Not as familiar here in the Midwest, the Saturday School model has a successful track record in many other parts of the U.S. such as on the west and east coasts, as well as in other countries such as Taiwan, China and India. Although there are many choices that a student has for spending weekend time, a commitment to regular attendance, regular practice with peers and frequent opportunities for competition in their chosen areas of interest has benefited students more than several times over once they move on to future endeavors at the college and professional level.
Started in the Fall of 2005, ECAE began meeting on Saturdays to provide supplemental mathematics coaching for the Minnesota Junior High Math League to middle school students. Initially, the group consisted of students from the Edina Schools. It was quickly apparent that many other school based academic teams were not being coached as aggressively as some school based sports teams. In addition, there are many options for families to pursue competitive league sports for their talented children, such as travel leagues. No such training model exists for academic competitions. In an effort to provide academically talented students and families with a consistent option for mathematical coaching, our classes are now being offered in two sessions to coincide with the typical school semester and competition schedule. Entry to the Competitive Mathematics Training program may occur at any point during the school year. However, students receive the most benefit by enrolling and starting in the 9-10 week Fall session, competing for their school-based team, and continuing on into the 9-10 week Winter Session. The shortened 5 week Spring Session rounds out the typical school year, and the 5 week Summer Sessions are focused more on explorations of mathematical problem solving that may fall outside the typical math competition repertoire. Summer Session is a great time for new students to get a taste of our program and see if this might be something they would like to continue with in the Fall! Students and families need to consider if they are willing to make academic competition an integral part of their student’s middle school and high school career, much in the same way as they do for participation in team sports.
ECAE Typical Yearly Schedule is:
Fall Session: Second Saturday of September through second Saturday of December.
Winter Session: Second Saturday of January through second Saturday of April.
Spring Session: Third Saturday of April through third Saturday of May.
Summer Session: Five Week Sessions, Varies according to class offered.
The Edina Center for Academic Excellence focuses on offering courses that are not available in schools. Classes are taught by instructors with a passion for their subject matter, who love to share their delight in the subject with advanced students.