While the program was in session, I provided updates to the Bard community, and among the many wonderful and supportive responses was this question:
Curiously do we offer any programs like this for local kids with the same academic curiosity and promise?I love this question! Of course, the answer is very complicated and nuanced.
On the face of it, not at all. Bard does not provide a 3 week sleep-away math camp for local kids on this beautiful, secluded campus. No all-star math staff selected from a national search for instructors who have the deepest mathematical knowledge and incredible experience and success at igniting mathematical passion and excitement. No amazing math curriculum, where students can delve deeply in to advanced mathematics that they'd never learn in school. We don't offer that.
But, the SPMPS students are selected from some of the most underserved NYC middle schools. Each of these schools has a very high poverty level; at least 75% of students at each school qualify for free lunch, and at most of the schools that statistic is up around 90% or 95%. The typical student at these schools is far below grade level, and part of what makes SPMPS work is attention to building up necessary technical skills that are just plain missing.
However, the mid-Hudson Valley has all that too - not just urban poverty, but rural poverty too, with many students who have fallen behind, yet have an amazing intellectual potential.
We also have the Bard Math Circle, a small program with huge potential. The most consistent program happens monthly at the Kingston Library, and now the annual AMC 8 contest.
What do you think? Where could this go? Let's discuss this in the comments.