FIM News

New York State Maths Stars Shine in Albany

First In Math partners with New York State Education Department to sponsor statewide elementary math competition.

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and Suntex International Inc. joined forces to bring a Statewide Elementary Mathematics Tournament to New York, culminating in a May 20, 2023 Championship that saw 150 elementary school students from across the state compete in a first-of-its-kind math event at the University at Albany.

All New York State students in grades 1 through 5 enrolled in Suntex International’s innovative FIRST IN MATH program were invited to participate in this groundbreaking tournament. To get to the Championship, students had to compete in an online "Virtual Regional Tournament" that whittled down participants into just 50 Teams — three students per grade from the same school — coming from 10 regions across the state.

Regional Tournament winners were awarded $1,000 for their school. The first-place Team at each grade level at the Statewide Championship took home a $5,000 prize for their school; second and third-place winners took home silver and bronze medals.

The University's Campus Center Ballroom was filled with tables supervised by state-certified teachers trained as Proctors — each occupied by three "very energetic" students, according to NYSED Deputy Education Commissioner Jason Harmon. "We have students from every corner of the state here. It's a really exciting opportunity for students to show what they can do when it comes to mathematics."

"Exciting!" was the first word that came to mind for Shannon Logan, NYSED Director of Standards, Instruction, and Educational technology. "We have 150 children from first grade to fifth grade here today with parents, teachers and administrators all to compete together."

Dr. Santosha Oliver, NYSED Assistant Commissioner from the Office of Standards and Instruction, delivered a heartfelt message that spoke to the nature and importance of the event: "Students who excel in math today will be the innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow."

Each Team of three students worked together on grade-appropriate challenges based on games from First In Math and Suntex's popular 24® Game series.

Competition focused on building “wheels” using four different numbered cards placed on a board. Grades 1-2 built wheels with a sum of 10, with points given for how many wheels were made and if duplicate numbers were used. Grades 3, 4 and 5 had to match numbers with a common factor to build a wheel, with the number of points corresponding to each wheel's common factor.

"This was a real test of the math skills students had been practicing all year, as students were presented with things they had not seen until right before the event," explains Robert Sun, First In Math/24 Game inventor and the founder of Suntex. Sun headed the First In Math team tasked with planning the virtual and in-person math challenges students would face. "Students had to build on the math they knew, but apply it in new ways, demonstrating deep understanding and mastery of not only fact fluency, but procedural fluency, at their grade level."

Watch video highlights of the event

Andrea Faoro, program manager and NYSED Associate in Instructional Services, Mathematics, says the championship event required a lot of cooperation and took about a year to plan. "Everyone from NYSED, the First In Math team and all of our volunteers did a fantastic job, the tournament was a huge success!"

In 2020, NYSED selected the First In Math Online Program as a resource to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) readiness for K-5 students throughout the state and provided free access to all schools. Students use First in Math in class or at home as an additional resource to promote math and improve fact fluency, procedural fluency and computational-thinking skills. 

Part of the NYSED's Expanded Mathematics Access Program (EMAP) for Grades K-5, this initiative exists to provide students with access to online standards-based, math games and activities at no cost to NYS districts or students. The additional practice provides support to assist students in meeting grade-level fluency expectations and is accessible at school and at home to further help families to support their student’s math education. The use of this optional program is flexible. This flexibility can include enrichment/extension, fun summer learning, and/or to supplement/complement current work being done in the classroom.

2023 New York State Elementary Mathematics Tournament Winners

1st grade:

  • 1st place — Bolivar Road Elementary, Chittenango Central School District (Wilson Cary, Brayden Calabro, John Enders)
  • 2nd place — W.S. Mount Elementary, Three Village Central School District (Aurna Chakraborty, Isaac Wang, Michael Gerber)
  • 3rd place — P.S. 144 Col. Jeromus Remsen, New York City Community School District 28 (Mark Wofsey, Kara Chen, Owen Forman-Maltz)

2nd grade:

  • 1st place — Pine Brook Elementary, Greece Central School District (Gemma Pisciotti, Rediet Yilma, Santino Markle)
  • 2nd place — New Explorations Science Technology Math, New York City Community School District 1 (Rinka Akayama, Raima Das, Isabella Lu)
  • 3rd place — Deasy Elementary, Glen Cove City School District (Dru Wilson, Tommy Scagliola, Jacob Palazzo)

