BEAM Discovery Summer Faculty Application

This summer, change the lives of motivated, high-potential students from underserved schools: help them open their minds to new areas of mathematical study and awaken a love of mathematics.

This page contains information about working at BEAM Discovery, our non-residential program in New York City and Los Angeles. We are also hiring faculty nationally for BEAM Summer Away, our residential program in the Hudson Valley and Southern California.  

About the Program

Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) is a free, high-impact program for historically marginalized and low-income students with demonstrated potential in mathematics. Our goal is to give our students access to the same resources for advanced study as their more affluent peers by helping them get into top high schools, summer programs, enrichment programs, and other opportunities for success. For most of them, programs like this would otherwise be completely out of reach.

BEAM Discovery (formerly BEAM 6) is a five-week nonresidential summer camp for rising 7th graders, the earliest opportunity for students to attend a BEAM program. We create a life-changing experience for our students, both academically and non-academically, where they'll be in a community of peers interested in mathematics for perhaps the first time in their lives. We supplement the social environment with activities, field trips, guest lectures, and more.

This is BEAM's ninth year in New York and second year in Los Angeles. As far as we know, nothing quite like this exists elsewhere. Our experience has been that the program really changes lives and serves as a model for outreach across the country, while expanding the talent pool for mathematics and related fields.

In New York City, BEAM Discovery will have two locations, one in West Harlem serving students from the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, and one (most likely in downtown Brooklyn or lower Manhattan) serving students from Brooklyn, Queens, and Lower Manhattan. In Los Angeles, the program will be run in the Koreantown/Pico-Union neighborhood.

About the Students

Javier with student LA 2018

Our students are bright and motivated students who lack sufficient challenge at their existing schools. They are excited to be here and ready to learn, but they may not have the mathematical background of other students who have had more regular access to enrichment.

Students are selected for a combination of insight on challenging math puzzles, teacher nominations, and demonstrated interest and motivation. Many will be the top math students at their schools; a few will be "wildcards" who might be less motivated in a traditional classroom setting but who showed promise on our problems, where we hope to light a spark.

In many cases, students' mathematical educations will have been procedural and rote. As a result, math can feel like jumbled facts to them rather than a coherent subject, and they may lack understanding of topics you consider elementary.

Academics and Classes

Students take two hour-long classes each day on an A/B alternating schedule. So each course meets every other day, and students take a total of four courses (one from each topic area below) throughout the summer. For faculty, each course you teach will have two sections with different cohorts of students, which alternate days, and thus you'll teach every day. In total, each course has 11 class hours. (See the section below for a sample weekly schedule.)

There are four topic areas, and each student chooses one course from each:

  • Logical Reasoning introduces logical reasoning including deductive logic, case analysis, working methodically, and proof by contradiction. Students are first introduced to puzzles such as Sudoku or Ken-Ken, liar/truthteller puzzles, or "matching riddles". Having gained basic skills in these puzzles, they transition to using those skills on mathematical problems.

  • Math Fundamentals covers mathematics from school. Based on Art of Problem Solving materials, we have a collection of questions designed to lead students to be more reflective on the mathematics they know and to learn to apply it in novel ways. This course leads students to understand mathematics without relying on memorized procedures.

  • Math Team Strategies exposes students to problems that require creativity, primarily through MATHCOUNTS problems. Most Math Team Strategies courses cover a specific topic area such as number theory (focusing on prime factorization), combinatorics (focusing on the multiplication principle), or geometry, although there is flexibility for other models.

  • Applied Math introduces students to different areas of work related to mathematics. Examples include programming, astronomy, mathematical biology (such as predator and prey models, or genetics), or estimation and Fermi problems. Unlike the first three topics, there are no developed curricular materials for these courses; instead, we rely on faculty to develop their own courses around the topics that interest them.

One of the most important periods of each day’s schedule is Open Math Time, when students do independent work on problem sets from class, challenge problems, or other math of their own choice. There is an hour-long block of Open Math Time following each class period, and as faculty, you will assist students in your classes during that time. We believe strongly in facilitating student initiative and choice, both through Open Math Time and also by allowing them to choose courses.

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Your Role

As faculty, your role is to guide students as they discover new fields of mathematics. Our classes are small and highly interactive. Each class generally has around 15 students, and you will have a teaching assistant (either in college or a high school BEAM alum) to assist, allowing for a high degree of personalization.

