The R-MA math teachers are a dedicated group who quietly go about doing their work each day. They don't need to brag; the facts speak for themselves:
R-MA competes in the Virginia Mathematics League, a monthly contest that is taken in the classroom.
R-MA finished third in its region and 21st place in the state, competing against 90 public and private schools in Virginia. The team was lead by Yibo Ma ’10 who was tied for 20th in the individual rankings of over 500 students who competed in the contest.
- Within the last few years, several students have scored 800 on math on the SATs as well as on the subject test (SAT II)!
- Students who excelled at math at R-MA are currently at Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University.
One of the great benefits of an R-MA education is the students have the flexibility to go as far as they are able in math, even at an extremely accelerated level. In addition, there is individualized placement, and a constant evaluation to ensure the students are placed where they belong. There are honors courses at every level and two AP classes, with more students in AP calculus than any other AP class within the school. In conjunction with these two AP courses, students can earn 5 hours of college credit from Shenandoah University.
The hope of every R-MA math teacher is that their students learn to enjoy math. "Part of what you hope to instill is not just knowledge but an appreciation of it," explains Eric Barr, the department head. To this end, students don't just come to class and work on math problems. They experience math.
Mr. Barr chooses a "Mathematician of the Month," and teaches about that person's life and how he/she influenced the world we live in today. "I like tying the history of math to what we're doing," says Mr. Barr. "It's not just facts and figures, but people's ideas and lives." Learning about the mathematicians' lives helps put their ideas into appropriate perspectives and time frames, giving students a new appreciation for the math they are learning.
All of the R-MA math teachers select a "Math Student of the Month." The students' names are displayed out on bulletin board. The Student of the Month selections are based on aptitude, attitude, and improvement. It is used as a motivational tool for students. All of the teachers strive to integrate technology into the classroom experience as well, whether through SMART Boards or other venues.