Members of the George School Math Department tackled the challenge to redefine their curriculum to closely tailor an academic experience to the needs of each individual student. Inspired by the flexibility of the 7-term schedule and the Signature Academic Program, they have been drafting and re-drafting, breaking into small workgroups to tackle different parts of the curriculum, coming back and fitting the pieces together, and looking at the whole experience integrally.
“For some students that means options for deeper, further math offerings; for others that means being able to tack a bit more towards applied mathematics; for others that means access and exposure to mathematics they might not have otherwise seen,” said Hamilton Davis, Math department faculty member. “The hope is that we can work to chart a pathway through our course offerings that meets the needs and interests of each student.”
Some of the new offerings will include Data Analysis, IB HL Applications, a tax prep class and service opportunity, and Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) and its Role in Algebraic Computation. The FFT course will be taught by a new Math Department member Guan Koay.
“Data Analysis is a post stats class that will ask students to develop their own project, find data, research, write and take a deep dive into some area of the student’s interest. This could be in just about any area of interest such as ‘why are people 4 times more likely to be incarcerated if they are born in this zip code vs. that zip code?’ or an analysis of big data in climate change.” Said Kevin Moon, Math Department head. “Students can take this course more than once.”
The department will offer every International Baccalaureate (IB) math course. “For a school this small, it is very impressive that we can offer that,” said Hamilton. The department also offers every Advanced Placement math course and thanks to the flexible schedule, additional courses will include a range of rich, engaging, project-oriented data science options.
In fact, several of the Math Department faculty are completing professional development courses to best incorporate programming and coding in the statistics and data science options, spearheaded by Julia Nickles ’03, Math Department faculty member. These advanced classes will help students understand how data analysis and statistics are used in the current-day real world and give them a jump-start on university studies.
“We are inspired by our students who have come to George School better prepared and interested in math,” said Kevin. “I’m constantly impressed by our Math Team and the awards our students win during national and international competitions. This year, several students launched a mathematics, science, and arts magazine called MATES, and on top of that I am working with a student who is doing amazing research for her IB work.”