Over the past two months I have had several conversations with students who want to advance their study of mathematics faster than our academic year schedule allows. First, let me say “Kudos!” to those students – we applaud your interest and determination in mathematics. Secondly, I am happy to say that we offer an independent summer study (ISS) option, which is designed to allow students who are passionate about math advance their studies in math.
When a student comes to me to talk about the possibility of ISS for one of our math courses, I always begin by asking why they are considering such action. This is in no way a leading question – I really want to understand the motivation of each student. I also want to know that each student understands their own motivations. Expressing motivations out loud and with a witness present can be an enlightening experience. I then talk about the advantages and disadvantages of ISS. I encourage students to talk with their current math teacher, who should have some insights to offer after working with them for the past year. I encourage students to talk with their parents about their decision – it’s a big one, and parents will most definitely have some insights and wisdom to offer their aspiring mathematicians. Finally, I like to make sure that students are aware and taking full advantage of the different opportunities to engage with mathematics at SBHS. Those opportunities include Math League, the American Mathematics Competitions, the UVM Prize Exam in Mathematics and the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition Talent Search Competition.
Continue reading “Independent Summer Study in Math”