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About AoPS Academy
History & Philosophy
Art of Problem Solving textbooks have been used by outstanding students since 1993. The AoPS website launched in 2003, and its online community now has over 275,000 members. Many of the winners of each year's International Math Olympiad use the AoPS site as a primary training resource. The AoPS online school has over 15,000 enrollments annually in courses specifically designed for high-performing math students. Most of the winners of major American national math competitions are AoPS alumni, and thousands of our alumni enroll in top universities each year.
USAMO WinnersFor the past decade, most of the winners of the USA Mathematical Olympiad have been AoPS students. The twelve 2015 USA Mathematical Olympiad winners shown at right collectively took over 80 classes at the Art of Problem Solving Online School, and the six students on the United States team that won the 2015 International Mathematical Olympiad enrolled in more than 40 classes. The 2016 U.S. team repeated the 2015 team's success, and they, too, collectively took nearly 40 classes with AoPS. Photo is courtesy of the Mathematical Association of America, distributed under a CC license.
Maria Monks GillespieDr. Maria Monks Gillespie got her start in mathematics through competitions and programs such as AoPS. A two-time MOSP qualifier, she studied mathematics at MIT, where she wrote six undergraduate research papers and was awarded the Alice T. Schafer Prize and the Morgan Prize for her work. She was a recipient of the Churchill, NSF, and Hertz graduate fellowships, and recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. She is now an NSF postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Gillespie has taught in the AoPS Online School, as well as MOSP, IDEA MATH, Girls' Angle, and the Duluth REU over the last eight years. Most recently, she and her family founded Prove it! Math Academy, a two-week summer program for high school students designed to bridge the gap between computational and proof-based mathematics.
Evan ChenEvan earned a gold medal while representing Taiwan at the 2014 International Mathematical Olympiad. He was also a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner in 2014. He is one of the most well-respected members of the Art of Problem Solving online community, having earned more "thanks received" than any other student for his excellent commentary. Evan is the head problem writer for the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, and is currently studying pure mathematics at MIT. His olympiad geometry textbook, Euclidean Geometry in Mathematical Olympiads, was published by the Mathematical Association of America in 2016, and will be a staple in future top students' libraries.
Melody GuanMelody earned the prestigious International Physics Olympiad Bronze medal, International Chemistry Olympiad Silver medal, and the International Biology Olympiad Gold medal, all while representing Canada. She is also a two-time winner of the Math Prize for Girls Olympiad Bronze medal and was invited to the Canadian International Math Olympiad Training Camp in 2012. Melody graduated from Harvard University in 2016 with a B.A. in Honors Chemistry and Physics as well as an M.A. in Statistics. She maintained an overall GPA of 4.0 while pursuing both degrees. While at Harvard, Melody pursued opportunities as a Proprietary Trading Intern for D.E. Shaw & Co. and as a member of the Douglas Melton Laboratory developing assays to quantify insulin production by stem-cells. Following graduation, Melody joined the Google Brain research team as a deep learning resident.
Girishvar VenkatGirish was a USA Mathematical Talent Search perfect scorer in 2013, attended the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 2014, and was part of the US Team Selection Testing Group for the International Math Olympiad in 2015. He qualified for the USA Mathematical Olympiad four times, was an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist in 2016, and earned entry into the USA Computing Olympiad Platinum Division. He participated in the MIT PRIMES research program, researching representation theory. Outside of math, Girish is a huge fan of the Houston Texans and the San Antonio Spurs. He will be graduating from MIT in May 2018.
Davie RolnickDavie was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner in 2008, and credits much of his early math education to AoPS. He also attended the highly-selective Research Science Institute (RSI) summer program for high school students. He graduated from MIT in 2012 with a double major in mathematics and music, after which he became an instructor in the AoPS Online School. He spent a year in Berlin studying under a Fulbright grant, and then returned to MIT to pursue a Ph.D. in discrete math. When he's not doing math or singing, Davie plays word games, hikes, and studies moths (which are, after all, not dissimilar to maths).
Juan Carlos Ortiz RhotonJuan represented Mexico at the International Mathematical Olympiad four times, earning one gold and two silver medals. He also earned a gold medal at the Asian-Pacific Mathematical Olympiad, and a gold medal with a perfect score at the Iberoamerican Mathematical Olympiad. He attended the prestigious Summer Program in Applied Rationality and Cognition (SPARC) at Berkeley, and is currently studying mathematics at MIT.