You may teach either one course or two, so long as they do not conflict. Logical Reasoning and Math Fundamentals are offered in the morning (usually around 9:20am-10:20am), while Math Team Strategies and Applied Math are offered in the afternoon (usually around 1:05pm-2:05pm), and each is followed by an hour of Open Math Time. Thus, you have the flexibility to have short days or to really dive into the program. Please note that the details of the schedule differ slightly by location.

Each class is replaced 1-2 times during camp with a "math circle" or other activity run by a visitor. This allows for each faculty member to visit other classes and for everyone to learn from one-another. (It's important to us that everyone, student and staff alike, are learning.)

There are also a few other responsibilities. In detail, your expectations are:

  • Attend training before the program starts:

    • In LA, training is June 19, 20, and 21, 2019.

    • In NYC, training is July 2, 3 and 5, 2019.

  • Teach each class to two cohorts of students (on both A days and B days) and stay for Open Math Time following the classes you teach.

    • In LA, the program runs June 24-July 26, 2019 (with no classes on July 4).

    • In NYC, the program runs July 8-August 9, 2019.

  • Communicate with your TA about the course: send them a brief overview of each day's topic and what their role will be. Note that TAs may not have much time to prepare before the class itself, but it is important to us that the TAs have positive experiences and learn about teaching.

  • Schedule a weekly meeting with your TA to briefly discuss how the class is going, individual students, and what you plan on covering in the future (we suggest at least 30 min each time).

  • Assign and review student problem sets (completed during Open Math Time).

  • When your class is replaced by a math circle, visit other classes (and, ideally, offer to discuss the class afterward with its teacher).

  • Attend two one-hour staff meetings per week.

    • The exact timing of these differs by location, but these are commonly Tuesdays and Fridays, 11:35am-12:35pm.

  • At the end of the summer, write a paragraph for each student about their progress in the class.

  • Also at the end of the summer, provide private feedback on each student to be used internally.

  • Attend a day of wrap-up after the end of the summer.

    • In LA, this is on July 29, 2019.

    • In NYC, it is August 12, 2019.

Below is a sample weekly schedule for someone who’s teaching Math Fundamentals and Applied Math (times and schedule may change slightly). Note that you see the same students for each class only every other day and have a different section on other days.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
9am-9:15am(Optional) Breakfast with students
9:20am-10:20amTeach Math Fundamentals course
10:20am-11:15amWorking with students during Open Math Time
11:20am-12:20pmStaff MeetingStaff Meeting
12:25pm-1pm(Optional) Lunch with students
1:05pm-2:05pmTeach Applied Math course
2:10pm-3:05pmWork with students during Open Math Time
3:05pm-4:05pm(Optional) Run an activity
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
9am-9:15am(Optional) Breakfast with students
9:20am-10:20amTeach Math Fundamentals course
10:20am-11:15amWorking with students during Open Math Time
11:20am-12:20pmStaff MeetingStaff Meeting
12:25pm-1pm(Optional) Lunch with students
1:05pm-2:05pmTeach Applied Math Course
2:10pm-3:05pmWork with students during Open Math Time
3:05pm-4:05pm(Optional) Run an activity

In general, we want our staff to be informal mentors for the students. You are welcome (and encouraged!) to stay for meals and social events to get to know the students on a personal level (we run sports, arts and crafts, dance, karaoke, board games, and much more), although this is entirely optional. (We also aim to build a community among our staff as well as among students, and so we host weekly staff dinners to allow you to meet other teachers and counselors at the program.)

We stay on a first-name basis with the students, and you will get to know the students well, and form close bonds with many of them. These connections are often some of the most valuable things students draw out of their summer. They're a wonderful group of kids, eager to learn, often without the opportunity to do so at this level, and we think you'll be as excited as we are to lead them on this journey.

A note on WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR

We seek individuals who have a depth of mathematical expertise, good pedagogical style, classroom management skills, and the potential to be a role model. Our courses are about understanding mathematics on a deep level rather than procedures, and we're looking for teachers who can create classes that reflect this. Furthermore, we are looking for staff member who can reflect and seek personal growth, for our students, themselves, and the entire program.

Evelyn NYC BEAM Discovery 2018

SALARY AND OTHER DETAILS

In an effort to provide entry points for people at multiple stages of their careers, we have introduced junior faculty positions in addition to our faculty positions. Teaching responsibilities are similar, but junior faculty engage in additional mentoring and support (see below for details).

