Academics
Course Offerings

Math & Computer Science

The College Prep Mathematics program is problem-based and student-centered.
Using an approach that integrates the traditional areas of mathematics—algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus, and calculus—throughout four sequential levels of study, students become independent learners who excel in reading, writing about, exploring, applying, and communicating mathematical concepts. The curriculum is structured around these principles:

  • Algebra is foundational as a modeling and problem-solving tool. 
  • Geometry in two and three dimensions is integrated across topics at all levels and includes coordinate and transformational approaches.
  • The study of vectors, matrices, counting, data analysis, and other topics from discrete mathematics is woven into core courses.
  • Computer-based and calculator-based activities are part of core courses.
  • Topics are explored visually, symbolically, and verbally.
  • The capacity to develop problem-solving strategies depends on an accumulated body of knowledge.
These principles are addressed in the integrated curricula of the courses. Placement tests are used to determine the appropriate level of math class for each incoming student. The program also offers opportunities for advanced work, including AP Calculus, AP Statistics, and Multivariable Calculus. Math Club, open to all interested students, meets regularly to share ideas and investigate problems beyond the scope of the normal curriculum. Math Club also provides opportunities for students to prepare for local and national mathematics competitions.

List of 7 items.

  • Math 1

    This course develops foundational problem solving skills, the translation of prose into mathematical equations and diagrams, oral and written presentations of mathematical processes, and deep mathematical intuition. Topics from algebra and geometry are integrated and include: conversions and rates, proportional reasoning, area and perimeter, linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, and coordinate geometry. A heavy emphasis on algebra skills supports the problem solving.
  • Math 2

    In this course, topics include algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Building a repertoire of skills as they progress, students learn techniques and theorems through problem-solving. Collaborative study helps students develop their ability to reflect on and explain mathematical processes clearly. Topics covered include: lines, polygons and vectors, circles and parabolas, and right triangle trigonometry. Similarity and congruence are studied through the lens of transformations. An investigation of linear motion leads to the use of parameters and consideration of optimal paths of travel.
  • Math 3 and 3i

    This course explores nonlinear motion and nonlinear functions: circular motion and the functions that describe it, ellipses and hyperbolas, exponential and logarithmic functions, dot products and matrices, and geometry on the surface of the Earth. Advanced trigonometric techniques are introduced early, and trigonometry is a recurring theme throughout the year.  Logarithms are used to straighten nonlinear data and matrices are used to describe geometric transformations and various patterns of growth. This course is offered at two different levels. 
  • Math 4 and 4i

    This course builds on the foundation of function and trigonometry from earlier courses and continues into introductory calculus. Analysis topics include: sequences and series, vectors, polar and parametric functions, and complex numbers. Topics from discrete math include combinatorics and probability. Trigonometry topics include sum/difference formulas and trigonometric identities. Vector topics include the dot product and its applications. Calculus topics include limits, first and second derivatives of the basic functions, applications to maxima and minima, and rates of change. This course is offered at two different levels.
  • Math 5 and 5i (AP Calculus AB and BC)

    These yearlong courses cover differential and integral calculus at the college level. Calculus AB is the basic course, covering techniques and applications of derivatives and integrals. It prepares students for the “AB” AP Calculus Exam. Calculus BC covers the same material along with other topics, such as infinite series, differential equations, and recursion. This course prepares students for the “BC” AP Calculus Exam.
  • Math 6 (Multivariable Calculus)

    This course extends the concepts of differentiation and integration, that are introduced in single variable calculus, to functions of more than one variable. Students study parametric curves, polar coordinates, vectors in two- and three-dimensions, partial derivatives, the gradient, optimization in more than one variable, line integrals, multiple integrals, and the theorems of Green, Stokes, and Gauss (the divergence theorem). In addition, students will build on the theory of differential equations from their previous math course and study first order differential equations, second order constant coefficient linear equations, Fourier series, and Laplace transform. To be eligible for this course, students must have completed AP Calculus at either level, have an insatiable love of math, and be willing to work very hard.
  • AP Statistics

    Statistics is the art and science of collecting, organizing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. This course focuses on four major themes: exploratory data analysis, designing studies, probability models and simulation, and statistical inference. Students design, administer, and tabulate results from surveys and experiments. Sampling distributions provide the logical structure for confidence intervals and hypothesis tests. Students use a TI-83/84 graphing calculator, JMP statistical software, and web-based Java applets to investigate statistical concepts. This course is recommended for anyone who is interested in any field that uses data, including the sciences, engineering, social sciences, or business studies. 

