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Education

Summer Boot Camp Might Solve A Ninth Grade Algebra Problem

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John O'Connor
/
StateImpact Florida

About half of Florida ninth graders failed the state's Algebra 1 exam on their first attempt last year.

The class -- and passing the exam -- are a high school graduation requirement.

We'll find out today if those numbers improved when the Florida Department of Education releases this year's end-of-course results.

But Pinellas County schools aren't waiting. Hundreds of incoming ninth graders will return to class this week to begin a six-week summer Algebra 1 boot camp.

About two-thirds of Pinellas County ninth graders did not pass the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam given last spring.

Students will use a computerized curriculum which will let them spend less time on concepts they understand, and more time on lessons they struggle with.

The Algebra 1 boot camp expands the summer education focus of Superintendent Mike Grego. Last year more than 6,600 students enrolled in the district's six-week Summer Bridge program. This year, the district expects more than 12,000 students, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

We sat down with Dywayne Hinds, Pinellas County schools director of middle school education, to talk about why Algebra 1 is so important, how the summer boot camp will work and what the district's goal is for the program.