In-Person Math Reunion Brings Joy

T0GETHERNESS: Participants network at the in-person conference held in February.

After several years of hosting virtual conferences because of the pandemic, the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) welcomed participants to campus Feb. 4 for its first in-person networking reunion

The conference was held in conjunction with the Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity in Education. Hugs, exclamations of joy and great energy greeted the members, who came from across the state and gathered in Anne and Charles Duncan Hall. Breakfast was generously provided by ST Math, a pre-K visual instructional program created by MIND Research Institute.

Richard Tapia, a professor of computational applied mathematics and operations research, presented the keynote address, “My Unlikely Journey From the Barrios of Los Angeles to the White House and the National Medal of Science.” He also talked about his new book, “Losing the Precious Few: How America Fails to Educate Its Minorities in Science and Engineering.”

Professor Richard Tapia presents the keynote address to conference participants.
DREAM BIG: Professor Richard Tapia presents the keynote address to conference participants.

In the breakout sessions, RUSMP math superstars shared their favorite activities. Speakers included Nasim Chenari, with the Harmony School of Innovation Katy; Crystal Frommert, with the Awty International School; Alexandre Mironychev, with Houston ISD’s Challenge Early College; Olga Najarian, with Houston ISD’s Montgomery Elementary; Joanna Papakonstantinou, with Episcopal High School; and Amy Williams, with Annunciation Orthodox School.

Sessions included “Using Anno’s Counting Book to Teach Math Concepts in Pre-K”; “Celebrate Math With the Arts in the Elementary Grades”; “Math in Our Lives: Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Series”; “Activities to Get Kids Out of Their Seats”; “Fun Hands-On Activities for Algebra I and Algebra II Students”; and “SAS and SSA Conditions for Congruent Triangles: New Answers for Old Problems.”

Garrett Girouard, with ST Math, spoke on “Significantly Increasing STAAR Achievement — It’s Neuroscience, Not Rocket Science.” Richard Parr, with Texas Instruments and the Kinkaid School, showcased Python in the Palm of Your Hand: Programming With the TI-84 Plus CE-T Python Edition.

Attendees caught up with their colleagues and gained ideas to use with their students. One attendee said, “I’ve missed these inspiring RUSMP conferences that bring us back together to share and to learn.” Another attendee added, “that I always get so much out of these fabulous events. I always learn something good.”

RUSMP has been hosting fall and spring networking conferences since its inception in 1987. To learn about RUSMP efforts or how to support the group, please visit the website at or contact the RUSMP office at 713-348-6076.

— Anne Papakonstantinou


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