I just returned from an exciting day of Park Maitland successes and accomplishments and could not be more proud. This follows an amazing week of spelling competition (see newsletter for details!). The day began with a rousing and close 6th grade boys’ basketball game. (Because of the huge growing interest in being on a sports team at Park Maitland, we were able to field two 6th grade boys’ basketball teams!) The “Blue” team played this morning against a very strong group of players from another school and played hard throughout. The two teams were neck and neck at times and played very competitively. The spirited effort of our boys led us to a 30-20 win! Congratulations, boys! Our 6th grade “Gold” team played this evening and lost after a valiant effort to an outstanding team. However, we could not be more proud of their effort! Our girls’ basketball team had their very first game today, and even with only one practice leading into it, they pulled out a “win” over a group of extremely competitive players!
Very First Math Competition! To add to the excitement, the Park Maitland Math Olympiad Team walked away with two trophies today in our very first (not including the Florida Math League virtual contests) county math competition! After several hours of challenging and intense math problem solving against some of the best young “math minds” in the county, our team excelled! We earned 3rd place overall, and 5th grader, Brice C., won 1st place for the individual top highest score out of all the 5th graders in the competition! We were thrilled to earn such high scores, and this is just the beginning of Park Maitland’s participation in high-level math competition.
I am especially pleased to share the math news since reading our parent surveys, so that I can address the perception that some parents have mentioned, which is “ there are concerns with the quality of the math program.” I have been involved in independent school leadership long enough to realize that perceptions can become reality if parents are misinformed or have a personal experience that may be consistent with common “gossip.” Teachers and administrators are dedicated to providing our students with the best academic program possible, and our departmentalized program helps us to accomplish this goal. We are fortunate to have highly experienced teachers who are not only “math minded,” but also highly skilled at providing a challenging and engaging math experience for all of our students.
We have carefully analyzed our nationally normed standardized test scores, student performance, and potential math aptitude of students in grades 4-6 to structure a program that is designed to meet the needs of the various levels and prepare students with an outstanding foundation in math. Those students who are qualified will have the opportunity to soar in highly advanced math placement at their next school. Although we do not place much emphasis on standardized test scores, it is important to know that we carefully analyze our data on standardized and informal assessments to determine the effectiveness of our curriculum and programs as well as individual and overall performance of our students.
Our mean score for math is 89%ile. This means our students scored 89% or higher than students taking the same test throughout the country! More than 50% of students in grades 4, 5, and 6 earned 95%ile or higher in math or reading scores last year! This puts them in the top 5% of the country! These scores have remained consistently high, and, in fact, have improved in the last five years. Sixth grade graduates continue to perform well at their new middle schools. We are in the process of collecting alumni data to share their progress, but through informal conversations with administrators from these schools and parents of our graduates, we know our students continue to excel in advanced math placement throughout middle and high school.
Now, students particularly “in love with math” have the opportunity to join our Math Olympiad team in grades 4-6. They work with Ms. Brooke Jensen who joined our math department this year and who has been a tremendous asset to our school. Ms. Jensen was previously an administrator at a math and science charter school and most recently taught math for students in a middle school gifted program. She is so excited to work with the Math Olympiad Team and help them gain amazing test taking skills in high-level math. See the following examples of just a few of the many math problems that our students solved successfully in today’s competition:
- Find X, if 2x = (4x) √
- An isosceles right triangle has an area of 200. Calculate the square of its hypotenuse.
- A bag contains 27 dark chocolates and 27 milk chocolates. What is the probability of drawing first a milk chocolate and then a dark chocolate? Assume that chocolates are immediately eaten upon being drawn.
The math program, like all of our programs at Park Maitland, continues to produce strong and capable students who go on to excel after they graduate from Park Maitland School. We strive to bring out the best in each of our students whether it is playing sports, reading classical literature, performing on stage or solving math word problems! Exposure to many different enriching experiences truly helps children discover their passion!
Head of School