SPMPS June Update

Yesterday was the student and family lunch for the Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving, and we have an absolutely phenomenal group of students this summer.  We carefully set a tone of serious academic study combined with great fun, and the students are very excited about what they’ll be doing.  You can follow the events on the SPMPS summer blog being maintained by Ana Portnoy.

The rest of this post is an e-mail that I send informally to supporters and other people interested in SPMPS.  If you’re interested in receiving these updates, drop me a line.  Future e-mails will be duplicated here as well.

Dear friends of the Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving,

The past months have been incredibly exciting as we’ve met about 115 students from across the city who have interviewed for SPMPS.  The selection process is done, and most of the students have confirmed that they’ll be attending this summer.  We’ll have 40 students, more than twice as many as last year, all coming from schools where 75% or more receive free or reduced-price lunch.  I can say from having interviewed many of the students myself that they are really outstanding kids.

Last summer was documented in a fantastic video produced (pro bono!) by Big Green TV.  It will be broadcast on July 8 at 10:30pm on WMHT, public television for New York’s capital region.  Take a look!

Before I get to more updates, I’d like to invite all of you to visit this summer.  We’re very happy to show visitors the program especially during weeks 2 and 3, pending availability.  If you’re interested, just reply to this e-mail.  The dates would be any time July 17-27.  Visitors are welcome to sit in on classes, participate in activities, eat meals with us, and meet some of the staff.  Also, if you’d be interested in giving a one-hour math talk to the kids, let me know.

With that, here’s some of the news on our end:

  • We are very pleased to announce a $100,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to support our expansion this summer and the future success of our students.  You can read more about this grant and the other wonderful programs that received funding on their website.   Combined with support from the American Mathematical Society’s Epsilon fund and many generous individual donors, we have been able to fully fund our work this summer.
  • We extended our partnerships this year to 18 schools across the city.  The schools are primarily non-charter public schools, and they also include several charter schools (such as KIPP: STAR and Promise Academy II in the Harlem Childrens’ Zone).  Our students are focused in the Bronx and Harlem, with several from other parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
  • Our summer staff is hired: top instructors and amazing college students who are stepping up to help underserved kids with mathematical talent.
  • Students from our first summer are going on to high school!  We’ve heard from some students who are going on to private schools on scholarship, and others who are continuing to a variety of public schools including specialized schools such as Brooklyn Tech.

Two last notes for you all.  First of all, we’re still looking for a strong Associate Director who can help run the program and direct a site in the future.  If you know of someone who might be interested, please put them in touch with me.  Second, a number of factors prevented the launch our mentoring program to pair program alumni with volunteers to mentor them in studying mathematics and finding additional opportunities, but we are expecting to fully implement the program after this summer.  If you know of mentors who might be interested or could forward along an e-mail to potential mentors, please let me know!

Over the next year, I will continue to send out periodic updates to those that have expressed an interest in our program.  I’m not using any special software to send them out, so if you would rather not get these e-mails, just let me know and I’ll stop cc’ing you.

Have a wonderful week and thank you all for your support!  I hope to see many of you this summer.