Academics
A Notre Dame Education

Mathematics

Philosophy

The Math Department of Notre Dame High School recognizes the importance of mathematical knowledge and problem solving skills within the current array of career opportunities. As the role of technology continues to permeate modern society, individuals will need stronger quantitative-reasoning skills in order to make effective decisions. Therefore, the Math Department engages in a contemporary curriculum that is designed to develop the student’s ability to make informed decisions as well as to apply relevant concepts from a host of given tools and strategies.

Mathematics is a discipline that involves processes, skills, and attitudes that can be used to compile information for the purpose of gaining new knowledge. Thus, students should possess both persistence and patience while participating in the study of mathematics. The Math Department strives to instill a spirit of confidence and faith within each student so that he or she may retain both an appreciation and passion for enhanced knowledge.

Recent News

The Math Department has expanded its course catalogue for summer school.  Starting with the summer of 2017, the department introduced a UC approved, six week honors geometry course for those rising sophomores that satisfied the course prerequisites.  In addition, the department included a UC approved online trigonometry course designed for students who have just completed college prep algebra II and wish to advance into honors precalculus.  This online course has a duration of three weeks.  However, qualifying students must report on campus for an orientation to the course (on the first day of summer school), and they must take the final exam on campus at the end of the third week.
 
Please note that the following courses will continue to be offered as well during the summer:
 
  • algebra I readiness (for incoming freshmen)
  • honors precalculus (for rising juniors and seniors)
  • remediation courses in algebra I, geometry, and algebra II may be offered based on the needs of our current students.

Courses Offered

List of 14 items.

  • Algebra I

    This course examines various properties and operations involving real numbers so that students may develop an understanding of linear equations, systems of linear equations, operations with polynomials and rational expressions, factoring, graphing, radical expressions, and critical problem-solving techniques. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of C or higher in 8th grade math or pre-algebra. Students who do not perform well on the entrance exam and/or have poor elementary school math grades are required to take pre-algebra at Notre Dame during the summer. Student performance in the summer school program will have an impact on acceptance into Notre Dame. (UC “c” Math)
  • Honors Algebra I

    This course requires students to apply the concepts of Algebra I at a more advanced level. Students will experience a more rigorous pace as they complete the topics covered in this accelerated curriculum. An introduction to quadratic functions and the quadratic formula is also included. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Students will be placed in Honors Algebra I based on their results on the entrance exam and their junior high grades and recommendations. (UC “c” Math) 
  • Geometry

    This course includes a comprehensive examination of Euclidian plane geometry. Principles of logical reasoning are introduced early so that students may develop their deductive (and inductive) reasoning skills throughout the course. Mathematical proof, as well as the study of various spatial relationships in both two and three dimensions, are introduced and examined. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Completion of Algebra I. (UC “c” Math) 
  • Honors Geometry

    This course requires students to apply the concepts of Geometry at a more advanced level. Students will experience a more rigorous pace as they complete the topics covered in this accelerated curriculum. Additional topics in right triangle trigonometry and the complexity of proofs will necessitate a broader range of reasoning skills among students. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in Honors Algebra I. Students (including entering freshmen) with semester grades of A- in Algebra I are eligible, but must take a placement exam and obtain department approval. *Also offered as a 6 week summer school course with department chair approval. Incoming freshman are not eligible for the summer course. (UC “c” Math) 
  • Algebra II

    This course provides a continuation of the fundamental material started in Algebra I. A broader examination of functions is featured as students work with linear, quadratic, exponential, and logarithmic equations. Other topics include complex numbers and an introduction to conics. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Completion of Algebra I and Geometry. (UC “c” Math)
  • Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry

    This course requires students to apply the concepts of Algebra II at a more advanced level. Students will experience a more rigorous pace as they complete the topics covered in this accelerated curriculum. Additional topics include an extensive examination of the trigonometric functions and their many applications. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in Honors Geometry. Students (including entering freshmen) with semester grades of A- in Geometry are eligible but must take a placement exam and obtain department approval. (UC “c” Math)
  • Precalculus

    This elective course continues to develop significant topics from Algebra II such as linear, quadratic, exponential, and logarithmic functions. In addition, trigonometric functions and their graphs are explored in great detail. Fundamental topics in statistics and probability are also introduced and examined. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of C- or higher in either Algebra II or Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry. (UC “c” Math) 
  • Honors Precalculus

