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Among the many valuable resources available to students at Jesuit, the math lab may be one of the most unique and beneficial tools that, when taken advantage of, guarantees a significant boost along the path of absorbing and comprehending content from any mathematical subject you may be currently learning. The Jesuit Math Lab is a small room located in room B109 that can be accessed any period, at any time of the day, with teachers present to help aid you in any mathematical area ranging from Algebra One to Calculus.
If you’re new to the school, or are reluctant to ask for help, feel free to go in and ask a few questions as the teachers are more than happy to assist you. The teachers seek to help students even if it isn’t what they mainly teach, like Mrs. Patricia Gerber who said that “it’s really fun, especially when it’s over a topic I haven’t done in a while or taught because not only does it help remind me of the content but also helps me to work together with the student.” Mrs. Gerber also encourages students to use the sign in sheet when coming to receive help, as a student may tell their teacher that they’re “going to the math lab, but [the teacher] would really have no knowledge of that unless [they] sign in.”
A frequent face in the math lab, Evan Bausbacher ’17 noted, “The math lab serves as a quiet place where I can go to learn about concepts I might have missed during class and work one on one with teachers who are passionate about helping students. The math lab is an undervalued and under-appreciated part of Jesuit.”
Not only does the math lab serve the purpose of helping students in their math subjects, it also acts similar to a common area so that if you’re ever in need of a work zone within the school, you can head to the math lab at any time. Mrs. Gerber says that “sometimes students are doing homework or sometimes they’re just chatting! It’s a nice place that’s quiet so you can get stuff done.”
When the Math Lab first started in 1999, it was not nearly as accessible and convenient as it is to current students. According to Mrs. Blackford, who has been involved in the Math Lab since its origins, it first began as “one section” of the math department’s “office area. We had one circle table with chairs, and we didn’t offer services first period or after school. If a teacher was absent during the time they were assigned to the Math Lab then we didn’t have anyone to cover it.”
The Math Lab began to grow and see a greater flow of incoming students as they sought to take advantage of the opportunity to receive help at times when their teacher was not available or may have needed more one-on-one attention. Mrs. Blackford said that eventually, Math Lab outgrew its office area and they moved to “a dedicated room in the old library, but we outgrew that, so a few years ago we moved to a small room across from the stairs in the B building and we are now able to staff it before and after school. We have subs in there when one of the teachers assigned is out of school. Students are allowed to bring their lunches, and it has a smart board, so we’ve come a long way from having just one teacher answering questions to it now being an integral part of the school.”
The busiest times in the Math Lab are before and after school, as that is when teachers are most available in the math lab. It is also especially busy when marking periods are coming to a close, as students look for help in boosting their grade. The Math Lab also attempts to put teachers in a particular mathematical subject in a free period where students of that subject may reach them, like Mrs. Gerber who serves in the math lab during the fifth period which is sophomore lunch so many of her students in geometry may reach her at that time.
Jose Rivera ’16, president of the Mu Alpha Theta club expressed his thoughts on the Math Lab as he believes that it is “beneficial because freshmen don’t necessarily have the relationship with their teachers that a senior or a junior has,” thus making it easier to find a teacher to work within their studies. Rivera explained, “As you go up, you get into more complicated mathematics, so many of the math teachers aren’t able to offer help,” but the lab helps to remedy that problem.
Andres Quevedo ’19 echoed this sentiment saying, “It’s a good place to relax, do your math homework, talk with your math teachers, and really understand [the subject] away from all the distractions.”
The lab, then, is about improving one’s class performance, as Brian Meza ’18 stated: The “teachers in there [help me] understand everything and [I] ultimately get higher test grades.”
Joshua Betanzos ’18 finds the math lab to be a unique component of the school as “there is always a teacher in there to help you, even if they don’t normally teach the subject at Jesuit, and you can’t really find that anywhere else.”
Using this unique aspect of our school regularly will help you to reach almost any goal you have involving your math subjects and will overall improve your student career. Mrs. Blackford recalled having a student who would “come every day…who went off to Notre Dame and was eventually elected president of the student body.”