Added: Rekha Billips - Date: 23.12.2021 05:11 - Views: 38457 - Clicks: 6903
If you're a human and see this, please ignore it. If you're a scraper, please click the link below :- Note that clicking the link below will block access to this site for 24 hours. It touts itself as the key to helping your child get a leg up at school and presumably into college.
Is this just the latest case of wealthy suburbanites keeping up with the Joneses, or has a Russian woman in Newton figured out a better way to teach to American kids? Russian School of Mathematics cofounder Inessa Rifkin started teaching kids extra math at her dining room table in Newton more than 20 years ago. Today, the program has 40, students in 53 schools in 12 states, Washington, DC, and Canada, in addition to a booming online program. On a January afternoon at the Russian School of Mathematics headquarters, a 6,square-foot bilevel brick building in a Newton corporate office park, Inessa Rifkin le 15 excitable third and fourth graders through a lesson on graphs.Poor Girl in a Billionaires' School
She is in her sixties and chic in a blue-gray tunic over a crisp white button-down, skinny black pants, and a Tiffany-style silver pearl necklace. When she asks a question, her Russian accent unflinching, more than half of the students put their hands in the air.
Not a single one has a cell phone on his or her desk. Inessa Rifkin estimates that one in four elementary students in Lexington is enrolled in her after-school program; the majority of kids start in second grade and continue through at least eighth, though many go all the way through high school. Back then, she held classes around her dining room table, and the neighbors complained about the lines of cars coming and going.
Ten thousand students? From where? A decade later, Russian Math is nothing short of a phenomenon.
Rifkin and Khavinson have been approached by eager VCs several times over the past 20 years to invest or buy them out and have turned down every offer. Critics say it has questionable academic value to children and is focused more on accelerating students than deepening their understanding of the material. Some see RSM as less of a mathematical miracle and more of an example of savvy marketing colliding headlong into suburban parental panic. Such behavior can put even more pressure on kids who are already feeling unprecedented levels of anxiety—and on parents to keep up with one another, either for perception or for something to talk about at dinner parties.
Newton mother of three Marcela Almeida, whose oldest child started at RSM in third grade, her middle child in first, and her youngest in kindergarten, found herself smack dab in the middle of the rapidly accelerating suburban mathematical arms race. Irina Khavinson worked as a math teacher for 15 years in St. Petersburg before teaming up with Rifkin to found the Russian School of Mathematics.
She got a job as a mechanical engineer at Kronos, a maker of labor-management software. Ilya was in eighth grade when Rifkin says she started to question his motivation in school. His grades were fine, but not great; she assumed he was being lazy. He did not know things I thought he should know by then. Rifkin started talking to other parents. But not much is offered to him. The kids seemed to respond, and she began to think of ways to offer lessons to even more students, envisioning a structured program with teachers who would demand respect from their students and a math curriculum that would make learning fun—and effective.
Her first step: Find a teacher. In response, a few people told her that somebody told them that somebody had mentioned a woman named Irina. Then 47, Khavinson had been a math teacher for 15 years in St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad.
Six hundred people showed up, mostly Russian-Jewish immigrants. Rifkin stood before them and presented her idea for the Russian School of Mathematics. She talked about building a community based on a common need, a place where kids could learn math and play together, and parents could get acquainted with one another.
To them, Rifkin says, math is what puts minds in order. One Newton mom, Olga Dadasheva, stood up and said she recognized the problem, but asked what made Rifkin think she was the one who could solve it. Dadasheva, who arrived in the U.
You have to work very hard and get great marks. That night at the temple in Wellesley, Rifkin and Khavinson convinced 60 students to commit, all children of Russian immigrants. Once RSM students and their peers started to see the edge they had over the other kids in school, and the confidence that resulted, more kept coming—Russian students, but also children of Chinese and Indian and European immigrants, too.
