If you’re new here, long ago when I started teaching Calculus we had a morale problem. Prior to this, AP Math was something kids took because they had to or were told to. Numbers and the drop rate weren’t great, and there was even one year we couldn’t scrap together a Statistics class.
Now it’s six years later and AP Math is the place to be. We’ve had right at 100 students (up from the 70s) in Calc + Statistics for the last four years and a drop rate under 10%. Part of the success? Varsity Math. It might seem silly, but branding math class has done wonders for kids’ interest. It started with t-shirts but has expanded to sweatshirts, lanyards, patches, sunglasses, stickers, pens, pencils, pop grips, socks, and shoes. Yeah, there are shoes.
It’s not just about the stuff though. In tandem with merchandise we have a 90% exam enrollment rate, earning a distinction in our school accountability ratings. We have a wall in the school dedicated to past years and students who succeed on the exam. It’s a household name, now with many sets of siblings all having a turn.
This Tuesday is Merch Day. Students will be collecting their packs of goodies in preparation for a dress up day in November. Today the assembly line was hard at work sorting and stuffing orders.