    This elective course requires students to apply the concepts of Precalculus at a more advanced level. Students will experience a more rigorous pace as they complete the topics covered in this accelerated curriculum. Additional topics include parametric equations, polar coordinates, and limits. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry. Students with semester grades of A- in Algebra II are eligible but must take a placement exam and obtain department approval. In addition, these students must complete a summer course in Trigonometry. *Also offered as a 6 week summer school course for rising juniors and seniors with department chair approval. (UC “c” Math)
  • Statistics with Probability

    This elective course provides students with some of the basic skills needed for collecting, organizing, and interpreting various types of data. Topics include averages and variation, linear regression and correlation, probability theory, and binomial and normal distributions. Real-life applications are emphasized throughout the course. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Completion of Algebra II or Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry. (UC “c” Math) 
  • Trigonometry

    This elective course is designed for students who wish to continue their education in mathematics but do not elect to take Precalculus and/or Calculus. Topics include the trigonometric functions (and their graphs), radian measure, trigonometric identities, inverse trigonometric functions, and various applications of trigonometry. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Completion of Algebra II. Note: Students who have taken Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry, Precalculus, or Honors Precalculus may not register for this course. (UC “c” Math) 
  • Calculus

    This elective course examines some of the essential theories behind calculus, but places much greater emphasis on the manipulation of complex expressions and limits. Techniques of differentiation and integration are studied at length. Applications of calculus to science, economics, and business are also explored. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI- 84 graphing calculator. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in Precalculus; C- or higher in Honors Precalculus. (UC “c” Math) 
  • AP Calculus AB

    This elective course emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus with concepts and exercises expressed geometrically, numerically, analytically, verbally, and in written form. Technology is used regularly by students to reinforce essential concepts, to confirm written work, to implement experimentation, and to assist in interpreting results. A substantial amount of time (at least one hour per day) will be needed outside of class as students cover the topics of this course. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. All students must take the AP Calculus AB exam in the spring. There is a fee for the exam. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in Honors Precalculus. Note: Students with a semester grade of B- must also obtain department approval. (UC “c” Math) 
  • AP Calculus BC

    This elective course includes all the topics of AP Calculus AB plus additional topics in differential and integra l calculus (including parametric, polar, and vector functions) as well as series. Algebraic, numerical, and graphical representations a re emphasized throughout the course. A substantial amount of time (at least one hour per day) will be needed outside of class as students cover the topics of this course. All students must have a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator. All students must take the AP Calculus BC exam in the spring. There is a fee for the exam. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in AP Calculus AB. Note: Students with a semester grade of B- must also obtain department approval. (UC “c” Math) 
  • AP Statistics

    This elective course is designed to introduce students to the main topics of statistics: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. Within this course, students will be able to evaluate the data that they are exposed to every day and start collecting their own data. All students must have a TI-83 or TI-84 graphing calculator. All students must take the attendant AP Statistics exam given in May. There is a fee for the exam. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Semester grades of B- or higher in Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry. Note: Students enrolled in Algebra II must earn semester grades of A- or higher AND must have earned semester grades of A- or higher in Geometry. (UC “ c” Math) 

Faculty

List of 12 items.

  • Joseph Spelta '81

    Mathematics Department Chair
    (818) 933-3641
    spelta@ndhs.org
  • Ruslan Babyan

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 411
    babayan@ndhs.org
  • Rebecca Faber '94

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 424
    faber@ndhs.org
  • William Gamble

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 413
    gamble@ndhs.org
  • Paul Gross '91

    Mathematics Teacher & Girls Basketball Coach
    (818) 933-3669
    gross@ndhs.org
  • Scott Hamilton

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 431
    hamilton@ndhs.org
  • John Hirn

    Mathematics & Science Teacher & Water Polo Coach
    (818) 933-3681
    hirn@ndhs.org
  • Miguel Hungerford '06

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 435
    hungerford@ndhs.org
  • Lisa Nelson

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 423
    lnelson@ndhs.org
  • Sophia Saethang

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 428
    saethang@ndhs.org
  • Eduardo Samaniego

    Mathematics & Computer Science Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 403
    samaniego@ndhs.org
  • Cynthia Torres Gutierrez '03

    Mathematics Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 467
    ctorres@ndhs.org
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