Last summer I had the great pleasure of visiting the Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving (SPMPS), a 3-week residential math enrichment program for rising 8th graders from schools in which at least 75% of the students qualify for free lunch. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this program, and strongly believe it should serve as a model for many outreach initiatives across the country. This program is a big deal: it was even featured in the New York Times. Why do I love SPMPS so much? Here are just a few reasons:
- SPMPS provides enrichment opportunities to outstanding, mathematically gifted, and mathematically motivated students who are robbed of pursuing their passions because of lack of resources, lack of finances, or lack of community support. I faced this issue both as an elementary and a high school student, and it wasn’t until a teacher recognized my interests that I was able to attend a similar program. Without it, I would not be where I am today.
- For many attendees of the program, the 3-week experience is their first time entrenched in an academic environment on a university campus. Moreover, they meet college students, college graduates, and faculty members from different universities throughout the program. This exposes the students to the possibilities that are out there.
- One aspect I love about SPMPS above all is the program’s continued investment in the students outside of the camp program. Tutoring programs and New York High School entrance exam prep is provided by the program executive body.
I can’t emphasize enough how transformative an experience this program is for the students, and how much I wished such a program existed where I grew up when I was a rising 8th grader. Teaching at SPMPS was a great joy, and I highly recommend it as an outreach initiative to get involved in!
The program is currently looking for Instructors and Residential Counselors for the 2014 summer program. For more information on how to become involved this summer, see “Jobs At SPMPS”