BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ -- Nervous parents were assured Monday night that a popular math competition team at William Annin Middle School will have the resources to participate in the national program this year.
Parents were worried that the school’s Mathcounts team wouldn’t be able to organize because it lacked a staff member as an adviser. District math supervisor Tara Bowman had been the advisor, but she retired at the end of the school year.
Mathcounts is a national middle school mathematics competition that “builds problem-solving skills and fosters achievement through four levels of fun, in-person ‘bee’ style contests,” according to its website. A team consists of 10 students.
At Monday’s Bernards Township Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Nick Markarian said the district would work something out to provide a faculty adviser, but was unsure how that would be accomplished. Sometimes it is hard to find someone willing, even if there is a stipend, Markarian said. Often that is because of the time demands, including weekends and travel, he said.
The school needs to give permission for a team to enter the competition, Markarian said. To avoid a late fee, registration must be filed by Dec. 1, according to the rules.
Unless specifically acted upon otherwise, the district will only pay an adviser once a club has been established for three years in order to ensure a club will endure and there is a fair process of choosing an adviser. Parent Rajesh Madabushi told the board it should address the policy to encourage advisers. Other adults said the club praised the club, saying it stimulates academic thinking and motivates students to learn.