Multivariable calculus adds up for Lawrence students


A dozen top-notch Lawrence High School students are part of Lawrence School District’s Double Accelerated Mathematics program.

In the seventh grade at Lawrence Middle School, they took eighth grade math and integrated algebra (Common Core algebra 1) in one year. As eighth-graders it was geometry, algebra 2 as high school freshmen, pre-calculus in 10th grade and Advanced Placement calculus as juniors.

“Now as seniors, they are the first class of students at Lawrence High School to study multivariable calculus, easily year two of math study on most college campuses,” said Bill Moss the district’s director of academic affairs who also doubles as the math and science chairman.

Multivariable calculus was added to what Moss called “several new and progressive curriculum additions” to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. “The program has proven to motivate students in the areas of math and science research with a visible swell in the number of students with (science teacher) Rebecca Isseroff on outstanding science research projects this year,” he said.

Isseroff called the accelerated math program “another jewel in the crown” to enhance the district’s STEM education. “Those that have a good command of science are often most interested in pursuing a STEM field, and conducting summer research is an excellent way of expanding the student’s science perspectives,” she said. “These accelerated students are well-prepared to enter and succeed in engineering programs in college.”

“The double accelerated program initially seemed like a big jump forward, which it was,” said Roshan Reddy, who along with Nicholas Williams and Jerry Reyes were Siemens semifinalists. “But it wasn’t just a jump in math, it was a jump forward. It sets you on a path forward where you can be better in all you can.”

Nicholas credited Moss and teachers Rick Barbarette, Lissette Mendez-Aronson, Patrick Palleschi and Jared Vanderbeck for the program. “The implementation of the course as I was making my way through middle school really allowed me to understand that my boundaries weren’t simply the limitations of the courses provided by the school. I had no idea a multivariable would become available by my senior year, but admittedly, it seems that even this class would not be the limit of our capacities for learning,” Nicholas said.

Long Island Math Fair gold medalist Perry Vacchio said: “Double accelerated math has helped to prepare me for a multitude of things as well as challenge me academically.”

Fiza Khader, a Math Fair bronze medalist, said math has been a consistent part of her life: “The double accelerated program has allowed me to enhance my math skills while at the same time continue to make constant new memories with me peers who have been a constant part of my classes throughout the year.”

Class of 2018 salutatorian Daniel Rizzo views the math program as a family. “We all respect each other for all the work we’ve been through with each other, but, most importantly we never stop pushing each other to be smarter and better at math,” said the state Vex Robotics competition champion.