Residential Intensive Math and Science Academy

Residential Intensive Math and Science Academy


The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), home of most
ACCESS CENTER pipeline schools, has responded to the overcrowding
crisis with alternative calendars, or "year-round" schools.
Therefore, the ACCESS Center has established an alternative calendar,
university based, Residential Intensive Math and Science Academy
(RIMSA) for 50, 7th and 8th grade minority and economically disadvantaged

As an early intervention program, RIMSA enhances and supplements
the regular classroom experiences, for these students, in mathematics,
science and creative writing. RIMSA targets schools and recruits
students who show potential but who are not in the top 10% of
a given class, therefore, recruitment focus' on average, middle
achieving students. Program staff includes; Cal State L.A. faculty
as guest lecturers; 3 teachers; 8 residential aides; 4 teacher
assistants; a program coordinator and secretary.

The goal of RIMSA is to reverse the disturbing statistics of college
entry among low-income and minority students by stimulating and
encouraging students to take control and excel in their formal
education. RIMSA seeks to prepare children for college by providing
a strong foundation for entering high school. The program specifically
addresses the problem of poor math and science skills in order
to reverse the downward spiral of college-going rates among low-income
and minority students.

RIMSA is designed to improve the cognitive skills of students
in science, math and creative expression, and to raise the level
of excellence and standards of student performance in these areas.
We believe that this direct student intervention program designed
to stimulate, encourage and involve the young learner will have
a permanent impact on their academic lives.

Program Objectives seek to:

1. Increase math scores as measured by pre and post written math
tests at the 7th grade level.

2. Increase the number of students who enroll in and successfully
complete algebra as a precursor to more advanced high school
college preparatory math sequences.

3. Increase the level of comfort with science lab work in the
natural and physical sciences.

4. Develop and reinforce reasoning, and effective oral and written
communication skills.

5. Increase parental involvement in their child’s math and
science education by participation in “rap” groups.

6. Develop computer skills (including use of spreadsheets, databases,
word processing and graphing).

7. Increase interest in high school math and science courses by
increasing the number of students performing at or above grade
level in math and science.


A. Science Themes: Health, The Environment, Water & Power,
and Space Discovery

The Classroom activities of RIMSA will concentrate on the themes
of Health Science, The Environment, Water & Power and Space
Discovery. Themes are important in “the learning” of
science because they are important in “the doing” of
science. Facts collected and categorized are only useful when
tied to major theoretical questions of the natural world as in
“why” it works and “how” its parts fit together.

1. Health Science - The Director of the CSLA Student
Health Center presents “Adolescent Health Awareness”
lessons for RIMSA. Students investigate the effects of exercise,
hygiene, and puberty on their physical and emotional self esteem.
The primary focus is on the individuals responsibility towards
health awareness and maintenance.

2. The Environment - The Wisconsin “Bottle
Biology” curriculum developed by the University of Wisconsin
Madison is used. This curriculum promotes science as a tool all
students can use to explore the world. Lessons contained within
Bottle Biology can be integrated with math, history, social science
and other disciplines.

3. Water and Power - Energy is a central concept
of the physical science because it is the foundation for all systems
of interaction. RIMSA students’ study will include, source;
energy conversion from one form to another; the relationships
between science, technology and society; and renewable versus
nonrenewable energy sources. The Los Angeles Department of Water
and Power will provide teaching materials, lecturers and field
trips to reinforce classroom presentations.

4. Space Discovery - As part of the study of space
discovery, the “Reaching for the Stars!” curriculum
will be used as a major science theme. “Reaching for the
Stars!” is a program developed by the U.S. Space Foundation
(a collaboration with NASA and several private companies) emphasizing
the history, personalities, landmark achievements and future career
opportunities of our nation’s space program.

B. Math Curriculum

The Algebra Project - Mathematics continues
to be the critical filter that eliminates underrepresented minority
students from careers in science, engineering and mathematics
(SEM), and algebra acts as a “gatekeeper” to the college
preparatory sequence
. The Robert Moses Algebra Project will be
used to teach pre-algebra to RIMSA students. The transition curriculum
used in the Algebra Project addresses the conceptual shift from
arithmetic to algebraic thinking. It is used in addition to the
standard algebra curriculum to reinforce principals and concepts
used throughout the Academy.

C. Parental Involvement

The RIMSA program emphasizes that parents are an essential link
between students and their studies. Every opportunity should
be afforded parents to empower themselves and take responsibility
of their roles as stakeholders in the education of their children.
Within RIMSA, parental involvement takes the following forms:

1. Increased literacy skills of parents in English, math, and
science through participation in workshops for better communication
with students and school personnel.

2. Direct understanding of their role and influence in their children’s
education through participation in Academy activities.

Through these means RIMSA aims to provide parents with opportunities
to become involved in their child’s educational program as
well as provide information and experiences that assist parents
in this endeavor. We hope to foster strong parental involvement
for the following reasons:

1. Parental involvement develops a partnership between parents
and students.

2. Parents will feel a sense of investment in the operation and
success of the Academy.

3. Problem solving for parent and student becomes an interactive

4. Parents can serve as “community ambassadors” who
will carry the message of the Academy back to the schools and
their communities.