By FebruaryRifkin had quit her job at Kronos, and by September of that year, RSM had enrolled students and moved to its first commercial location on Beacon Place in Newton, a two-room space on the second floor, over a hair salon. InRifkin took out a home equity loan to buy a small white house with blue shutters on busy Centre Street, onto which her husband installed a large that read, The Russian School of Mathematics. It was all the advertising they needed, Rifkin says. In no time, the first Americans started showing up.
Biotech entrepreneur Heidi Wyle was one of them. She and her husband had moved to Weston for the good public schools, she says, but teachers were not teaching math the way she thought they should. Wyle was instrumental in introducing RSM to her circle of high-powered, highly educated friends, which included several parents who were professors at Harvard and MIT.
Teacher Irena Burmistrovich instructs a classroom full of engaged students. From the start, Rifkin and Khavinson developed the RSM curriculum in-house, taking some of what Rifkin had used to teach Ilya and some of what Khavinson had used with her students, and then put the first round of tuition payments they received into further developing the coursework.
Advanced concepts, such as algebra, were introduced as early as first grade, using age-appropriate approaches and lots of visuals, because according to Rifkin and Khavinson, studies show that kids who learn algebra at an early age have better cognitive development overall. They encourage students to reach calculus by 10th or 11th grade. Math for us is not to become a mathematician, but to become a good thinker.
Wyle, whose kids had also tried the math-enrichment program Kumon but quickly lost interest, remembers being impressed the first time she took her then-first grader to sit in on an RSM class. And underneath one kid, there might be the seven, and underneath the other kid and a weight is a five. Their whole approach was built around seeing the math, and I myself could sort of see quantum mechanics by the time that class was over. They were teaching kids to see and understand.
Not just do. Most important, students seem to like it. Newton mom Ellen Chu and her husband initially enrolled their daughter in RSM because she told them she hated math. This year, she started her first year of college at Oxford, majoring in math and computer science. She has to go to the other level.
They enjoy their smartness tremendously. Not everyone is convinced, though, that there is anything particularly special going on at Russian Math, other than kids spending four hours a week—or more—working on arithmetic. Part of the RSM sales pitch, Star says, is that its coursework engages students more, and differently, than their normal school curriculum.
What Star suspects is really going on is that Russian Math is merely teaching kids the same math they learn in their regular curriculum, just earlier and faster—which he says is pretty low-hanging fruit in the world of math education. Meanwhile, Hilary Kreisberg, director of the Center for Math Achievement at Lesley University and a former fifth-grade teacher turned math coach, says her experiences with RSM students have led her to question the claim that Russian Math focuses more on developing a deep understanding of math instead of memorization.
In fact, she has seen the opposite. Many parents, though, love the accelerated curriculum and feel it gives their kids an edge, not just in high school but in the ever more competitive quest for admission to an elite university. And for what? Parents of RSM students note with pride that their kids are two or three years ahead of their peers. Now that range—and the challenge—is far bigger. They just want to get to the answer because they can. I have a harder time teaching those students than any other students that I work with.
In the worst cases, the Russian Math kids are rude and disrespectful to their teachers.
Chu recalls hearing her daughter describe a situation at her high school in which RSM students were constantly correcting and criticizing their regular school teacher. Kreisberg views the popularity of Russian Math as representative of a general lack of respect for teachers. Because we had RSM. At the same time, many RSM parents and students seem to expect teachers to teach to their accelerated level, and at least some schools seem to be complying.
According to RSM, Newton South has added new courses and additional levels of math or provided RSM kids with extra homework in order to keep these kids engaged and their parents happy. Rubio says one of her daughters was separated out of class for a year. RSM also says that other towns, including Weston and Winchester, are taking more-extreme measures. They have started specifically asking parents to refrain from enrolling their children in the Russian School of Mathematics, something that only seems to spark more ire among parents—and which gets tricky when teachers from those districts are spotted dropping off their own kids there.
None of the schools mentioned in this article, nor many others contacted for this story, responded to repeated requests for comment.Russian girl in my class
email: [email protected] - phone:(850) 304-3848 x 1041
Russian girl with 7 years of experience in teaching gives Russian language lessons in Leeds and online