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BLS FRIENDS OF MATH AND SCIENCE (FMS)

ABOUT BLSFMS

Boston Latin School Friends of Math and Science

Friends of Mathematics and Science (FMS) is a parent group in Boston Latin School (BLS). The mission of FMS is to support and promote mathematics and science education and extra-curricular activities for BLS students. FMS works closely with and supports the Department of Science and Mathematics at BLS by fundraising, equipment and supplies donation, volunteering, grant writing, and more.


FMS Leadership

Co-Chairs Program coordinators

NEWS

Boston Latin School Friends of Math and Science


CONTACT

Contact us for more info.


Co-chair: Helen Zeng, tingying.zeng@gmail.com;
Co-chair: Virginia Berman, vberman@rcn.com;
Co-chair: Yang Li, rob.yang.li@gmail.com;
Co-chair: Fran Yang, xuyang@comcast.net;
Web Master: Liane Xu, lxu3749@gmail.com;

Math Team Email: blsmathteam@gmail.com;

Email to help us out!

ARCHIVE

Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Ms. Bateman, Mr. Bilodeau, Fred Zhang and other parents.

Sign in sheet passed around. Introductions by Ms. Bateman, the Director of the Science Department and Mr. Bilodeau, the new Director of the Mathematics Department.

Math Report:

  1. New Program Director for Math: they have hired two new teachers
  2. AMC math competitions on Feb 2 and Feb 17th
  3. Math Seminar pilot program, 7 students, post AP more challenging than BC Calculus

Science Report:

  1. Science facilities are atrocious- working with an architect on two projects. The first is to envision a new science building adjacent to the existing building with new labs. The second is to renovate two existing laboratories. Ms. Bateman is working with the BLSA to make these renovations happen.
  2. No 8th grade science right now. Budget determines if we can bring science back to 8th grade next year.

Go onto the Science web page for a list of activities. Some are the following:

  1. Catapulta: science magazine. Students can write for this in their own time and on topics they are interested in. It's published more than twice a year
  2. Girls Who Code: meets on Tuesdays in room 306 and is supervised by Ms. Bateman and a coach from MIT
  3. Neutrons Robotics Club
  4. PreMed Club
  5. Science mentor program: trying to get this to run for next fall- getting kids into labs.
  6. Science Club, run by Mr. Spazzano
  7. Science Olympiad Team meets on Wednesdays: lots of events, has an A team and a B team

Math opportunities:

  1. High School Math Team
  2. Tuesday try outs for Mathcounts team. Competition math. Narrows down to 10 students among them 4 form BLS team.
  3. International Science Fair: individual work, not supervised by BLS teachers- 1500 kids from across the country

Fred Zhang proposed to elect several co-chairs to replace the leadership of FMS. Then, Fred Zhang, Tingying (Helen) Zeng, Fran Yang, and Galini Thoidis were elected as co-chairs. Franklin Knotts were elected as FMS secretary. Fred Zhang proposed to eliminate membership fees in the charter and the proposal was passed.

Some discussions of various issues conducted afterwards.

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm.

BLS Friends of Math and Science (BLSFMS) group has had the first meeting of this academic year. Director of the department of Math and Science, Ms. Batman and Math head teacher, Mr. Bilodeau, attended the meeting. BLSFMS president, Mr. Frederick Zhang, conducted the meeting, and ten parents attended.
Parents and teachers introduced themselves.
Updates from the Department of Mathematics and Science:

  1. BLS Association is launching a Prima Perpetua Campaign with a goal of fundraising $15M. A portion of that will be used to renovate labs in BLS.
  2. A private donor has donated $200k to the Math and Science Department; the fund is being used on teachers' development and training, developing online classes, etc.
  3. The topic of having 8th Grade science course is back on the table again, there is possibility that the class can start in the Fall of 2016.
  4. The Department hired 4 New Math teachers. They all went through a strict hire procedure that ensures their qualifications.
  5. The Capstone Project.
  6. Math competition schedules will be sent out to FMS which will be passed on to member parents.

