RSM In The News
A Russian 'Revolution' In Math Education:
RSM was recently featured by NECN (a local NBC affiliate in New England). The crew interviewed founders Inessa Rifkin & Irina Khavinson and profiled several of the families that make the commitment to after-school math education.
Best of the Northeast: RSM
RSM was recently recognized by "Best of the Northeast" as an outstanding after school enrichment program. Founder Inessa Rifkin described what makes RSM so successful with kids.
Excerpt: Russian School of Mathematics hosts event in celebration of RSM-MetroWest’s 10th anniversary
FRAMINGHAM, Mass., July 22, 2014 —The Russian School of Mathematics (RSM), an award-winning afterschool math program headquartered in Newton, celebrates the 10th anniversary of its oldest branch, RSM-MetroWest in Framingham, with Mathapalooza! on Saturday, September 13, from 12:00 to 4:00 PM on the Framingham Centre Common (2 Oak Street). The outdoor festivities are free and open to the public and take place rain or shine.
EXCERPT from Article by Ignacio Laguarda on November 7, 2013
Brookline, MA - Don’t tell Inessa Rifkin that children don’t like math. She’s got 16 years of experience to prove otherwise.
The co-founder of the Russian School of Mathematics believes the notion that children hate doing math is a misconception, and that young students are not averse to math, but rather, to the way it is normally taught in school systems.
“Kids naturally are very curious and like to be challenged,” said Rifkin.
The Russian-born Rifkin started the Russian School of Mathematics in her living room in Newton, and now the school has 18 locations spread out around the country. It has amassed an enviable track record of helping students improve in mathematics and get high scores on the SATs. The average SAT math score for students at the Russian school is 774 out of 800. RSM students also consistently post top scores in national and international math competitions.
EXCERPT from Article by Jianing Liu on July 19, 2013
Winchester, MA - When Maria and Dmitry Gofshteyn enrolled their son nearly 15 years ago, the Russian School of Mathematics was nothing more than a handful of concerned parents running Sunday math classes out of a rented backroom in Newton.
While Gofshteyns commuted from Marblehead, others traveled even further for the same purpose: to give their children a rigorous mathematics education not found in public schools.
Fifteen years, 16 locations, and thousands of students later, RSM is becoming a household name. Meanwhile, the Gofshteyns are behind the newest branch at 50 Cross St. in Winchester, where they hope to bring their unique approach toward mathematics education to children here.
EXCERPT from Boston Globe Article by Brenda Buote on July 5, 2013
Earlier this year, Gofshteyn, a microbiologist, gave up her career in science to pursue her passion for teaching young children. After looking at more than 50 properties in Burlington and Winchester, she settled on the long-abandoned building at 50 Cross St. in Winchester. The former music school, empty for more than a decade, will be home to the newest satellite branch of the Russian School of Mathematics. Gofshteyn will serve as the school’s coprincipal with her husband, Dmitry.
EXCERPT from Article by Trevor Jones on February 25, 2013
What started with a Newton mother’s dogged determination to improve her son’s math education 16 years ago has expanded into a nationwide after-school program that has drawn thousands of students to its unique methods for mastering an often unpopular subject.
The school has the data to support their model. Eleventh-grade Russian School students average 774 out of a possible 800 on the math portion of the SAT exam.
Excerpt: From Article by Erica Noona on October 21, 2010
Parents find specialized schools to fill gaps
[There is] a pervasive fear and loathing of math among many parents, and even teachers. “There is this attitude we pass on to our kids, ‘We’re not good at math, so it’s OK if you aren’t either,’ ’’ he said.
“But the entire modern work world is based on math, whether a UPS package is delivered efficiently, or whether Google is delivering search results well. It is such a vital component of education, and we are still not close to where we should be,’’ Epstein said.
UPDATED NOVEMBER 10, 2010, 7:30 PM
The question that should be asked is why our public schools are not offering the mathematics training that parents are increasingly paying outsiders to provide to their academically motivated children.
EXCERPT: From Article by Jaroslaw Anders, 19 October 2010.
“It is all about multiple choices. They don’t think about problems,” says Russian mathematician and Boston-area resident Irina Khavinson. “They don’t explain why things are the way they are. In mathematics things are connected.”
"The Russian School of Mathematics can be seen as a precursor of the current shift in math teaching in the United States... The students typically achieve high test scores and get accepted to the most selective U.S. universities... [Irina] Khavinson says that with the right approach almost any child can learn to understand complex mathematical relationships.
Her method, she says, is based on the work of Russian pioneer developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934), who advocated early introduction to mathematics as a crucial element in a child’s intellectual growth."
EXCERPT: Front Page Article by Scott S. Greenberger on 5/7/2001
NEWTON - Irene Khavinson loves her new country. So she pauses, staring sheepishly at the table top, before offering her opinion on how mathematics is taught in American schools.
''I hate to say this, but everything is wrong,'' Khavinson finally says in her heavy Russian accent. ''The approach is wrong. It's too easy. It's not connected. They jump from topic to topic, and topics should be connected in math.''
Khavinson taught math for 15 years in what was then Leningrad before immigrating to the United States a decade ago. She shied from teaching here, fearing she'd have trouble managing unruly American students. But now, after stints as an accountant and working at a drapery company, she's back in the classroom - using an Old World approach in an unlikely setting.
EXCERPT: Article by Hilary Levey Friedman on January 22, 2012
Chris Gabrieli, a former gubernatorial candidate, venture capitalist, and educational policy reform advocate, has five children, all of whom attended classes at the Russian School at various ages from kindergarten through middle school. He recalls stopping into an elementary school-level class one day and being struck by how all the kids were jumping out of their seats and shouting answers...“Seeing the enthusiasm and joy and excitement about the problem solving brought home that it’s a lot more than just grinding-it-out practice.”