Faculty Positions

In the application, we expect faculty to demonstrate a more independent ability to plan their own curriculum and classes. Faculty positions are especially intended for:

  • University professors, especially those with outreach experience,

  • Middle or high school teachers with strong mathematics backgrounds and 3+ years of experience, or

  • Graduate students in mathematics or related fields who have prior K-12 teaching experience.

We strongly welcome applicants in applied fields as well as those in mathematics. Computer science, astronomy, and genetics have all been part of our program in the past, so long as substantial mathematical reasoning was involved in the courses.

Junior Faculty Positions

Junior faculty have the same responsibilities as faculty, although they enter into a mentoring program guided by experienced BEAM instructors, and attend our course planning retreat.

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Junior faculty positions are intended for:

  • Graduate students in mathematics or related fields, especially those with outreach experience,

  • Early career middle or high school teachers with strong mathematics backgrounds and less than three years of teaching experience, or

  • Other professionals with limited teaching experience.

We expect Junior Faculty to teach two courses, but please contact us if you are interested but can only teach one. After two or three years of experience with BEAM, Junior Faculty are often invited back to be full faculty. Please note that junior faculty salaries are lower, to allow us to provide additional training and support.

Salary

Salary is based on what courses you are teaching. Because some classes involve reviewing homework or have fewer curriculum materials developed, we vary the salary based on the estimated workload. For summer 2019, the salary rates for new faculty are:

  • Logic, Math Fundamentals, or Math Team Strategies:

    • Faculty receive a total salary of $2400 for the summer, with $2100 for teaching the class and a $300 bonus for the post-camp work of student evaluations.

    • Junior Faculty receive a total salary of $2000 for the summer, with $1700 for teaching the class and a $300 bonus for the post-camp work of student evaluations.

  • Applied Math:

    • Faculty receive a total salary of $3200 for the summer, with $2900 for teaching the class and a $300 bonus for the post-camp work of student evaluations.

    • Junior Faculty receive a total salary of $2800 for the summer, with $2500 for teaching the class and a $300 bonus for the post-camp work of student evaluations.

We strive to pay our faculty well for their time, but we hope that you will see the program as we do: a labor of love that gives kids access to great mathematics. You may teach both a morning and afternoon class, allowing for salaries of $4000-$5600. Returning staff receive higher salaries based on the number of summers they have attended.

Supplies

We have a budget to purchase needed class supplies, as well as (low-cost) books for students to work out of. For example, you might want to teach a Logical Reasoning course out of a Raymond Smullyan book, or get Art of Problem Solving books for Math Team Strategies. We also can get a license for Mathematica, or other software (within reason).

We will have a printer available for as much printing as you need, and all students are provided with pencils, binders, and a backpack to use for BEAM.

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How To Apply

The main part of the application asks that you focus on one of the main topics and describe a class that you would teach in that topic. You are welcome to teach more than one topic area during the summer, but please apply in just one. We will consider your application and then afterward you may express interest in other areas as well.

To learn more about the different topics and apply, just click the links below for the course that interests you.

Please note that if you do not live in New York City or Los Angeles, you must have your own housing for the summer (we cannot provide it, although the salary is more than sufficient to arrange housing if needed). We do provide housing for BEAM 7 Faculty and if it seems more appropriate, then we encourage you to apply for those roles!

Additional NOtes

If you're wondering if you're a good fit for the program, please contact us at info@beammath.org to discuss your background.

We aim to provide strong role models for our students, and that means finding an instructional faculty that shares the background of our students as much as possible. Thus, we especially encourage applicants who come from underrepresented minority groups, applicants who have faced financial hardship while pursuing their education, and/or applicants who have experience in the New York City or Los Angeles school system. We are an equal opportunity employer, and so persons of color, women, and those with disabilities are all encouraged to apply. Showing a diversity in mathematical achievement is critical to our program's success.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will proceed to an interview. If you are unsure of your summer plans, we encourage you to apply early and then work out the details with us afterwards. If you need a quick decision from us, apply and let us know of your constraints.

We are always available to answer any questions you might have, so please feel free to get in touch. We look forward to working with you this summer!

Sincerely,

Don Laackman, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator, Los Angeles
don@beammath.org

Ruthi Hortsch, Ph.D.
Program Manager, New York City
ruthi@beammath.org

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