The math department faculty at St. Francis High School strives to provide our students with not only the mathematical skills they will need to take their place in a technologically advanced society, but also with the fundamental skills, procedures, and good judgment to continue their mathematics education at the most competitive universities and throughout their careers. To this end, we emphasize the necessity of communicating answers in mathematically correct notation, and in complete sentences. We expect our students to take advantage of the opportunity for personal interactions with their instructors, in accordance with the larger goal of having our students grow into mindful, informed young adults. Students are encouraged to be part of the process, driving discussions and curriculum decisions, and being full partners in their own education.
We offer a full range of coursework in high-school mathematics beginning with Algebra I, Geometry, and then Algebra II, with a range of options after Algebra II. In the courses through Algebra II, we use texts that emphasize good fundamental procedures and basic skills. We have found that “contemporary” texts seem to be distracting and hence confusing to students who should, at this stage in their careers, be focusing on the basics. After Algebra II, students can opt for Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, or FST (Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry, a survey course for those who choose not to do AP-level math). We can also offer independent studies in Post-Calculus mathematics for those students with the necessary background and interest. Texts for these courses are college-level, and emphasize correct and consistent use of mathematical vocabulary and notation.
Math classes at St. Francis are small, ranging in size from 5 to 17. Instruction includes extensive use of technology, as required by the current standards in the AP and other college-preparatory curricula.
Beyond the ordinary curricula, we offer students the chance to participate in the Greater Louisville Math League, a challenging competition held four times per year, with both individual and team scores reported. Selected students are also invited to participate in the American Math Competition, the first level of a talent-search process. Those students scoring above 100 will be eligible to compete in the American Invitational Math Exam, and the top few hundred students in the nation on that exam will be invited to a summer camp to choose the U.S. Math Olympiad Team, for international competition. In math competition, St. Francis students regularly outrank their peers.