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Valley Academyof Arts & Sciences

Mathematics » Welcome to the VAAS Math Department

Welcome to the VAAS Math Department

In keeping with our VAAS Mission statement, Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences provides a personalized, safe learning environment that encourages all students to be mathematical thinkers and valuable contributors to the mathematical learning processes. At VAAS, students engage in mathematical content both independently and collaboratively, using the standards for mathematical practices, rich classroom discussions, persevering in solving problems, and participating in project-based learning tasks. Not only will this learning transfer into other content areas, but it will also prepare our students with the critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities needed for future academic pursuits and success in our global society. 

Our Math Curriculum
Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 utilize the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum. 
IM Algebra 1, Geometry, and illustrative math logo 2 are problem-based core curricula rooted in content and practice standards to foster learning and achievement for all. Students learn by doing math, solving problems in mathematical and real-world contexts, and constructing arguments using precise language. Teachers can shift their instruction and facilitate student learning with high-leverage routines that guide them in understanding and making connections between concepts and procedures.
Statistics and Probability offer students an alternative to Precalculus as a fourth high school mathematics course. In the Statistics and Probability course, students continue to develop a more formal and precise understanding of statistical inference, which requires a deeper understanding of probability. Students learn that formal inference procedures are designed for studies in which the sampling or assignment of treatments was random, and these procedures may be less applicable to non-randomized observational studies. Probability is still viewed as long-run relative frequency, but the emphasis now shifts to conditional probability and independence, and basic rules for calculating probabilities of compound events
Precalculus combines concepts of trigonometry, geometry, and algebra that are needed to prepare students for the study of calculus. The course strengthens students’ conceptual understanding of problems and mathematical reasoning in solving problems. Facility with these topics is especially important for students who intend to study calculus, physics, other sciences, and engineering in college. The main topics in the Precalculus course are complex numbers, rational functions, trigonometric functions and their inverses, inverse functions, vectors and matrices, and parametric and polar curves
AP Calculus-
AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC focus on students’ understanding of calculus concepts and provide experience with methods and applications. Although computational competence is an important outcome, the main emphasis is on a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The connections among these representations are important.
TC Math
Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics (TCMS) is a problem-based, inquiry-oriented, and technology-rich fourth-year high school mathematics course. It was designed by LAUSD and California State University Northridge (CSUN) to help ensure student success in college and careers in an increasingly technological, information-laden, and data-driven global society.
The class has two key components:Transition to College Mathematics and Stats Textbook Cover
The class utilizes a commercially available curriculum to solidify students' K-L1 skills and practices.
Students taking a 4th-year math course receive a "bump" in college eligibility under CSU's new multiple measures to determine college math placement and are less likely to require suggested or mandatory support while in college.
Financial Algebra
The course emphasizes the use of mathematics to model and explore real-world financial phenomena including interpreting and justifying reasoning to make data-supported financial decisions. The Financial Algebra 1AB is intended for all students who are interested in finance and business including students with disabilities. 
Students engage in a variety of relevant and authentic assignments, including:
  • Linear automobile depreciation, exponential depreciation, and linear regression calculation
  • Modeling income tax schedules
  • Exploring simple interest and compound interest formula derivation leading to exponential equation r 
  • Credit and loan calculations regression
  • Modeling a business including optimal outcomes - linear programming
  • Retirement - future and the present value of a single deposit retirement account involving exponential function
  • Budget matrices
  • Oral presentations
  • Evaluation of reports based on data
Students learn through engagement in collaborative learning, problem-solving, modeling, application, and critical thinking.


Math Opportunities

Math Pathways for Students

The gray course titles are those that are required coursework. 


For students who are interested in pursuing BSTEM fields in college and career:

BSTEM is an acronym for Business, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. B-Stem fields include: Business Administration, Computer Science, Engineering, Math, Science Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Pharmacology, Medical School, or other Health Professional Degree requiring at least a bachelor's degree.


These are fields that often require higher levels of math and usually include some form of calculus, as well as  higher mathematical coursework. However, not all BSTEM fields require calculus. Therefore it is important you look at the prospective fields of interest to see what mathematical coursework you may need for your major and career opportunities. 

In the chart above, BSTEM coursework can be found by looking at the maroon titles. 


For students who are interested in pursuing non B-STEM fields (or those interested in SLAM) in college and career:

SLAM is an acronym for Statistics and Liberal Arts Math. SLAM fields include: Art, Dance, Communications, Music, Theater, TV Liberal Arts, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Education, English, Ethnic Studies, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Nursing, Fire Technology, or other field requiring a bachelor's or technical degree. 


The courses in this pathway will focus on the mathematical skills and concepts that are necessary for applied problem solving in their career. Additionally, many of these fields require statistical analysis and interpretations in later coursework. It is important to note that a 4th year of high school math is necessary for many of these majors and for career-readiness. 


In the chart above, SLAM coursework can be found by looking at the dark burgundy titles. 


All students should aspire to have a solid mathematical foundation upon graduating high school as this will prepare them for their college and career goals. Additionally, being mathematically prepared will prevent students from having to take repeat or remedial math coursework that does not count for college credit, saving them both time and money.