3rd grade:

  • 1st place — Nassakeag Elementary, Three Village Central School District (Talinn Kim, Catherine Hu, Easton Tang)
  • 2nd place — George A. Jackson Elementary, Jericho Union Free School District (Eugene Wong, Andrew Li, Matthew Huang)
  • 3rd place — Chancellor Livingston Elementary, Rhinebeck Central School District (Alexander Kim, Somi Rothenhaus, Brayden Traudt)

4th grade:

  • 1st place — Thornell Road Elementary, Pittsford Central School District (Herene Shim, Naveen Madhavan, Kazmir Povelaites)
  • 2nd place — Hinsdale Central Elementary, Hinsdale Central School District (Mya Goodling, Mia Souder, Avery Vosler)
  • 3rd place — Hampton Bays Elementary, Hampton Bays Union Free School District (William Loudenslager, Jack Huebner, Annabel Ramsay)

5th grade:

  • 1st place — Main Street School, Irvington Union Free School District (Nicholas Bugaj, Ella Soleimani, Cassidy Reichgott)
  • 2nd place — George F. Johnson Elementary, Union-Endicott Central School District (Caleb Peck, Sophia Shi, Aidan Lewin)
  • 3rd place — P.S. 94 David D. Porter School, New York City School District 26 (Kyle Wang, Nathan Chen Liu, Gabriel Valladares)

New York Student Shares Love for First in Math

Even before the New York State Education Department [NYSED] chose First In Math Online as a resource to support STEM readiness for K-5 students throughout the state, Colonel Jeromus Remsen School (PS144Q in Forest Hills; CSD 28) had already signed on to strengthen two areas of focus:  Math and helping students of all skill levels.

"In 2020, the arrival of the Pandemic highlighted the importance of supporting students," explains Nan Ronis of First In Math. Mathematics Enrichment Teacher Debra Kessler and Principal Jennifer Lucadamo created a plan that would support both Math Achievement and the school’s focus on students. Kessler initiated the implementation, energizing each class, starting with her own fourth-grade remote students.

As part of a fourth-grade remote team, Ethan Chan and his peers soon became First In Math champions simply by explaining and playing First In Math while visiting other classes. "That leadership role was very important for Ethan," says Kessler. Now a fifth grader, he shares his experience with the program and how it speaks to student needs, as well as Math Achievement.

What I Love About First in Math

by Ethan Chan

If there’s one thing I love about First in Math, it would be how it connects the whole classroom together. First in Math is like the threads that hold a shirt together: binding and bringing the classroom together as one. Whenever my classmates play First In Math, we talk and share our ideas.

“What games do you play?”
“How did you get so many stickers?”
“Look, this person is in second place, that’s amazing!”

This is what I would often hear throughout my classroom. Just talking and asking questions about how someone got so many points would always put a smile on a person's face. And there would be a good chance you would get a smile on your face if you were asked these questions.

In addition, First in Math also applies educational learning and fun! I always learn something new about math. This is what I love about First in Math. Not only does it play the role of weaving the school together, I often find it an opportunity to make a new friend or two. So get out there and open up First in Math. Once you’re in your classroom, or at home with your friends or siblings, the magic of this program will finally begin.

Editor's Note: Ethan Chan's letter about why he loves First In Math is wonderful, and I thank his parents for allowing me to share it with you. Kudos to Principal Jennifer Lucadamo and First In Math School Anchor Debra Kessler for inspiring their students to such high levels of math achievement: currently the #1 First In Math School in the State and #8 in the U.S. —Robert Sun, Inventor of the 24® Game and creator of FIRST IN MATH®.

"First In Math Has Been An MVP During the Pandemic"

One Billion is an incredibly large number that can be hard to comprehend. Consider this: one million seconds = 12 days, but one billion seconds = 32 YEARS.

Incredibly, First In Math students solved ONE BILLION MATH PROBLEMS online during the pandemic!

Is this amazing feat simply a result of special circumstances? No. Can this level of deep practice be sustained? Absolutely! Since First In Math was launched in 2002, students have solved more than 26.2 BILLION math problems and counting.

