So I have just been told that I am teaching a new high school class for our recidivist algebra students. The goal of the course is to push them through the IA regents on January 20, 2014, and then give them some nebulous amount of geometry preparation for the second half of the year, with the idea that it will enable these weaker students* to go into a regular one year geometry class (the only kind we offer) next year with a greater hope of success.

It's a bit of a departure for us as a school, because we function on an annualized calendar - no three semester courses here. This is a way of getting around that without having to put students in a full one year remedial algebra class.I am predominantly a geometry teacher, with some other electives. I've taught IA once, and then Math A before that. I'll be looking at jmap and old regents, of course, and going through the Prentice Hall Algebra I text book. But what I would like to ask of the more experienced algebra teachers on this list is the following question:

If you had to teach this one semester class, what are the top choices for topics you would cover? Remember, there is a good chance that there will not be time to cover even half the normal curriculum with this group. So where would you concentrate your attention?

Thank you for any help you can give me as I gear up to help these kids.