A Teacher’s Perspective of The Education at KAMSC


In response to former KAMSC students dropping their courses in search of a more flexible management of time, Mark Cardwell from the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center who is a Mathematics and Computer Science Teacher gives his opinions on the topic of a student enrolling in KAMSC courses.

Reference to the previous knightlifenew.com article KAMSC Students Leave the Institution In Search of A Social Life:

1. Do you feel as though you give your students an adequate amount of homework? What do you estimate is the amount of time they should spend an average night on that homework? 

At KAMSC, 9th grade students will typically have daily homework for both Math and Science, normally Biology.  In addition, these students may have occasional homework for their third class, Information Technology.  The actual time requirement varies dramatically for each individual student, depending on how quickly they work and other factors, but there is also another component.  KAMSC students are often involved in one or more longer-term assignments, such as lab reports, research projects or career investigations.  This helps students develop many skills that are helpful for their long-term education, but it does take time.  As a result, most KAMSC students dramatically improve their time management and organization skills when compared to what they may have done in middle school.

2: Do you think KAMSC is right for every student? Why? 

In my view, KAMSC is not right for every student.  Every student needs to choose the programs that best meet his or her academic goals for both the short and long-term.  KPS students are fortunate to have access to a wide variety of programs at Loy Norrix, EFE, EFA, KAMSC and elsewhere. KAMSC is just part of this puzzle.  It offers a number of great opportunities that will be right for some students but may not be priorities for others.

3: What do you believe are the benefits of taking classes at KAMSC? What does the program prepare students for?

KAMSC offers many benefits and the relative importance of each of these is different for every student.  Obviously, KAMSC offers a rigorous and in some cases advanced Math, Science and Computer Science curriculum that meets needs for many students who have high interest in these subjects. KAMSC also helps students focus on a number of academic skills, ranging from organization and time management to laboratory research.

4: Is the invested effort worth it in the long run? Why?

For a vast majority of students who enter KAMSC, it appears that the invested effort is worth it.  Many KAMSC alumni make it a point to let us know this and to encourage students who are involved to stick with it if the program fits their needs.  The track record of KAMSC students for getting admitted to the college or other programs of their choice is very good, as is the record of success for those students when they get to college.

5: Do you have any advice for students enrolled in the program that are struggling with their KAMSC studies and handling their time management?  


I’m sure my students would tell you that I have way too much advice to offer.   I will offer two things here.  First, for 9th graders entering KAMSC, its important to know that not only is Loy Norrix or any high school an adjustment for most students, but KAMSC can be a big adjustment too.  It is normal for students to have to revise their time management, organization and efficiency skills and teachers and others will be happy to help students figure out how best to do this in a way that works for each individual student.  Second, a large majority of KAMSC students are very involved in extracurricular activities.  These range from varsity sports to music and theater to community service organizations to school clubs and many more.  To me, this makes it clear that the KAMSC experience can fit in very well with a full and well-rounded high school experience and that for most KAMSC students it does.