Parents have asked questions on how the BLS Math competition teams work. There are two Math teams in BLS: the Mathcounts for 7th and 8th graders, meet on Thursday afternoons, and the Math Team (for 9th - 12th grade) lead by Ms. Wing Leung, meet on Wednesday afternoons. Hiring a professional Mathcounts coach was brought up and discussed.
The science mentor program was also discussed. Mentors would like to be found by students, not matched by the Department. A good example to find a mentor is that a highly motivated student searched online to find all possible researchers in her interested area, then contacted them one by one, eventually found herself a mentor.
Mr. Zhang has brought up the discussion on how to use the fund that BLSFMS has raised. A proposal to contribute part of the fund to the Prima Perpetua Campain was circulated and discussed.

The meeting finished at 8:15pm.

Attendees:
24 parents
Ms. Bateman (Director of the Mathematics and Science Department)

Fred Zhang, FMS president, started the meeting with introduction of the attendees and the agenda.

Ms. Bateman briefed the group on the school's ongoing math and science initiatives as follows:

Math:

  1. The state will require four years of high school math for graduation, starting with the class of 2016. While the Common Core standards generally would require that the math areas covered in high school include Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus, the BLS curriculum is accelerated, targeting completion of Calculus for most students by senior year and many by junior year. This raises the need for an additional math subject for students who take Calculus in junior year. Ms. Bateman is looking at potentially started a more advanced class, in differential equations or linear algebra.
  2. AMC scores are asked by Harvard/MIT as part of college applications.
  3. BLS Team did not enter the Mathcounts State Competition. But a 7th grader entered as individual contestant.
  4. Two Math teacher positions are open now at BLS. BLS has received resumes and will start interview process. The two Math teacher positions are not limited for any certain grade, as BLS plans to rotate teachers and teaching assignments to let teachers having the view on the Math program for all grades.
  5. The department plans to have teachers rotate teaching assignment to expand their insight about the overall Math curriculum at BLS.
  6. Annual evaluation of students will move from MCAS to tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. This will be the last year for the MCAS. Students will also take a Common Core pilot test.
  7. A policy has been developed for determining which students can skip a math grade level. Incoming students (both 7th and 9th grade) will be evaluated with tests given in June, right after the end of the school year. A full class will be formed from the most advanced incoming 7th graders to learn Algebra I in their first year in BLS, while others still learn Pre-Algebra.


Science:
  1. The school has been awarded a Life Science Grant for $100,000 which will be used to upgrade laboratory facilities for Biology 2. Another donor has provided $25,000, which will also be used to upgrade labs.
  2. BLS students were successful at the Boston Science Fair. Three of the four Massachusetts students that will be attending the International Intel Science Fair are BLS students. These students' science fair entries are based on work done under the guidance of mentors recruited as part of the Science Mentor Program. This program matches students interested in developing science projects for science fair competition with professional scientists who mentor the students' work.
  3. The BLSA will be ramping up its capital campaign next fall. Tens of millions of dollars targeted to be collected will be spent to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related classes.
  4. Discussion is ongoing to establish 8th grade science. This would require three additional teachers. The vision for this class is that it would be an integrated introductory class combining biology, chemistry, and physics.
  5. The school has received a 3-D printer, and teachers are thinking about ways to use it.
  6. Ms. Bateman mentioned that she receives many flyers from organizations offering internships for students. Two parents volunteered to help with making this information public, either by emailing to the listserve, or placing on the FMS website.

Elections:

Helen Zeng was nominated to be FMS Vice President. The parents present approved her election to this position.

MIT Outreach:

Helen also presented information regarding the MIT Outreach program, which arranges for lab tours and other MIT opportunities for high school students. She discussed a variety of opportunities. Her presentation will be emailed to the FMS parents group (She also organized the BLS student tour of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT on March 17).