“Mr. Kevin, this is just too stressful,” Ja’Naye fretted while trudging up the steps towards math class. She was exhausted—and who could blame her? A typical summer day for the rising sixth grader consisted of a spirited singing rehearsal, dancing in a lively hip-hop class, formulating and testing her hypotheses in an engaging science lab, and working to boost her math skills in the Math Practice Program.
This summer offered a glimpse of what’s on the horizon for the evolving CCC math curriculum, designed by CCC Education Director Dana Semos and Kevin Downs (aka “Mr. Kevin”), the Chorus’s new full-time math teacher. During the six-week program, several ambitious high school students undertook a rigorous SAT prep course. Meanwhile, each middle-school student received an individualized curriculum based on his or her past performance and then tackled their biggest challenges with a personal coach. The fun-based instructional sessions included running around campus during a metric-unit scavenger hunt, sharpening recall of math facts with game-based learning, and squaring off in contests that tested geometry skills and creativity.
Ja’Naye’s angst stemmed from one of those contests. The “mansion” she built for her Tiny House Project was carefully measured and constructed. After meticulously calculating the perimeter, area, and scale of her walls, furniture, and appliances, she went on to add her personal touches: colorful wallpaper, Louis Vuitton rugs, a state-ofthe- art entertainment center, and a ceiling covered in sparkling lights.
When the contest winners were announced, Ja’Naye’s worry was replaced with an ear-to-ear grin. Gripping the winning gift card in her hand, she joyfully acknowledged that all her hard work had been worth it. This fall, Ja’Naye is continuing with the CCC’s school-year Math Practice Program because she has learned that nothing worthwhile comes easy.