The mission of the Math Corps in Philadelphia is to help as many of Philadelphia’s children as possible realize their own greatness – providing them with the care, love, and support that all kids need, and empowering them with the kinds of educational and lifetime opportunities that all kids deserve.
The goal of the Math Corps is to ensure that every child, while cared for and supported in the present, goes on to graduate from high school, fully prepared to succeed in college or other rewarding post-secondary endeavor, and having the utmost confidence in their own ability to build a good and decent life for themselves and others.
The Math Corps is guided by a six-part philosophy that filters through all of its programs:
A Sense of Family
From the outset, students are made to feel important, that they belong to something special, and that staff truly cares about them as individuals. The structure and nature of the program cultivates strong big-brother/big-sister relationships among students at all three levels – middle school, high school, and college.
High Standards and Expectations
All students are expected to meet high academic standards regardless of past performance. Rigorous demands are placed on students concerning discipline, attendance, punctuality, and the completion of daily homework assignments. Students learn to behave in a manner appropriate to the college setting. The importance of hard work and academic success is stressed constantly and achievement is publicly acknowledged on a daily basis. Success becomes the rule, not the exception.
Math, Math, Math
Mathematics is viewed as paramount and the notion that mathematics can be interesting and even fun is espoused and accepted. Beyond regular classroom instruction, mathematics is presented via games, competitions, investigations, art, music, special projects, and computer – based activities. While some applications to areas such as art, science and finance are presented to help the students learn and enjoy the material, no special time is taken to justify mathematics through the teaching of other subjects.
Challenge Rather Than Remediation
As a result of the program, students view mathematics as a sense-making activity at which they are quite capable. Meeting challenges and demanding more is a hallmark of our work.
Learning in Groups and through Exploration and Discovery
With a strong emphasis on mathematical problem solving and exploration, student activities incorporate group learning, open discussion, and cooperation with one another. The cooperative aspect is strengthened by the use of a team approach and the promotion of a family atmosphere.
Students Teaching Students
Students at each level interact with others who are further along in mathematics. Learning is two-way. Younger students learn from older students who become role models and who support them in ways that go well beyond academics. Older students, through their tutoring and mentoring, deepen their own understanding of mathematics and, more importantly, realize the huge positive impact they have on their students. Their self-esteem goes up and they gain greater self-efficacy.