RSM Featured in Article in the Boston Globe

A recent article in the Boston Globe looks at options for Massachusetts parents looking to bolster their children’s math education. RSM is featured through interviews with some of our parents and our founders. It’s an interesting look at what pushes parents to seek after school programs and what alternatives exist in Massachusetts.

The article does not go into what differentiates each program other than to say each pushes children to value hard work and learning. I’ll add to it, that what I believe sets RSM apart is our emphasis on developing critical thinking (especially at an early age) and creating an environment in which to foster it. I think gifted or extremely dedicated children can get there through self paced learning and repetition, but much less frequently and with much greater struggle along the way.

On the environment side, Geoff Epstei, quoted in the article, described best the attitude  around math in America with which we struggle. One major reason Irena and I created the school and focus on the classroom environment is because we felt that if we want to push against popular culture we need to create an environment  in which learning and math are valued.  It’s great to have parents like Geoff at home because he and parents like him help us create the environment that allows our kids to succeed.

One major problem, [Geoff] said, is a pervasive fear and loathing of math among many parents, and even teachers. “There is this attitude we pass on to our kids, ‘We’re not good at math, so it’s OK if you aren’t either,’ ’’ he said.

“But the entire modern work world is based on math, whether a UPS package is delivered efficiently, or whether Google is delivering search results well. It is such a vital component of education, and we are still not close to where we should be,’’ Epstein said.

I think Erica also summed up the school really well.

The school sees itself not as a tutoring service, but rather a community organization with an academic atmosphere. It requires students to commit to regular attendance and homework assignments, and is based on a curriculum still widely used in Russia and many other former Eastern bloc countries

The only thing I would add is that Irena and I worked hard to integrate a Russian methodology with an American culture we’ve embraced. Over the last 13 years we’ve seen as result of that marriage,  a great track record to show that the combination of the curriculum, the teachers, and the community really do work to deliver the results: our graduates are at the top of their classes, can compete at the international level but are also able to have great extracurriculars and be well integrated into their schools.

Please read the article and let me know what you think.
http://www.boston.com/yourtown/newton/articles/2010/10/21/newtons_russian_school_and_kumon_classes_prepare_math_students/?

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By: Mrs_Rifkin   Mrs_Rifkin

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