The school day isn’t over when it’s officially over, because an extra curricular math class comes home once a week for more than 20 middle schoolers.
Students at Edmunds Middle School can go to the home of Jeff Wick, a parent, every Wednesday evening for additional math instruction in his living room. Wick started the classes to keep the students challenged academically, after the Burlington School District eliminated middle school algebra in 2015. He is leading the effort to restore advanced math classes to the middle school.
“The idea is to get them interested in math, get them interested in seeing the beauty of math and developing a number sense,” Wick said. “I like to take math out of the institutional setting and put it inside a home where it’s more relaxed.”
Wick’s lessons include history as well as math problems. A recent lesson was on the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes, which was followed by a puzzle with prime numbers.
“Too often people think math just dropped down from the sky, and it’s just a bunch of boring numbers,” he said. “Really it’s human made, we invented it.”
Eighth grader Wyatt Harte joined the club after his friends told him about it. “I get to explore new types of math that I wouldn’t see in a regular math class,” the 13-year-old said. “Jeff is really engaging and I’ve learned a lot from him.”
The move by the school district to have all middle school students take the same math class meant that they could no longer be on track to take calculus while still in high school. For students on an advanced level, this presented a problem for their future college planning.