Celine LiangCeline was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner in 2015 and was a team member of the United States team that won the Romanian Masters in Mathematics competition in 2016. She has attended the Math Olympiad Summer Program twice, won first place at the Math Prize for Girls in 2014, and won the Wendy Ravech Akamai Mathematics Scholar Award in 2015. She was a gold medalist in the USA Physics Olympiad in 2014 and 2015, and was invited to the Summer Program in Applied Rationality and Cognition (SPARC) at Berkeley. Celine was also a top-10 finisher in National MATHCOUNTS and was a member of the first place California team in 2011. She has taught at a variety of programs for younger students, and participates in the DACA competitive swim team, tennis, violin, and piano.
Alfredo Alef Pineda ReyesAlfredo represented Mexico at the 2017 International Mathematical Olympiad, earning a silver medal. He also received the highest silver medal score at the 2017 Iberoamerican Mathematical Olympiad, as well as back-to-back bronze medals at the 2016 and 2017 Asia Pacific Mathematics Olympiad. In the Summer of 2017, Alfredo was invited to the first ever European Summer Program on Rationality (ESPR), an immersive summer workshop for mathematically talented students from around the globe. When not competing in the international math competition circuit, Alfredo enjoys reading and swimming. He hopes to attend MIT where he’d like to study pure mathematics.
Francisco ProskauerFrancisco represented Puerto Rico twice at National MATHCOUNTS. During high school, Francisco was a member of the Puerto Rico team at the Central American Math Olympiad and Iberoamerican Mathematical Olympiad, winning medals twice at each event. In 2015 and 2016, he earned bronze medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad. He also participated in the first summer of the EuroSPARC (now ESPR) program. He was a frequent contributor to the AoPS Online Community, spending most of his time solving problems and posting problems from competitions, and now works for AoPS as a teaching assistant and grader. Outside of math, Francisco enjoys singing in his a capella group, fantasy sports, and listening to hip-hop. He is currently in his sophomore year at MIT studying computer science.
Blythe DavisBlythe's scientific research has been published by the American Museum of Natural History and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also attended the prestigious Research Science Institute (RSI) summer program. Blythe is currently an undergraduate majoring in mathematics at Duke University, where she studies graduate-level math and has represented the university at the COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). Blythe is also pursuing a minor in creative writing, and has already published several short stories.
Elissa RedmilesSince graduating from the University of Maryland in 2013 with a degree in computer science, Elissa has presented her research at prestigious conferences held by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and The USENIX Association. She is currently back at the University of Maryland working on her Ph.D. in computer science, where her research interests include subjects such as cybersecurity, survey methodology, and machine learning. Elissa has been awarded the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Defense, and the Facebook Fellowship. She has written for Scientific American and The Conversation, and her work has been covered by the Maryland Cybersecurity Center as well as TechRepublic.
Arjun RamaniArjun recently finished in third place at the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search (formerly Intel STS), the nation's oldest high school science research competition hosted in Washington D.C., where he was awarded a $150,000 scholarship. He is also a 2017 Davidson Fellow, a distinction that comes with a $25,000 scholarship, awarded to only 20 high school students in the nation. Arjun was a USA Mathematical Olympiad qualifier in 2016 and a USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad qualifier in 2015. At the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), he earned second and third place in Mathematics in 2016 and in 2017, respectively, and fourth place in Chemistry in 2015. He is National Merit Finalist, National AP Scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society. Arjun is currently a freshman at Stanford University where he studies computer science, economics, and mathematics. He is also a member of the Stanford Debate Society.
With AoPS Academy, Art of Problem Solving brings its curriculum and pedagogical techniques to the classroom.
Focus on Challenging Problems
A generation ago, there were many intellectual careers that required repeatedly solving routine problems. Most of those jobs are performed by computers now. Successful people in the next generation will need to develop new skills throughout their careers as their older skills become obsolete. Therefore, we go well beyond the basics in our classes, providing students a deep and rigorous curriculum while training students how to tackle difficult problems that are not replicas of problems they've already seen. This teaches students how to learn, so they'll be ready for the challenges of top-tier colleges and internationally competitive careers.
Students best learn how to solve hard problems by tackling the problems themselves, not by watching passively as others do the work. In our classrooms, students solve each problem, with instructors asking motivating questions as guidance. Only after the students have solved a problem does the instructor provide direct commentary that reinforces key insights.
Outstanding Peer Group
AoPS Academy draws strong students from many schools, giving AoPS students an outstanding peer group with whom they can learn, form friendships, and draw inspiration. Each year, the AoPS network has many students earn admission to highly selective colleges like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. Their work in AoPS classes helps prepare them for the competitive, challenging environment they'll find in these schools.
