Volunteer of the Month — Valerie Konstantinova

Every day the efforts of BSI parents help make BSI a better school for our kids. Recently, Valerie Konstantinova, mom to Jake (301) and James (102) Bondarchuk, brought the Museum of Math (MoMath) to visit the 1st and 3rd grade and explore math concepts in some exciting and playful ways. MoMath will return to visit the 4th and 5th grades on 11/30/17 at 9am.

We asked Valerie if she could share her process with us.
 We hope she inspires you as she has inspired us.

Could you describe the program with MoMath that you brought to BSI?


The MoMath school visit program, in general, introduces students to new ways of thinking about math.  A typical presentation has 3 parts: (1) A topic in modern math related to school curriculum, (2) An area of science, technology, or business in which math plays an important role, and (3) A mathematical game or other interactive activity. The program MoMath brought to BSI in October aimed to show the relationship between the shape & size of an object and its sound.  Kids analyzed things like Violin and Viola, metal cylinders of various shapes, even turkey basters changing sounds when the water level was raising.

How did you think of starting a program like this?


My kids have been attending summer camp at the Museum of Mathematics over the last few years.  I was thinking that it would be great to continue with similar programs throughout the year, not just in the summer.  The commute to MoMath in Manhattan is a problem of course during the week – we live in South Brooklyn.  I was thinking it would be great if MoMath came to our school instead. I mentioned it to MoMath educator over the phone, probably few years ago. I hadn’t heard from MoMath until about few months ago they let me know that they are coming up with a school visit pilot where they’d be delighted to come to our school.

How did you make this happen? What were the steps to make this a reality?


I reached out to the teachers of my kids first (301 and 102). I know both are very supportive of field trips and school visits.  They were interested in MoMath coming  to their classrooms and very cooperative which helped me to set up the date.  I also emailed Eric and Anna [our Principal and Assistant Principal] in case they would want to observe the MoMath presentation in the school and so that they could provide their feedback.

What advice would you have for other parents at BSI?


As cliché as it sounds, parent’s involvement is important. Hundreds of research studies show that when parents get involved, children do better in school. Think of something that is your favorite and is easy — it could be a BSI Soccer Social. We have a soccer field at Seth Low now — you just need to reserve it and hope for good weather.

Thank you, Valerie, for this and the many, many things you do for our kids — we are all inspired by your work to make BSI a better place.