The courses in mathematics emphasize the pattern, structure, and unifying ideas of the discipline. Since we have witnessed tremendous growth in uses of mathematics during the past thirty years, it is virtually impossible to predict all our future mathematical needs. The mathematics program provides opportunities for students to achieve the mathematical, statistical, and computer literacy that will be required by tomorrow’s society. In particular, the program focuses on development of concepts and skills in the nine mathematics standards of the Weston Public Schools: Problem Solving, Number, Computation, Measurement, Geometry, Statistics, Probability, Functions/Algebra, and General Uses/Connections.
The following guidelines are used by the Department regarding summer school courses for credit, and the placement of students in academic year courses:
- The mathematics department recommends that students take alternate mathematics courses (summer school, on-line, or after-school mathematics courses) only if they have done poorly in the corresponding academic year course or desire such a course for enrichment. When encountering specific mathematics courses for the first time, students should not substitute such alternate courses for regular academic year courses in their mathematics programs. In general only academic year courses provide the time and group interaction necessary to develop an appropriate understanding of the concepts involved. Students will generally not be permitted to skip courses by taking alternate courses and students who take alternate courses prior to the academic year course should do so with the understanding that they will encounter some repetition of material in their academic year course. For further information about this policy, contact the department chair.
- During late January, teachers recommend to their students courses that they should enroll in for the next year. Those recommendations are based on observed student interest, aptitude, and performance. If a student or a student and his parents question a teacher’s recommendation, the teacher should be contacted immediately. The school’s override procedure must be completed before students may enroll in courses other than those recommended by their teachers.
- The Department recommends that all students complete at least three years of a basic college preparatory mathematics program including Algebra II. Juniors are advised to take the Mathematics SAT exam in June and seniors are advised to take the exam in December or January. Students should consult their guidance counselor and their current mathematics teacher for advice in selecting between the two Mathematics SAT exams.
Both Macintosh and PC‘s are available to students and staff. All students are instructed in the use of computers and calculators as mathematical tools. Students are required to become proficient in the use of graphing calculators in courses beginning with Algebra II, and most courses include the use of spreadsheets and programming in Scheme as mathematical problem solving tools.
The Department sponsors a High School Mathematics Team and sometimes a Computer Science Team that compete in league competitions both locally and regionally throughout the academic year. Students with strong mathematical or computer science abilities are encouraged to participate.
Jim McLaughlin has served as the Mathematics Department Head for Weston Middle and High Schools since August, 2012.
Since 2000, Mr. McLaughlin has served as a mathematics teacher at Weston High School. Previously, he was a mathematics teacher at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, Nassau County, New York, 1997-2000. Mr. McLaughlin earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on mathematics from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1997. His undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, was earned in 1995 from Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut.
Math Department Faculty
Faculty for 2022-2023 School Year
Bailey Fidler AP Stat, Applied Discrete Math
Aaron Gacs AB Calc, Honors Alg. II
Natalie Griswold Honors Alg II, AB Calc, BC Calc
Corlene Hosmer Alg II, Intermediate Alg, Precalc
Alison Langsdorf Honors Geometry, AP Computer Science
Continental Mathematics League
Founded in 1980 the Contiental Mathematics league (CML) helps students improve their problem solving skills. The national scope generates student participation and excitement. The exams are given throughout the school year to students in Grades 2-9, as well as to high school Calculus students. Grade 9 students complete 5 30-minute meets with 6 questions per meet; Advanced Placement Calculus students complete 4 40-minute meets with 8 questions per meet.
The New England Mathematics League
Students compete for the highest scores, while schools compete for the highest team score. There are 6 contests each year, with 6 questions per contest. All high school students in accredited schools are welcome to compete. Problems draw from a wide range of high school topics: geometry, algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, series, sequences, exponents, roots, integers, real numbers, combinations, probability, coordinate geometry, and more. No knowledge of calculus is required. Detailed solution sheets demonstrate the methods used to solve each problem, including various approaches where appropriate. Working through these problems and math league contest problem books is excellent practice for the SAT and college-bound students
Massachusetts Association of Math Leagues
The Massachusetts Association of Math Leagues (MAML) is the major high school math competition organization in Massachusetts. It organizes two major competitions, a MAML olympiad, and the MAML math meet.
In October, thousands of high school students across Massachusetts take the MAML Olympiad Level 1, which consists of 30 multiple choice questions to be completed in 1.5 hours, similar to the format of the old American High School Mathematics Examination. The top 100 scorers are considered finalists, and the next 100 are called semi-finalists. In early March, all of the finalists take the 3-hour MAML Olympiad Level 2, which consists of proof-type questions, usually around 7 multi-part questions. The top 20 scorers on that receive cash prizes ranging from $50 to $250.
Throughout the year, different schools compete among 6 major math leagues in Massachusetts. On the last Thursday in March, the top 3-4 schools from each league compete at the MAML meet, which is held at alternating schools across Massachusetts. The top 4 schools in each division (small, medium, and large) qualify for the New England Association of Math Leagues (NEAML) meet at Canton High School on the last Friday in April. As well, the top 3 teams in each division and sometimes extra teams or other high-scoring students get a chance to go to “Math Day,” a celebratory awards dinner with speakers and food.
American Mathematics Competitions
Weston High School participates in a series of competitions in mathematics, which ultimately lead to the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The first round of competitions are the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) for students in Grade 10 and below (AMC10) and students in Grade 12 and below (AMC12). Students who perform well on these exams are invted to participate in the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Students who perform well on the AIME are then invited to the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). Exceptional performance qualifies students to the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP or MOP). Six students are then selected through the Team Selection Test (TST) to form the United States Math Team, which represents the country in the IMO.