In the words of Dr. Jack Silva, Chief Academic Officer of the Bethlehem Area School District:

"First In Math has been an MVP during the pandemic. One instructional challenge has been finding fun, challenging, and relevant web-based programming that students can use from home to strengthen foundational skills. Too often such programming is either boringly simple or painfully difficult. First In Math has been just right – providing engaging, meaningful learning experiences that teachers can use to introduce, refresh, or extend important skills. Bethlehem students enjoy the games and challenges, and we have seen improvement in students' math skills when they meet their individual FIM goals."

We don't move the needle in math achievement alone. To our partners — the students, teachers, administrators and parents who played a part in this year's accomplishment by continuing to reach for the stars under difficult circumstances — THANK YOU!

I look forward to everything we can accomplish together in the coming year and can't wait to welcome even more new partners to the First In Math family. Let's get primed to think mathematically!

Robert Sun
24 Game and First In Math Inventor
Founder and Chairman, Suntex International Inc.

First In Math Distance Learning Initiative in India

Reported by Monica Patel, CEO, First In Math India Pvt. Ltd.

Monica Patel, CEO, First In Math India Pvt. Ltd., with several students.

In early March, it was clear that school closures in India, US, and the UK were going into effect sooner rather than later due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. First In Math® founder & inventor, Robert Sun, launched a global online initiative to ensure schools could continue to engage students with mathematics. Lack of maths practice = loss of skill retention & increasing fluency gap. That happens when a subject has spiraling curriculum.

It has been deeply satisfying to see schools come on board quickly to prevent 'maths-skills slide'. Since March, more than 60,000 new classrooms have registered.

The important question is, "are they doing the math"?

YES, and then some! The number of problems solved since closure is 153,648,203 & rising. We are blessed to serve children from rural Jharkhand to elite academies in Pennsylvania, to schools of New York City. Here is what I have learned:

1. First In Math's Personalized Learning works for any child, at any skill level, from any socio-economic background, in any country.

2. The power of maths does not differentiate a race, culture, country, color, or income.

3. A successful program needs to be rooted in scientific design and positive psychology, and to be supported by school leaders, principals and educators.

Florida Student Shares His Passion for First In Math

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL—Nine-year-old Kurt Pfahl, a student at Breakfast Point Academy, has been involved with First in Math Online since first grade, but these days the newly-minted third-grader is busy generating a lot of buzz about the innovative mathematics program throughout Bay District Schools.

Kurt Pfahl with Bay District Schools Superintendent, William V. Husfelt
Kurt Pfahl with Bay District Schools Superintendent, William V. Husfelt, in 2018.

His father, Chris Pfahl, describes Kurt as very competitive, and says it was natural that when he began using First in Math’s digital-gaming format his desire to win would become a dedication to excellence. Kurt set ‘having the most points in his class’ as an initial goal. He accomplished that objective with relative ease, then adjusted his aim toward being #1 in his school. He hit that target, too.

“After that, Kurt told me there was a family-involvement option called Family Link and asked if we could team up and try to be the best Family Team in the entire District. I reluctantly agreed, but I had no idea what I was getting into,” laughs Pfahl. Their partnership culminated in both Individual and Family Top 10s within the District, and a #2 State and #8 National Ranking among all second-graders. 

At the same time, something else began to happen. Something magical. “Kurt’s favorite thing in the world to do is play basketball, which is great because it allows me to spend extra time with him as the coach of our local beach recreation league,” explains Pfahl. “I walked into basketball practice one day and asked my son and another boy to get off their tablets and start warming up. They asked for two more minutes to level-up on First in Math—that’s when I knew it was serious.”

Pfahl says that he saw mathematics become a cool competition between kids who were not overly interested in it before. “Soon soccer players who had never played it started to use it and compete. When others saw my son succeed—and have fun—a very unique mix of athletes and scholars began to compete and learn. This program gives all types of kids an opportunity to interact with their peers in a positive way about mathematics.”

When asked if he could give any advice to new players, Kurt answered like a true competitor: “If you want to get stickers quickly, go after VIF’s (Very Important Facts) and under the Bonus Module try the Estimation game. You can jam out a lot of stickers on those.”

Pfahl credits Kurt’s First grade teacher, Renee Miller, for sparking his early interest, and applauds Bay District Schools Mathematics Instructional Specialist, Cylle Rowell, and the entire team at BDS for bringing First In Math into the curriculum. “My son is a good student in mathematics, but this app has made him a great student.”

