Back To School Night Letter / Slides

Back to School Night 

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

I am thrilled to (re)introduce myself as your child’s mathematics teacher and look forward to meeting many of you on Back to School Night.


By way of background, I recently changed careers, having worked in the investment world for 17 years.  Prior to that, I graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Finance, and earned an MBA from Columbia University.  I finished my latest schooling, earning an MA in Teaching from Simmons College with a focus on middle school mathematics in 2010.  I spent the fall of 2009 student-teaching math to seventh and eighth grade students here in Brookline at the Lincoln School.  This will be my tenth year as Runkle's 7th and 8th grade math teacher. 


Highlights of the 7th grade curriculum include work with linear relationships, signed numbers, probability, solving multi-step equations, three dimensional geometry, and ratios and proportions.  These concepts represent a move for students from the concrete, operations-based mathematics they see in earlier grades, toward the more abstract math they will be seeing in high school.

Highlights of the 8th grade curriculum include work with linear relationships, exponential variation, inequalities, probability, transformational geometry and systems of equations, and non-linear relationships.  Decisions regarding placement in high school mathematics will take place during the spring, and your child’s effort and achievement this year will play a key role in that decision making process.


We will focus on habits that are paramount to a student’s success in high school.  The first such habit would be coming to class on time and prepared, with all materials in hand for the day’s study.  We will stress maintaining an organized, up-to-date notebook and overall organizational skills.  Completing homework in a careful, diligent manner will be another key to success.  Not completing homework, or completing it hurriedly, will leave your child at a disadvantage in the classroom.  He or she will be unprepared for the next day’s lesson and not ready to move forward with the other students.  In addition, as we will often be working collaboratively in pairs or groups, an unprepared student will subtract from the learning of others.  Therefore, it would be supportive to ask your child to show you his or her completed homework assignment on an occasional basis.

If your student is routinely spending more than an hour to complete the homework, please let me know.  I understand that students have other homework and out-of-school activities and I am willing to make accommodations where appropriate.


Grades will be based on homework (25%), classwork (10%), and tests/quizzes/projects (65%).  If a student does poorly on an exam, I allow a “retest”, as long as the student comes to me beforehand for help to ensure better performance.


If a student is absent from school, he or she is still responsible for the material. Students must get missed homework assignments from a classmate or from my website: and see me to review missed lessons.  For one-day absences, homework will be due the day after a return to class.  For extended absences, students should see me to schedule due dates.

Extra Help

I am available for extra help before school nearly every day and most days during lunch and after school. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities for extra help.


I’ve set up a website at:

The website has a homework calendar for each grade, with daily assignments posted.  This can be useful to parents/guardians who wish to monitor their student’s homework.  The site also has videos that explain how to do many of the types of problems we cover in Algebra.  These videos have proved helpful both to students and to parents and guardians who want to help their students but may be far removed from some of the math.  In addition, the site contains links to other websites that students will find useful if they have trouble with homework.  Perhaps most useful, students will find slides on the site that I use for our classroom lessons.  The slides are NOT a substitute for taking notes during appropriate times, but should relieve anxiety about copying down every last word and example.


If at any time during the coming months you have questions or concerns about your child’s progress, I invite you to contact me at so that we may make an appointment to speak.  My official office hours will be Tuesdays from 7:25-7:55am, but I will make myself available by appointment at other times as well.

I very much look forward to working with you and your students to ensure that this school year is a rewarding and productive one for all.

Best Regards, 

Eric Lass

Mathematics Teacher 7/8

Runkle School

Eric Lass,
Sep 25, 2019, 3:08 PM