Posted on May 17, 2024
Categories: News from SDP

The School District of Philadelphia is launching a new innovative math program designed for talented and gifted students in first through seventh grade. Beginning with a series of pilot sessions in April at Feltonville School for Arts and Sciences (FSAS) and continuing with a two-week intensive summer camp in July 2024, Quantum Math Camps (QMC) is designed to advance students’ understanding of mathematics and quantum science, preparing them for unprecedented challenges and opportunities as the tech frontiers of tomorrow.

“We are proud to have this incredible opportunity available to our students as we work to accelerate academic achievement, especially in math and science, and prepare students to imagine and realize any future they desire,” said Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D., Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia. “We are grateful to this partnership between school leaders in the District, the Quantum Biology Laboratory at Howard University and Teamsters Local 502 CASA, that will provide an innovative and unique learning opportunity.”

The program, which is being piloted within Learning Network 7, a group of 14 schools in North Philadelphia, will provide students with access to above-grade-level mathematics and an introduction to the world of quantum science. A small group of school leaders within Learning Network 7, developed the program to meet the needs of advanced math learners and provide an opportunity for student learners to master topics and skills at their own pace.

Seventy students who are interested in STEAM and meet the criteria will participate in this first of its kind program. To be eligible, students must attend a school within Learning Network 7, have a score at or above the 90th percentile in the Renaissance Star Math Assessment and/or the Naglieri General Ability Test, achieved ‘Advanced’ in the mathematics section of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or have been identified as gifted.

“We are at the forefront of educational innovation with the QMC,” said James G. Murray Jr., Ph.D., a principal at Rowen School and the visionary behind Quantum Math Camps. “Our mission is to ignite a passion for advanced mathematics, critical thinking, and robust problem solving, paving the way for our young scholars to master the quantum realm, in order to do the incredible.”

Students will engage in accelerated math classes and hands-on lab experiments and activities throughout the sessions. Utilizing virtual and augmented reality, QMC will bring complex quantum science concepts to life, making them accessible and fascinating for young learners. This accelerated pathway will set students up to take Algebra by eighth grade, and increase access to classes and opportunities in STEM related careers.

“I believe the Quantum Math Camp is an important initiative for our district. QMC will provide students who are gifted, high performing, and/or highly motivated the opportunity to be deeply challenged by coursework that is rigorous, fun, and engaging, to participate in project based accelerated learning, and to build confidence in their ability to achieve greatness,” said Constance Faith Horton, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Learning Network 7. “QMC will help students to realize their full academic potential now as they expand what they imagine and desire for their futures in academia and the workforce in years to come.”

The program will run in the mornings for four Saturday sessions starting April 13. During the summer, students will engage in a four-week program in July.

“I’m thrilled to support this ground breaking initiative led by Dr. James G. Murray Jr.,” said Barry Wilkins, Assistant Principal for Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences. “We believe our future as a country depends upon having a well-educated workforce and a citizenry that is well equipped to thrive in the digital age. The process of molding talent that embodies this begins now by harnessing the untapped potential of our most gifted and intellectually curious scholars. Young learners in our QMC will be exposed to rigorous coursework led by caring and competent educators who will nurture their capacity to become critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and inventors of tomorrow.”