Editor’s note: Rowell was in the early stages of discussion about organizing a district-wide FIM event and award ceremony for this year, but that event will be delayed due to local devastation from Hurricane Michael. She is encouraged by the level of involvement First In Math can generate, and remains excited to help students and promote math achievement in the community.

You've Got Mail!

EASTON, PA—First In Math is excited to announce our new Notifications System, designed to keep Teachers, Principals and Administrators up-to-date about everything in the First In Math universe.

“This is great way for educators to get important information specific to them, as well as communication intended for everyone, like announcements of new games, new features, or links to online PD,” says Suntex Executive Vice President Nan Ronis.

A clickable MAIL icon now appears on each educator’s Homepage whenever there is a message waiting.

According to First In Math India Pvt. Ltd. CEO Monica Patel, the FIM Notification System allows educators to check their FIM “inbox” at any time, mark messages as read, and even scroll through or search an archive of already-read messages. “This will be an extremely valuable feature, allowing us to communicate useful information to everyone in a timely manner.”

If you have a FIM Educator or Admin User ID, log in to your Homepage now to view your first Notification. Click the link in the message for a full overview of this new upgrade.

First In Math Makes Special Connection with Darbari Lal Foundation Public School (DLFPS) Students and Parents

SAHIBABAD, INDIA—Apr 21, 2018 was a special day as the first Formal Induction Programme for Classes Pre-Nursery to III and PTM for Classes IV - XII created a unique connect between parents and teachers. A First In Math® (FIM) Online program Year-End Awards Ceremony was especially organised to appreciate the outstanding efforts of students and parents of Classes KG to V.

Principal Mrs. Seema Jerath presents the First in Math Family Achievement Award
to the Kumar family players!

“Where Maths is a dreaded subject for most schools, our learners engage excitedly with the online programme First In Math,” says DLFPS Principal Ms. Seema Jerath – a winner of several National Leadership awards. “What is a delight to share is, as a collective effort the school continues to remain the No. 1 school across India and at No. 2 Internationally, second to a school in Florida. This year our young learners solved a whopping 1 crore 12 lakhs plus problems—an average of 10,207 solved per child.”

On the FIM dashboard DLFPS has the longest Wall of Fame in the world, with the largest number of Champions & Grand Champions. While 30 Delfites were awarded FIM Most Valuable Player Badges, Daksh Kumar, Class II, was felicitated with a commendation certificate for solving more than 1 lacs 10 thousand problem. He is in 3rd place on National Rankings. Out of the top 100 highest scoring families across India, 13 positions are held by parents of DLFPS on National Top Family Players. 

Principal Jerath explains that First In Math’s self-directed and joyful learning lets the students take ownership and control of their learning processes. This is an affirmation of the transformational culture of the school where there is no fear of Math! Delfites don’t do these sums out of fear or for marks. They do it for the sheer fun of Maths! 

“I am deeply moved by this,” says First In Math India Pvt. Ltd. CEO Monica Patel. “The nurturing environment provided at DLFPS is reflected in the spirit with which students interact with First In Math. Exceptional leaders like Director Dr. Mrignaini, strongly support program leader Ms. Chhavi Kumar who rallied the entire community to success.”

Shared one excited parent, who echoed the sentiments of many at the ceremony, “We are glad that our children have channelized their energy in this fun-learning program and feel very proud of them today as they stand there on the podium receiving award for their efforts, that too in a subject like Math which most of us fear.”

Empowering A Special Child: One Family’s
Journey of Transformation

Raising a child with special needs can be a rollercoaster of emotion for parents, according to First In Math India CEO, Monica Patel. Her son, Shonak, was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism nearly 20 years ago.

Shonak Patel and his mother, Monica.
First In Math India CEO, Monica Patel, and her son, Shonak.

“Unfortunately, at that time in India and overall, there was a lack of understanding about special-needs children,” explains Patel. School was soon a social, emotional and academic struggle. She and her husband, Pulkesh, decided their son needed a more inclusive social structure along with better education options—and made a bold move all the way to the United States, settling in Bethlehem, PA.

At his new school, Shonak discovered a love for mathematics—and flourished. He had found his niche. In sixth grade, his maths teacher encouraged him to participate in the First In Math Online program, and he eventually bested 600,000 students to become the #1 player in the U.S., all grades, in 2006.

