Online Gifted Math Program Allows Middle School Students in Illinois District to Study Advanced Math
PLANTATION, Florida (October 12, 2018) - Barrington Community Unit School District 220 (District 220) in Illinois plans to increase the number of students enrolled in the Elements of Mathematics: Foundations (EMF) program from 150 to several hundred, as technology continues to play an integral role in the classroom. EMF is an online curriculum designed to teach talented middle school students pre-algebra through precalculus plus several university-level topics including abstract algebra, number theory and topology.
Barrington’s most advanced math students study EMF in grades six through nine as part of the district’s Extended Math Program. District 220, which previously used the now-discontinued textbook version of EMF, currently takes a blended approach that combines in-class work on internet-connected iPads with teacher-led discussions of the material.
"After looking closely at the instructional needs of the students in the Barrington Extended Services Program, and examining the math pathways of students from elementary school to senior year, our Math Steering Committee felt it was imperative to offer this type of rigorous math experience to our students," explains Dr. April Jordan, Director of Extended Programs & Professional Development for District 220. "Our district embraces a blended model that puts the students and the teachers at its center. Classes are taught through teacher and student modeling and interaction, in addition to students completing the online EMF courses. EMF has been a wonderful partner in redesigning the tech elements of the program to function on the iPad, allowing for more dynamic student engagement than ever before."
A recent survey of current District 220/EMF parents found that EMF had the following positive effects:
- 76% say that their child’s ability to analyze complex problems is stronger.
- 77% believe that their child’s self-study skills have improved.
- 69% report an increased ability to focus for extended periods of time.
"I tell the parents that EMF is a challenging and rewarding curriculum to work with and it should make their child a stronger math student," notes Extended Math teacher Brian Buesing. "It will strengthen their child’s ability to think about, talk about, and work through math problems at an advanced and deeper level."
EMF was developed for mathematically talented children by the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS), an independent teaching and educational research institute based in South Florida. IMACS president Terry Kaufman notes that while EMF is six years old, the underlying curriculum has been taught in select locations for more than three decades. "District 220 has recognized the benefits of this curriculum for many years," says Kaufman. "Now that we've put the program online and enhanced it with the latest interactive technology, I'm happy to hear that this has led to even higher engagement from Barrington’s students."
The Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS) is an independent teaching and educational research institute with 25 years' experience developing original curriculum for talented K-12 students. IMACS' curriculum has been used in prestigious programs such as Duke's Talent Identification Program and Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth. Over 4,500 students from across the US and around the world attend local IMACS classes or study its online courses. For more information, visit www.imacs.org. Schools and districts interested in using EMF should contact IMACS directly at schools@EMFmath.com.
About Barrington Community Unit School District 220
Barrington Community Unit School District 220 was formed in 1973 as a consolidated unit, combining two elementary districts and a high school district into one unit that educates nearly 9,000 students from pre-kindergarten through high school. Located about 35 miles northwest of Chicago, Barrington 220 encompasses 72 square miles. It covers 12 villages: all of Barrington, Lake Barrington, Tower Lakes; and portions of Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, Deer Park, Fox River Grove, Port Barrington, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, North Barrington, and South Barrington. Barrington 220 is consistently ranked among the state's top 5% of school districts academically and was ranked the 4th Best District in Illinois in the Niche 2018 rankings. Barrington 220 strives to inspire all learners to achieve excellence.
Natasha Chen, Communications Director