A Letter for Donors
MathEcoSpirit Academy is an educational initiative that seeks to holistically nurture the human potential. We will provide children with an environment that will enable them to explore the sacred and to become artists of mathematical, ecological, and spiritual creations that will benefit humanity. The school will be the first in the world to implement an innovative K-12 mathematics curriculum based on ideas and principles pioneered by the international community of math circles. Teachers will help children explore mathematical ideas through problem-solving and mathematical modeling, recreating the relaxed atmosphere and style of math circles that will exceed the expectations of the Common Core State Standards. Moreover, we will develop and implement a science curriculum based on principles of the Kids Growing Strong project in California and W.A.L.K.S. Grows Food in Puerto Rico. Teachers will help children-scientists discover how plants, insects, and animals grow in a farm or garden, and how biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and climatology inform our knowledge of the environment. Our lessons will exceed the expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards.
Moving away from the mechanical to the creative, our teachers will assist students in developing those qualities that will allow them to understand the wonders of natural, intellectual, and spiritual creations. Enjoying the journey of learning through inquiry and discovery in a non-competitive environment, teachers will foster in every child the need to understand, explore, and create. As part of this process, the comprehensive assessment of students’ progress will move away from homework and tests, believing that when teachers succeed in nurturing children’s innate love for learning, these become a hindrance to creativity. The academy will also be a strong promoter of agricultural and ecological sustainability. We are looking into Govardhana Eco Village and its implementation of Soil Bio Technology as an inspiration. Moreover, the academy will provide a forum where the entire community can gather to explore the sacred, inquire into the human condition, and practice a mindful approach to life.
If as a potential donor doubts enter your mind as to the feasibility of such an impressive project, rest assured we are two of the most qualified people on this planet to succeed at this. Dr. Rosario has a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, perennially ranked among the top schools of education in the nation. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, with a cumulative teaching experience of 15 years. In addition, he is an Associate Researcher at the Research Institute for Mathematics. He’s also the founder/director of the Puerto Rico Math Circle and a permanent member to the advisory board of the National Association of Math Circles, an initiative sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Moreover, he is a consulting affiliate at Axum Educational Solutions, a company started by his friend and co-author Dr. Jonathan Farley, the recipient of the Harvard Foundation Scientist of the Year award in 2004 and an internationally renowned mathematician. More importantly for us, Dr. Farley has promised to help us in our endeavor. Dr. Rosario has also signed a contract for his first book with a major British publishing house. On the other hand, Dr. Rosario’s wife, Verónica, is an award-winning organic school garden organizer and former homeschool teacher. Children are attracted to her in unbelievable ways. Like a teacher told her recently, “Verónica, you make things happen!”
This ambitious project requires substantial personal and financial risks, and one of the proponents will take a leave of absence from his position this summer to move to Mississippi to begin the groundwork. What risks? There are many, including leaving a stable financial situation and embracing financial uncertainty. To start, we urgently need donors to come forward with a small school building and a modest house for our family, or the house could serve both purposes. In fact, there is a 25-acre property in Carriere, Mississippi that would be ideal for the school. This land, situated next to the ISKCON New Talavan community, has a beautiful 3-acre pond and several structures. We intend to move to Carriere because that community is very supportive of the project and is willing to provide human and agricultural resources. The school will open this fall with our four youngest children as its first students, as well as one or two children from the local community. We intend to incorporate in about a year or to revive a school that closed in 2008. However, we will consider offers from other communities who would like to venture with us in this direction.
Please, contact us to talk about your donation. We will be in Mississippi from 25-29 May 2013.
Héctor Rosario, Ph.D.
16 May 2013