Throughout the 2015-16 school year, J-STEM has been running an after school program at Sager Solomon Schechter Day School. The program, called Beast Academy, is targeted toward 3rd graders and the curriculum is the precursor to the material taught to kids on the math team. It is presented in comic-book style, and the kids report that it's fun to learn.
The Beast Academy program does not attempt to teach 4th grade material to third graders; rather, it is keyed to the units that students are learning in their regular classes, and simply takes those concepts further.
For the 2016-17 school year, we plan to expand this program to other grades and other schools. We are also working to sponsor coaches for the schools' math teams, taking advantage of economies of scale among the schools, easing the financial burden of these programs, and working with the schools to find the best possible coaches, whether from within the faculty or from outside.
Originally, when we conceived the program, we envisioned that possibly four or five students would be interested. Information sent out to parents and students made clear that the program would teach advanced concepts and require extra homework. To our surprise, fourteen students signed up, and they have been working hard to bring their mathematics understanding to a new level.
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