Computer Science

College Prep’s Computer Science offerings provide students a diverse set of opportunities to explore different aspects of Computer Science. Students who are new to CS may take two introductory courses. The first is a broad survey of software, hardware, and communications; the history, evolution, and latest developments in the field; computer science’s theoretical foundations and fields of study; and a light introduction to programming. The other introductory course is a deep dive into programming, developing proficiency in a single language (Python) while also building a foundation in the general constructs of programming languages. In the department’s advanced-level project-based course, students apply their programming skills to build embedded system prototypes using microcontrollers such as Arduinos and Raspberry Pis, sensors, and other electronics.

List of 3 items.

  • Engineering, Electronics, and Design

    This is a project-based course for juniors and seniors interested in learning how to build things. The class begins with the elements of design thinking. No design is perfect the first time; we will learn from our mistakes and from observing the users of our designs. A large component of the class will be learning how to solve problems as they arise. Students will work on mini-projects that build in complexity throughout the semester. The goal of the early individual projects will be building skills using the tools of the xLab, learning basic electronics, and how to program the Arduino micro-controller. The course focuses on mechatronics: the intersection of mechanical and electrical engineering. Many of the projects will be centered on the Arduino—learning to tie together various input devices (e.g., switches, light sensors, temperature sensors, distance sensors, etc.) and output devices (e.g., motors, speakers, LEDs, LCDs, etc.). As students gain proficiency, projects will become more open-ended and group-oriented and will include regular design critiques to improve each iteration of a project as well as to share knowledge.
  • CS1: Computer Science Foundations

    In this course students demystify how computers work, learn how data can be manipulated and moved around the world, and  gain basic proficiency in a programming language. A variety of topics and skills will be introduced through classroom discussions and hands-on labs and projects. The course will explore Python  as a primary language to gain a foundational framework of what programming is and how it works. Students will showcase their skills through a series of collaborative and creative projects. This course satisfies the prerequisite for CS2.
  • CS2: Computer Programming with Python

    Using the Python programming language, this course focuses on fundamental concepts of computer programming: abstraction, algorithms, efficiency, and data manipulation. Its simplicity and readability makes Python an ideal first programming language, and its versatility makes it an excellent choice for a wide variety of applications. Topics include the different variables used in programming and what each is used for, Boolean logic and the use of conditional statements to control the flow of a program, and loops and how to apply recursion to solve problems. Students use functions to perform tasks that break a complex problem into smaller pieces that are easier to solve. The course will introduce Object-Oriented Programming and students will learn how to use objects and classes to provide a clear structure to their code that makes it easier to read, understand, and debug, all of which eases collaboration on a project. Coding skills are honed on a series of challenging individual and group projects. As a final project, students will work in groups to design and create their own text adventure game. This course satisfies the prerequisite for CS3: Advanced Computer Programming (beginning Fall 2021).

Math

List of 8 members.

  • Photo of Robert Cottone

    Robert Cottone 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x234
  • Photo of Francis Frederick

    Francis Frederick 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x234
  • Photo of Shanti Kolluri

    Shanti Kolluri 

    Math /Computer Science Teacher
    510-652-0111 x234
  • Photo of Minh Nguyen

    Minh Nguyen 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x 234
  • Photo of Norm Prokup

    Norm Prokup 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x234
  • Photo of Margot  Schou

    Margot  Schou 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x234
  • Photo of Gretchen Verner

    Gretchen Verner 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x234
  • Photo of Kevin Wray

    Kevin Wray 

    Math Teacher
    510-652-0111 x 234

mens conscia recti

a mind aware of what is right