Math Task Force to Present Recommendation on Math Placement

The following letter was sent to all families on February 3 regarding the Superintendent Math Task Force

Dear District 34 Families,
Following months of extensive work, we are excited to share with you today the Superintendent Math Task Force has concluded its work and will be sharing its recommendation for future math placement during a Board of Education meeting scheduled for 6 pm on March 6.  

While ultimately it will be our Board’s decision whether to move forward with this recommendation, we understand the vested interest you have in this topic, and we wanted to share with you today this critical update. We also wanted to thank those of you who served on the task force. Your hard work and dedication is extremely appreciated.

The Superintendent Math Task Force was formed at the start of this school year. The official charge was to research, design, and recommend a repeatable, predictable, collaboratively designed student identification process for advanced and accelerated math. The committee had representation from key stakeholders, including staff from District 34 and District 225, a member from the District 34 Board of Education, and parents.

Overview of Task Force Recommendation
The recommendation that will be made at the March 6 Board meeting truly represents collaborative decision-making by the task force that considered not only how to best place students in the math program, but also how to support students to ensure continued success. In order to do so, the task force had to carefully evaluate every aspect of the district’s placement process, which is why they will present on the following areas at the meeting:

1. Identification Process
This will include an explanation of each step involved in the overall process of math placement and an annual timeline the district will follow.

2. Identification Matrix
This will include an explanation of which measures and cut scores will be used to determine placement as part of utilizing a matrix.

3. Appeal Process
This will include information about the appeals timeline and survey forms that will be used to gather additional information from parents, students and teachers who want to appeal the district’s decision.

4. Exit Process
This will highlight what steps the district will consistently follow when students exit one course and move to another within the math program.

Placement Method
As previously noted, the task force will be recommending the use of a matrix to determine a student’s math placement. In the simplest terms, a matrix is designed to include both academic achievement and cognitive ability in order to guide the district with its placement process. By looking at a combination of both measures, we feel this will best support students for long-term success in District 34 and beyond.

Some of you may recall that prior to recent years, the district utilized a matrix as part of its placement process. The task force will be proposing that adjustments be made to components within the matrix as well as cut scores for each measure. We’d like to invite you to attend the upcoming meeting, where you can hear more about this recommendation.

Ongoing Communication
If you are not able to attend the meeting, please know that a copy of the presentation along with additional communication explaining the recommendation to the Board will be sent out that same evening. Additionally, following Board action, you can expect additional information about the implementation process and all communication that will be provided to best support you in the understanding of this process. Again, this is all pending Board approval.

If you would like more information about the task force, including talking points from each meeting since November, please visit

We do hope you will join us at 6 pm on March 6, but we look forward to ongoing communication with our community over the next several months. 

Dr. Patricia Wernet & Dr. Griff Powell
Interim Superintendents