Collaborative efforts have become crucial in most professional environments, so AoPS is expanding to language arts instruction through AoPS Academy. We extend this emphasis on communication to our math classes, in which students learn how to express their advanced mathematical ideas clearly and rigorously.
During the school year classes meet weekly, bringing together small groups of high-performing students to work with outstanding instructors. Our summer courses keep students sharp for the upcoming school year.
The AoPS Academy curriculum is carefully designed to prepare students for the rigors of advanced university classes and highly competitive careers. In both our math and language arts classes, we stress both the fundamentals and extending those fundamentals to advanced applications. Students develop a deep understanding of new concepts, and learn how to use them in complex situations.
AoPS Academy instructors are chosen based both on proven domain expertise as well as their pedagogical skills. Many of our instructors have advanced degrees, and our curriculum is designed by experts in their fields.
Richard RusczykArt of Problem Solving was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is one of the co-authors of the Art of Problem Solving classic textbooks, author of Art of Problem Solving's Introduction to Algebra, Introduction to Geometry, and Precalculus textbooks, co-author of Art of Problem Solving's Intermediate Algebra and Prealgebra, one of the co-creators of the Mandelbrot Competition, and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He received the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions Paul Erdös Award in 2014. He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard's return to his vocation - educating motivated students.
David PatrickDave joined AoPS in 2004. He is the author of Art of Problem Solving's Introduction to Counting & Probability, Intermediate Counting & Probability, and Calculus textbooks, and co-author of Prealgebra. Dave earned the sole perfect score on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME) in 1988 and was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner that year. He attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987, and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, where he first met fellow student Richard Rusczyk. He also finished in the top 10 on the Putnam exam in 1991. Dave graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 with a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science and an MS in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He was an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 1997 to 2001. Dave is originally from Western New York and is an alumnus of the SUNY Buffalo Gifted Math Program.
Jason BattersonJason joined AoPS in 2010 to lead development of the Beast Academy series. Before joining AoPS, he taught mathematics and coached the math team at Ligon Middle School. Ligon won state MATHCOUNTS titles in 2008 and 2009, where Jason taught a future International Math Olympiad gold medalist. In addition to teaching and coaching at Ligon, Jason coached the math team at Fred Carnage Middle School for the 2009-2010 school year. Ligon and Carnage placed 1st and 2nd respectively in the state MATHCOUNTS competition in 2010, with 6 of the state's top 10 competitors coached by Jason. While teaching, Jason wrote and published Competition Math for Middle School. He enjoys puzzles, running, skiing, and playing in the pool with his kids Parker and Ada.
Michael Clay ThompsonMichael Clay Thompson has written more than 60 books, all with Royal Fireworks Press. An acclaimed teacher, speaker, and workshop presenter, he has inspired thousands of students and educators with a new love of language and literature. Michael Clay Thompson received his bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University and his MA from Western Carolina University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and as an online instructor in Language Arts for the Northwestern University Gifted Learning Links program. He has been a faculty member of the Wake Forest University Summer Institute for Gifted Education and the UNC/Charlotte Summer Institute for Gifted Education. He has served on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association of Gifted & Talented and as President of the Indiana Gifted Association. He was formerly a consultant to the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, and consultant and Lead Scholar for the National Javits Project for Language Arts.
Our math curriculum is centered on students solving problems. Rather than spoon-feed students material for them to echo, we guide them through the experience of developing new mathematical ideas. Our focus on rigor provides a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, while our approach to creative problem-solving trains students to handle novel mathematical and scientific situations. Graduates of our math program will be well-prepared to continue their math-related studies at outstanding universities, and be equipped for a rapidly-shifting professional landscape. Each class session includes:
- Extensions of past topics: Students solve challenging problems based on the previous week’s material, both to review recent topics and to hone their problem-solving abilities.
- Introduction of new fundamentals: Students explore a series of problems to add new strategies and tools to their toolboxes.
- Challenging problems: Students reinforce their understanding of their new tools by applying them to more difficult problems, some of which are drawn from major national and international contests.
- Collaborative problem-solving: Occasionally groups of students work together on particularly challenging problems, with successful groups presenting their solutions to the class.
AoPS Academy classes aren't confined to the classroom. Our classes employ many of the online resources that have been cornerstones of the AoPS online school for over a decade. Our Academic Year math courses include the following support material outside the classroom:
- Weekly homework: Students have a weekly homework set including problems with a wide range of difficulty. Students receive instant feedback on the accuracy of their work, and have access to detailed solutions after finishing each problem.
