Mathematics & Computer Science

The Overlake Mathematics and Computer Science Department delivers a rigorous curriculum which provides students with the foundations necessary for college as well as 21st century careers. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are emphasized throughout our modern, streamlined curriculum. Overlake Math and Computer Science teachers ensure that our students develop an understanding of both the computational skills and theory in all concepts that are presented; we care about not just the “how” in mathematics, but also the “why.”

Mathematics Program

In the Middle School, students work together in a differentiated math classroom as a single community in 5th and 6th grade. In 7th and 8th grade, students are placed into either a 2-year Algebra sequence or a 2-year Algebra/Geometry sequence. All Overlake Middle School students leave 8th grade with a rigorous course in Algebra, and all Upper School students have the opportunity to explore math electives, such as Calculus, Statistics, Linear Algebra, or Discrete Math, by their senior year.

In the Upper School, students will complete (or will have already completed prior to admission) a traditional progression of Geometry and Algebra 2.  After this point, students will have the choice between several paths of electives (see Mathematics and Computer Science Department Program Map). 

Most of the Upper School Math courses have two tracks: Traditional or Honors/AP. Students are placed in the Traditional or Honors/AP course based upon teacher recommendations as well as student interest. Both tracks cover the foundational material required for success in college mathematics and 21st century careers. Honors and AP (Advanced Placement) courses are intended for students who show special interest and aptitude in math. To earn a placement in an Honors/AP course, students must demonstrate the ability to master concepts quickly, be independent learners, and perform at the top level in prerequisite courses. Honors/AP courses are significantly more challenging than the Traditional courses and demand more from students in terms of homework, independent study skills, and intellectual focus. Placement in the Honors/AP track one year does not guarantee the same placement the following year, and students may transition between the two tracks at any point in the program.  Both mathematics tracks are considered highly rigorous by colleges and universities, and students should consider their own interests, course load, and extra-curricular demands when evaluating the pros and cons of each track.

Computer Science Program

There are opportunities for students with any level of experience in computer science and programming to explore and enrich their understanding of these subjects at The Overlake School. “Computer Science Foundations” and “Computer Science Principles” are introductory courses for middle-school and high-school students, respectively. No prior computer science knowledge is expected; in fact, we work to prioritize access for students with no background in programming.  AP Computer Science A is offered in the high school, and while no previous programming experience is required, students with any level of background are welcome to take the course. For Upper School students, we also offer a wide array of electives in computer science topics, from mobile app development to data visualization.

For more information on course sequencing, please see the Mathematics and Computer Science Department Program Map.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from The Overlake School, students must earn a minimum of three credits in core Math courses (Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus, Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, Linear Algebra, Discrete Math) in the Upper School. Almost all recent Overlake graduates have completed four or more credits in Math. Students who have completed high-school-level mathematics courses in Middle School (either at Overlake or another school) cannot use those courses towards graduation and must still earn three Math credits in the Upper School. Computer Science courses are not core math courses and may not be used to satisfy the mathematics graduation requirements.

The Overlake School offers a Summer Accelerated Geometry course for current or incoming Upper School students who have completed their first course of Algebra. At this time, this is the only accelerated course we allow for students in our program. This accelerated course does not count towards the graduation requirement and is only intended to allow students to reach advanced electives such as Calculus by their senior year however, students will receive a grade for the course, and it will appear on the student’s high school transcript.

The Mathematics Department believes in the quality of our courses and teachers. Students are not allowed to accelerate or test out of courses once they are placed in an upper school math course. Per school policy, no non-Overlake course credit will be accepted for graduation or acceleration purposes without prior approval from the department chair and Upper School Head. This happens only on exceedingly rare occasions, when a student has extenuating circumstances that prevent them from following our prescribed curriculum.

Students wishing to engage in extra math outside their classwork or over their breaks are encouraged to engage with enrichment programs, either locally or otherwise. Our teachers are happy to provide them with such resources and program listings.