Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is increasing the number of middle school students enrolled in the Elements of Mathematics: Foundations (EMF) curriculum from 40 to several hundred students over the next several years. EMF was created for mathematically talented children by the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS), an independent teaching and educational research institute based in South Florida.
EMF is an online curriculum that teaches pre-algebra through pre-calculus plus several more advanced subjects in just three years. Graduates will be ready to study Advanced Placement calculus in ninth grade. The program also happens to cover Florida's math standards for sixth, seventh and eighth grades, which allows BCPS to offer EMF as a complete math curriculum for the District’s middle school students.
"BCPS wants our students to have the very best preparation in mathematical thinking and complex problem-solving," explains Guy Barmoha, Director of the Math, Science, and Gifted Department for BCPS. "The EMF pilot was a success, and the self-study, online format makes it relatively easy to scale up, even for a large school district like ours." Schools and districts interested in using EMF should contact IMACS directly.
A survey of current BCPS/EMF parents found the following:
- 100% of respondents said that their child's focus, study skills, and ability to analyze complex problems have improved since beginning EMF.
- 92% believe that EMF has made their child more ready for high school and college mathematics.
- 92% report that their child enjoys doing EMF and finds EMF challenging.
Nearly 90% of last year's BCPS/EMF class of sixth graders elected to continue in seventh grade. Wendy Diaz, whose son will continue, has seen EMF ignite a passion for learning within him: "Corbin comes home excited to see what is next in EMF. He absolutely wants to excel at everything now that he has seen how much fun it can be to learn."
More than 70 incoming sixth graders hope to qualify for the program this fall. Matt and Amy Kaufman, whose daughter Olivia will continue in the program, understand why: "EMF provides an avenue for children to stretch themselves mathematically. The feeling of accomplishment our daughter has received bolstered her confidence and has her ready for whatever comes her way."
With EMF, talented children can study college-level math such as Number Theory, Abstract Algebra and Probability & Statistics. "EMF teaches very advanced mathematical concepts, yet the presentation and problem sets are designed in a way that allows middle school kids to learn the material online," noted Maxim Chekmasov, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and whose son Andrei is in the program.
"BCPS has done an admirable job with its current gifted math program," said IMACS president Terry Kaufman. "Still, there are some kids who need an even greater challenge. I appreciate the trust that the BCPS has put in IMACS to provide a world-class education for its students and am thrilled that many more will benefit from EMF in the coming years."
The Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS) is an independent teaching and educational research institute with centers in South Florida, North Carolina, St. Louis, and Connecticut. Over 4,500 students from across the US and around the world attend local IMACS classes or study its online courses. For more information, visit imacs.org or elementsofmathematics.com.
About Broward County Public Schools
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida's first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has over 265,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 238 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 103 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 208 different countries and speak 181 different languages. For more information about BCPS, visit browardschools.com.