Episcopal students in all divisions are thriving in math. Here are just a few recent examples:
What’s the secret to this success?
“It’s a combination of a lot of things” says Upper School math department chair Stephen Anderson. He points to a coordinated approach to math, highly qualified, caring staff and students with a passion for learning.
Episcopal’s coordinated approach to learning math begins in Lower School where young students are introduced to math fundamentals using Singapore Math. Singapore Math is based on the most proven and effective research on instruction and student learning with problem solving at the heart of the framework. The pedagogy of Singapore Math is concrete to pictorial to abstract. This allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught, learning both the “why” and the “how.” Students develop a strong foundation through this philosophy, enabling them to make sense of their work rather than just memorizing and repeating.
This approach to learning helps students transition well to more advanced concepts in Middle School. Anderson says math faculty coordinate with each other to ensure that students are prepared for the learning ahead of them. At Episcopal, math preparation is personalized with a range of options from appropriately challenging math courses to competitive math teams.
The Middle School MathCounts team is a great avenue for motivated, passionate math students to pursue their interests. This year’s team advanced to the state competition for the first time in many years, earning a second place finish. Team members dedicated countless hours to preparing for competitions, which Anderson says is remarkable. “There were 25 Middle School students doing math on Fridays at 3:30 pm,” he says. Anderson congratulates MathCounts coach James Moroney for his part in making this year’s team successful. He says opportunities like MathCounts and Mu Alpha Theta show the math faculty’s commitment to supporting and serving students and not simply “cranking out a grade.”
Episcopal’s formula for math learning makes math enjoyable for students and faculty. In speaking with Anderson about recent student accomplishments, it’s obvious that he is proud of the students and excited to see their math talents develop. There are also long-term benefits to this type of learning. For example, Anderson says qualifying for AIME is not trivial. “These students are definitely helping themselves, especially if they are looking at STEM schools” for college.
Perhaps what’s even more remarkable than students doing math problems on a Friday after school or students taking college level courses is the fact that these students are multi-dimensional. “You don’t have to just be a math kid,” says Anderson. He points out that at Episcopal students can pursue advanced math, while also exploring art, drama and athletics. Anderson says being able to explore a range of interests is simply “the hallmark of the Episcopal experience.”
Congratulations to our recent math achievers!