MFA makes mathematicians out of model teachers
Posted December 2, 2018
Jason Garofalo talks through an algebra problem with a student at the Marble Hill School for International Studies. Garofalo teaches mathematics through Math for America, a nonprofit organization that recruits math and science teachers.
By SIMONE JOHNSON
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More than 200 teachers in the Bronx alone champion Math for America, an organization that says it pushes students to confront problems with the same curiosity and passion scientists like Galileo Galilei and Albert Einstein have shown in the past.
And as the new academic year began in September, the fellowship program bestowed 300 four-year fellowships in math, science, and computer science to New York City teachers like Jason Garofalo, who works at the Marble Hill School for International Studies.
“There are multiple rewarding aspects of the program, but the respect and recognition I would say — and the sense of importance that I get about my job are encouraging,” Garofalo said.
Garofalo has taught at the Terrace View Avenue school for the past 11 years. But surprisingly, he wasn’t always destined to be a math teacher. When he first entered Manhattan College as a freshman, Garofalo had his sights set on an engineering degree.
It wasn’t until he had the opportunity to teach disabled students during a summer educational camp that he decided to switch majors, graduating with a degree in psychology and a minor in math.
While he was in graduate school at Columbia University, Garofalo heard about Math for America for the first time. It was started by hedge fund manager Jim Simons in 2004, and has since grown.
“It was too late for me to go into their new teacher program, so I kind of had to wait to apply to their master teacher fellowship,” Garofalo said. “So I spent my first three years waiting for Math for America.”
In the meantime, Garofalo taught at different smaller schools throughout the city. When it came time to finally apply, Garofalo learned that there was more to the process than just submitting an application and a letter of recommendation or two. The selection process is extensive, requiring applicants like Garofalo to submit a large volume of information about his education, teaching style and so forth. He also had to submit several essays and lesson plans — all before actually acing a pair of math exams.
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Garofalo, Jason [MC????]
# – # – # – # – # 2018-Dec-02 @ 11:11
I believe that Jason is a member of the class of 2004.
McEneney, Mike (MC1953)
[JR: Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated.]
Garofalo, Jason [MC2004]
# – # – # – # – # 2018-Dec-02 @ 22:49