innovative teaching methods incorporating Habits of Minds skills, and the course material will emphasize applied reasoning and practical applications of the skills learned. 

The Tier 2 course will continue to challenge students with new math concepts taught at a college level by qualified instructors emphasizing an applied problem solving and critical thinking approach to their teaching.  This helps to avoid the time, cost, and discouragement of struggling with pre-requisite math courses upon entering college   This course will also be available to students who did not need to take the Tier 1 course and are ready to tackle college-level math. 

Beyond the mastery of math concepts, the critical thinking and problem-solving strategies emphasized in both courses can be used across content areas as they improve students’ general learning skills.   This improves access to mastery learning for students who struggle with more than just mathematics.  The low-cost/no-cost Tier 2 course also provides the opportunity to experience college-level coursework for students who may have thought that postsecondary education was beyond their means or ability. 

Instructors of these courses in the high schools will be able to focus most of their time on helping students master course material rather than on curriculum planning because the project leadership team made up of community college and high school faculty will provide them with the curriculum, complete with lesson plans and a facilitator’s guideIn addition, they will be able to attend professional development on, and assistance with, the content and instructional methodologies in the courses.  The networking opportunities provided during the professional development sessions will allow teachers to share thoughts and experiences with each other since peer teachers are often the best resources for each other. 

This program offers your school the opportunity to implement courses developed by college math faculty and master mathematics teachers from across the stateSince program funds will also be used to pay for any textbooks and other resources used for course administration for schools who partner with us during the start-up year, this gives you the opportunity to offer research-based, high-quality learning opportunities to the students at your school with less impact on your budget than offering traditional courses to those students would haveYour teachers will also be supported through training, professional development, and support at no cost to youBecoming a Math Learning Communities partner school allows you to be part of a state-wide network of master educators working together to improve readiness for college-level math and learning across the state. 

Since all high school and college course offerings are already set for the 2024-2025 academic year, the program this year will run using existing courses while the project leadership team works on updating and modifying both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 courses. 

Details are still being worked out and once the project leadership team has finalized the plan for 2024-2025 we will update this FAQ.  If you would like to be on our contact list for this and all other updates on the program, please contact Kris Conmy, the Program Director, at [email protected]

Community Voices

Students who took MLC courses at their high schools

“I never liked math.  I always found it really tedious and never really interesting to me.  This course has changed my attitude towards math because I always used to try to avoid math whenever I could.  Now I see it, and I’ll do it in my head, and it’ll make sense immediately.” – Student at Nashua High School North, 2017 

 “I’ve never really been a fan of math until this class. In this class, I always have so much fun it.  It’s definitely my favorite class which is really surprising because I never really liked math.  It’s funny because in math class I usually just kept quiet, but in this class, I speak up more and I understand the problems more.  It makes you feel better in a way because you understand the problems more and understand the information more than previous math classes.” – Student #1 at Profile High School, 2017 

 “My attitude towards math when I came into college was not very good.  When I was in high school, I did not do very well, I almost failed math in high school.  When I came to college, I actually did much better. I’m doing very well in math now, my attitude towards math has changed very much, and I’m very happy where I’m going with math right now.”  – Student at Nashua Community College who was in the MLC program at his high school, 2017   

High school and community college faculty who taught MLC courses

 “Look at this as a way to reach those students who checked out early on.  They’re ready now.  They want the help.  Yeah, there’s a traditional way we taught Algebra 1 and Algebra 2; that didn’t work for these students, that’s why they checked out.  Up until the point where we instituted [the MLC courses], they had nowhere to go.  They would be interested but there was nothing for them to do.  This is like a second chance for these students who are now ready to learn it to be given the opportunity to learn it.  They’re not going back in a class with Freshmen, they’re going back in a class with [juniors and seniors] who are more motivated.” – Math Faculty at ConVal High School #1, 2017 

 “We try to incorporate practical applications.  Because we have a wide variety of majors taking the course, we can tailor the class to those majors.  For example, some may be early childhood education, so we talk about if you run a childcare center, how do you break even?  So, we’ll do break-even analysis with linear systems, so they see this is important information for their everyday lives.” – Mathematics and Physics Department Head at NHTI, 2017 

 “Many of the skills that we look at in [the MLC courses] students have experienced before but haven’t had success for lots of reasons.  Whether they just weren’t mature enough, they weren’t completing homework and practicing enough, they didn’t care, there’s a whole host of reasons.  Certainly, one of the reasons I like about teaching [in this program] is that I don’t have to introduce and develop those skills completely because they’ve already experienced many of them before.  Now I can help them take that step further and apply them to real life contexts.” – Math Faculty at Profile High School, 2017 

 “[The MLC courses] change a lot of attitudes.  It gives them a positive experience rather than drilling them and rather than having them memorize a lot of things in math.  In the past, some people take the course and they say it doesn’t really apply to them.  They come back later on and they say, ‘guess what, I did something in a psychology class and we needed this stuff to understand a topic we were working on!’  Many of the students didn’t know how to do it and this student ended up explaining what was going on in the class.” – Math Faculty at Nashua Community College, 2017 

“I went to two different sessions for training for the math learning communities, and during those trainings different teachers who had been teaching it gave different practices in different ways to approach some of your more difficult concepts.  It not only helped me learn those concepts, but it also energized me to think of different ways that I was going to teach.  Any time you get a support system like that, it not only helps you in the classroom, but it energizes you to do better for that kind of student.”  – Math Faculty #1 at Nashua High School North, 2017