Monthly Archives: July 2014

Wrapping up SummerPrep and BSHS 2014

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As the summer semester comes to a close, MATs, students, and families alike have celebrated another successful summer of SummerPrep and Brown Summer High School. After three weeks of SummerPrep, students showcased their work in an Exhibition Day. Families were invited to visit students in their classrooms and hear about the projects they had worked on throughout the summer, which ranged from engineering walls to sharing their bravest moments to building model communities.

Brown Summer High School students also shared final projects from their classes in various exhibitions. BSHS Science classes created sustainable urban designs for Providence, which they described in a poster session attended by Rhode Island officials from the Department of Education, Public Transit Authority, and Providence Plan. Students also had an opportunity to share their work and experiences through live performances in a final BSHS assembly.

After an active summer filled with practicum teaching, methods, and literacy classes, our MAT cohorts are still busy completing their summer coursework and preparing their digital portfolios. We’re happy to be celebrating another successful summer and are looking forward to the year ahead!


Our second BSHS Math cohort

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This summer marks our second year as a grant recipient from Math for America, which has helped us bring four undergraduate students to teach at Brown Summer High School. Our four BSHS math teachers are students at partner colleges in the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE). We received over twenty applicants for our four math teaching positions this summer. Our math cohort this year hails from Dartmouth College, Gettysburg College, Tufts University, and Wellesley College. Like our MATs, summer math students take discipline-specific methods classes with adjunct professor Ellie Goldberg and summer mentor Erin Escher, recently named the Rhode Island Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science Teaching.

As the summer comes to a close, our math cohort reflects on their teaching experience at Brown Summer High School. We’re thankful they were able to join us and hope to continue our summer math program at Brown Summer High School!

BSHS DarcieDarcie: Before I started this program, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have any experience in a classroom or know much about what being a teacher really involves.  There is so much about teaching that I didn’t know – how to plan a lesson, manage a classroom, or engage a student who isn’t engaged. I hadn’t been faced with any of this until I was in a real classroom with real students, but having this experience with the support of my mentors and fellow math teachers has really given me the chance to explore teaching as a career.

BSHS TomTom: I have really enjoyed the collegiate atmosphere and the deep intellectual respect that this program holds for the teaching profession in general and the challenges of teaching mathematics in particular. I feel like I have been taken seriously as a mathematical thinker as well as a math teacher this summer, and that is an experience that I don’t know if I could have gotten in an equal measure anywhere else. This experience has helped me to affirm my love of teaching, and I hope it will serve as a stepping stone towards the beginning of a teaching career for me.

BSHS MelissaMelissa: I always knew teachers had an impact on people’s lives but did not understand the vast depth of this connection until I had the opportunity to enter the classroom at BSHS. I was not only able to give students tools to develop and expand their mathematical thinking but also give them tools to incorporate into their daily lives. My co-teacher and I took students who said they hated math and showed them they have what it takes to be a true mathematician. People have told me teaching is hard yet rewarding, and they could not be more correct. Many of these students came into the program with a fixed mindset (e.g. “I cannot do math because I am bad at it”) but are leaving with a growth mindset. I am leaving this program with new connections, unforgettable experiences, and a clearer view of what I want to do in the future.

BSHS AnnieAnnie Laurie: From the first few days (spent working on math problems with my colleagues) to this last week (leading our students through their final projects), everyday has been packed with learning moments.  We have been incredibly supported throughout the process; having an experienced mentor teacher in our classroom every day has ensured that no “teachable moment” is passed by.  We are constantly being pushed to take our teaching to the next level, whether in terms of classroom management, setting clear objectives, or using effective questioning.  While no day has ever been perfect – this summer has made me appreciate the complexity of teaching – seeing our classroom come together has been incredible.

Learn more about this year’s BSHS math program through our CETE partner website.

Kicking off SummerPrep & BSHS

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Summer teaching has begun here at the MAT program! Yesterday marked the start of SummerPrep and Brown Summer High School (BSHS), our summer academic enrichment programs for Providence-area students. SummerPrep celebrates its 15th year with 160 students entering grades 2 through 6. Students are grouped by grade across eight classrooms, each named after a World Cup team. Over the next three weeks, SummerPrep students will explore the question, “What does it really take to be successful?” Brown Summer High School, now in its 46th year, has enrolled over 250 high school students with the support of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and the Providence PROMISE initiative. In classrooms with a range of 9th through 12th graders, BSHS students investigate essential questions in English, History/Social Studies, Science, and Math through hands-on activities, including elements from the ArtsLiteracy cycle.

Both SummerPrep and BSHS are taught by current MATs who collaborate in teams of two or three students with guidance from one of our mentor teachers, many of whom return each summer. Using a theme specific to their discipline, each teaching team has designed a curriculum and lessons unique to their classroom. With the start of SummerPrep and BSHS, MATs begin the process of planning, teaching, and reflecting that is central to the Brown MAT program. For the next few weeks, MAT candidates will explore strategies and concepts from Methods and Literacy classes as they develop their teaching styles. They’re off to a strong start, and we’re excited to see how both MATs and their students grow throughout the summer!