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Russian School of Mathematics Gives Children a Solid Math Foundation

By Pamela Sosnowski

For nearly 20 years, the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM) has been giving children a leg up on their math skills and helping them succeed when American math curriculum does not seem to be working.

"We have been in Newton for 20 years, and in June the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth named us one of the Top 10 Schools in the World, recognizing our students as 'among the best and brightest in the world,'" says the school's Director of Outreach, Masha Gershman. "We're thrilled to be able to open a campus and serve families more conveniently in Weston."

The school was founded nineteen years ago by Inessa Rifkin (a mother that immigrated to the U.S. in 1988) and Irina Khavinson, a trained teacher of mathematics.. Together they wished to take their positive experiences and success with Russian mathematics programs and make them available to American children.

Today, RSM has 35 locations across the country, and also offers live, interactive online lessons to students not located near a branch. Summer programs are also available for students looking to gain an edge during the summer months, when skills can be easily forgotten.

An overnight camp program in the Lake Sunapee region of New Hampshire makes learning math a fun experience by incorporating the program with outdoor recreation, art classes, and drama productions. RSM students post remarkable scores on national and international math competitions, and alumni have gone on to attend the top universities in the country.

The school takes a unique approach to math concepts by teaching students reasoning skills to solve problems, and believes that all children can build a solid foundation in math skills if they're taught correctly.

"We introduce algebraic and geometric concepts early, asking our youngest students to become thinkers and analysts and encouraging them to discover solutions and reflect on how they reached that solution," explains Gershman. "Because of this approach, when our students are confronted with any problem they don't recognize, they don't back down. Instead, they consider different ways they might tackle it."

Enrolling a child at RSM is easy. "You can enroll directly through our Newton and Weston sites," says Gershman. "The best way to learn more about our program is to schedule a free math evaluation where we will take you through our curriculum and approach, and recommend the best class placement for your child."

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