in the City: A Gift of Great Math for Gifted Students
really no reason why outstanding New York City high school students
who are interested in a high quality summer program in math and
science should have to be shipped all over the nation. “It was
an untenable situation–but that’s exactly what the case has been
for what seems like forever,” said Daniel Jaye, Assistant Principal
of Mathematics at Stuyvesant High School. “So, a couple of years
ago, I made a commitment to do something about it.”
In turning his dream into reality, Jaye has received invaluable
help from his mentor, Alfred S. Posamentier, the Dean of the School
of Education at The City College of the City University of New
York. “He basically just said, “great idea, why don’t we have
it right here on my campus?,” said Jaye. “And then he helped me
overcome all the obstacles, bureaucratic and otherwise.”
Which were, by the way, plenty.
Al, and his wonderful creativity and energy, I would never have
been a math teacher,” added Jaye. “And without Al, this program
would never have come into existence.” And that would indeed have
been a great pity: 240 of New York’s finest students would have
been deprived of what, in only its second year of existence, is
already considered a stunningly successful effort.
year we had 90 students,” said Jaye. “But the word got out–and
we had to respond to the demand.” In fact, Jaye had to sort through
800 applications over “not much of a Memorial Day Weekend” before
paring the crew down to the “big 240” (140 in math, 60 in science,
and 40 in the new addition of 2002, theater arts).
But what kind of a high school kid would want to sit through such
a demanding course of study for six long weeks smack in the middle
of summer vacation? “Obviously, one who’s very focused, mature,
motivated, and highly interested in the subject matter,” said
Jaye. “You are with your peers–this program has allowed me to
get away from the limitations of the other students, and even
teachers, during the regular school year,” added Mark Xue, a 2001
program participant, and 2002 teaching assistant, from Hunter
College High School. “I’ve learned so much more math.... I feel
so much better prepared for a career.... I can’t even express
how great this has been.”
While Jaye admits to attempting to get the “best kids in the City”,
he was also careful “not to make this some kind of an elitist,
‘just a Stuyvesant, Hunter, Bronx Science’ thing.” Thus, student
participants hail from all kinds of high schools –Forest Hills,
Francis Lewis, Townsend Harris, Aviation, Brooklyn Tech and many
more–from all over the city.
The program, completely free of charge to students, has hired
Larry Zimmerman, David Hamblin, and Steven Conrad–three noted
authors, and also three of the greatest math minds New York has
to offer, as teachers. “It was like hiring the Three Tenors to
teach opera,” gushed the enthusiastic Jaye, himself widely acknowledged
as the leading light among high school math teachers in the City.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to work with those gentlemen.
And, obviously, wonderful for the kids.”
Besides the enormously elevated level of instruction, the students
earn six college credits, get free food and free transportation,
all thanks to the innovative College Now program that was born
out of a rare cooperation between CCNY and the New York City Board
of Education. “We wanted to make the transition to college more
productive,” said Miguel Montes, Acting Director of College Now.
“We wanted to connect the disconnect.”
The course is six weeks in duration, 9:30-4:30 every Monday through
Friday. Along with the intensified instruction in the subject
matter, it also includes a daily “Prime Time Lecture” where all
the students get together at midday–and the subject could be anything.
The deadline for application is May 10, “but, next year, we’d
like to move it up,” Jaye said with a smile. “The word is out–we’re
expecting an avalanche of applications.” #
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