June 3rd, 2013 - San Marcos, TX
In a few days, close to 200 young students will pack the classrooms of Miller Middle School and move toy cars, hop frogs along a number line, and play with mathematics. At the same time, they are building foundational skills related to negative and positive integers, fractions, graphing, and advanced problem solving. This will be the scene of the 18th annual Mathworks Junior Summer Math Camp (JSMC). The 2013 JSMC will be held June 10 - 21, Mondays through Fridays, with classes running 8am to noon. Mathworks, a center at Texas State University, has partnered with the San Marcos school district to provide bus transportation for district students. In addition, all camp students will be provided breakfast, a snack, and lunch. Parents are invited to attend a "Parent Open House" the morning of Wednesday, June 19th, and learn more about the math concepts their students are learning during the two weeks. Refreshments for the Open House have been kindly donated by Mochas & Javas, Shipleys Do-nuts, and First Impressions Bakery. The camp closing BBQ will be held on Friday, June 21st, with brisket and more catered by Fuschack's.
Mathworks strives to engage students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and this summer close to 50% of students will be attending the program on a scholarship. Without such support they would not be able to experience the joy of mathematical discovery. As one parent of a 4th grader noted last summer, "My son wasn't excited at first because he thought it would be boring. He came home excited every day showing me the fun things he had learned. I really am glad this program exists!" All year round Mathworks staff prepare grant proposals, donation requests, and sponsorship asks to raise the support needed to give opportunities to all interested students.
The impact of Mathworks' summer math program is reinforced year after year as students are able to attend for five consecutive summers, learning new concepts as they move through the levels of the camp. Students take what they've learned in the summer and enter the school year with increased self-confidence and abilities. "This is my son's third year [in math camp], and has been a great impact on my son's math grades during the school year. I appreciate the time and energy," said a parent of a 6th grader.
By providing high quality math programs in June, Mathworks is playing an integral part in addressing the challenge of disparity in summer learning opportunities. A 2010 Wallace Foundation report notes that "More than half of the achievement gap present in ninth grade between lower and higher income youth can be explained by summer learning loss that disproportionately affects low-income children. It is a significant part of the reason that low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college." The vision of serving students of all backgrounds is also a key reason behind the Mathworks Legacy Campaign, which has a $6 million dollar endowment goal. Having an endowment would enable Mathworks to serve all students for the foreseeable future and not deny any child the opportunity to maximize their potential.
It is only with the support of foundations, companies, and local businesses that Mathworks is able to provide great learning opportunities to any and all interested students. The 2013 JSMC has received in-kind and financial support from local businesses including Mochas & Javas, Shipley Do-Nuts on Hopkins St., Deli-cioso, Dos Gatos Kolaches Bakery, Fuschak's Pit BBQ, Rhino Graphics, San Marcos Lions Club, First Impressions Bakery & Gifts, Mamacita's Restaurant & Cantina, and the Grande Communications Grande Cares Club. In addition, this year's program has received donations from Time Warner Cable, H-E-B Tournament of Champions, and the Kodosky Foundation.