- Weekly reminder emails: Students and parents receive weekly emails detailing the students' progress and upcoming due dates.
- Thorough reporting: Students and parents can view detailed reports regarding students' performance.
- Class outlines: Students can access class outlines online. Outlines are linked to reading material, so students can review past classes, prepare for future classes, and catch up when they miss classes.
- AoPS textbooks: All students receive AoPS textbooks and have assigned reading each week in support of the weekly lesson.
Language Arts Courses
Our core language arts classes in grades 2-12 teach students both the craft and art of effective communication. Instruction focuses on multiple components of writing, building from the fundamentals to give students a deep appreciation of language. Graduates of our language arts program will be fluent writers and excellent critical readers. They'll develop these skills by starting from words, progressing to sentences, and then organizing these sentences into well-constructed paragraphs, essays, and stories.
Class sessions include instruction in three broad areas:
- Vocabulary: Expressing oneself and understanding intricate writing starts with a mastery of the basic building blocks of language: words. Our study of vocabulary extends far beyond simply memorizing definitions. We emphasize the stems, origins, and other tools to help students develop a rich palette from which they can choose the right word at the right time.
- Grammar: Our students learn grammar by studying passages from classic literature and other primary sources, through which they learn how to comprehend complex passages. They then learn how to apply this understanding to their own writing to produce well-structured, effective prose.
- Writing: All of our core language arts instruction targets students' writing skills. Our students write, analyze, edit, and then write some more. Rewriting is at the heart of excellent writing, so many of our writing assignments are spread over several weeks, with students revisiting and refining their own work based on instructor feedback and in-class discussion of their work.
In addition to our core writing classes, we also offer specialty classes for high school students in public speaking, debate, literature, and advanced writing.
Summer learning loss is a well-documented educational concern, with students regularly losing proficiency in math and reading during their idle summer months. AoPS Academy offers summer classes in math and language arts to keep students sharp and get them prepared for the upcoming school year. Our math and language arts summer programs include a variety of two-week camps featuring activity-based learning designed to pique students’ curiosity and keep them engaged.
Our summer Math Beasts camps extend topics that students learned in the past year and allow students to explore new areas of math. Each camp features Problem Solving and Mathematical Exploration:
- Problem Solving: In Problem Solving, students review a key topic from the previous year and then explore that topic further, pushing their understanding well beyond grade level. Students engage with Problem Solving through math-related games and puzzles, challenging activities that call for group collaboration, and intriguing problems that encourage students to think in novel ways as they apply new skills.
- Mathematical Exploration: Through our Mathematical Explorations, students encounter new topics that are typically not introduced until much later in their schooling, and mathematical strategies they can apply throughout their education. This year, our camps will take on a variety of topics including spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, working backwards, invariance, graph theory, and cryptography.
Our Middle School Math Contests camp is an excellent fit for students seeking to prepare for contests like MATHCOUNTS and the American Mathematics Competitions–or for students who simply want an extra challenge over the summer. In this camp, students are introduced to important new topics while reviewing and applying concepts they have already encountered to advanced problems. Students also participate in practice individual and team competitions during the camp, gaining both mathematical skills and test-taking experience that will prepare them for key events in the upcoming school year.
Our Book Clubs for Elementary and Middle School challenge students to dive deep into an intellectual idea and explore that idea from multiple angles. Students read several challenging works concurrently, building their comprehension skills while experiencing a rich variety of texts, from nonfiction to graphic novels to classic literature. Each day features a mix of focused reading and writing activities, interactive games, and public speaking exercises, all designed to keep students engaged and excited as they build new skills. Woven into each class are key academic vocabulary terms, which are built into the lessons to arise at exactly the right moment when they will be the most relevant and memorable.
Our writing camps provide a venue for students to hone their writing and critical thinking skills over the summer. In Creative Writing for Elementary School, students learn the craft of fiction while composing their own short stories and poems alongside their classmates. Classes feature a mix of interactive writing activities and engaging lessons in the elements of storytelling and poetry. Our Academic Essay Writing camp introduces students in grades 7-10 to the craft of essay writing at a college level. In addition to teaching students how to plan and write an academic essay, the camp explores the purpose behind such essays, examining their role both in academic settings and in the real world. By thinking critically about academic writing as an intellectual pursuit, students become not just better writers but deeper thinkers.