“For the first time, hundreds of his middle school peers stood up to applaud him and in that moment he went from being invisible to becoming the pride of his school and the local community,” says Patel, who, more than 10 years later, is still visibly moved.

The experience with First In Math was such a powerful one, she eventually introduced the program to India, becoming CEO of First in Math India Pvt. Ltd., in 2014. “When I share Shonak’s success story with people, I also make sure that they understand First In Math is for ALL students—average, gifted, struggling, urban or rural,” says Patel. “A program such as this has the power to work for all our children and it would be a shame to see it get boxed-in to one category.”

While she has been preaching the gospel of First In Math for years, only recently has Patel been willing to share her family’s private journey. “My personal experience is a small part of this, but if I can help any family I am willing to talk about it.” After moving to the U.S., Patel obtained a Masters degree in Special Education from Lehigh University, and says that fully embracing and accepting her son’s autism came only after her own education and research. “It is hard to admit now, but no challenge was greater for us than my initial years spent in complete denial about his autism.”

Now 24, Shonak is acknowledged as a top mathematician, and is ready to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University. He was recently featured in a PARENTS WORLD cover story. “It was making a connection, in his case with maths, that motivated him in every aspect of life,” says Patel, who urges parents to help their child identify the interests he or she chooses. “Find the best tools to hone their skills until excellence becomes a way of life, and autism is carried with pride.”

First In Math Champions, Then and Now: James O'Shea

EASTON, PA—Eight years ago, eighth-grader James O'Shea outperformed more than 500,000 of his peers to claim the title of #1 Player Nationwide—all grades—in the First In Math® Online Program for the 2009-2010 school year. It was his third and final appearance in the prestigious National Top Ten.

In 2010 and in 2018 - James O'Shea and Robert Sun 
James O'Shea and First In Math creator, Robert Sun - 2010 and 2018

Fast-forward to 2018. O’Shea, home from college on winter break, is sitting across the table from one of his mentors, creator of the First In Math online program, Robert Sun, reminiscing about his FIM days and discussing future plans.

The busy Economics and Pre-Health double major graduates from Notre Dame in the Spring, where he is also an undergrad Teaching Assistant for both biology and statistics. “It's crazy how time has passed so quickly since my days playing First In Math. I was looking through the website the other day, and it's incredible how much it has changed. There are so many more games and topics for kids to explore. It's great how big the program has become, and its user base has exploded.”

O'Shea is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, one of the world's largest academic honor societies, and will attend medical school at Thomas Jefferson University after graduation. “I'm so excited, becoming a physician has always been my long-term goal,” says O'Shea. “I'm very fortunate to be attending right out of college.

Sun invited him to take a peek at some new games in development, including coding activities in the new Computational Thinking (CT World) module. “I'm very excited that First In Math is including a coding aspect on the site; through my coursework, I've found that it's incredibly applicable across all fields. I just took a coding class this past semester. I wasn't supposed to be there because it was a IT majors-only class, but I was persuasive,” laughs O’Shea. “I learned about R and SQL and fell in love with it.”

But he says he’ll never forget the skills he practiced—and the fun he had—with First In Math. “When I saw my little brother Justin at the airport, the first thing he said to me was, ‘James! Guess how many stickers I have in First in Math!’ and wow, that brought back a lot of fond memories. My parents never forced me to compete, I did it because it was fun challenging myself, and it’s the same for Justin. He told me that he is top 20 in the nation for all grades and I'm so proud of him, he's been working really hard. He’s a third grader, and already well known as the ‘First in Math guy’ at his school.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

First In Math Helps Retired Army Veteran
And Family Look to the Future

RIALTO, CA—At First In Math we receive letters, emails and phone calls every day. Some contain constructive criticism, some contain praise, and some touch our hearts in remarkable ways. One such email was forwarded to us by Eva Serrato, Academic Agent, Math/Science and College & Career Pathways for the Rialto Unified School District.

Sgt. H. and his wife. “I always get the credit for my service, but she watches over me in ways no one else would and really makes it all happen.”

In a communication to Dr. Monte Stewart, Principal of Elizabeth T. Hughbanks Elementary in Rialto, a happy parent shared that he was very excited his son received a First In Math Online program User ID and Password. “Thank you soooooooooooooo much for Michael’s account,” wrote US Army Sgt. H. “I'm ecstatic, as this program has given me a purpose since being home with my children.”

Sgt. H., who always wanted to be an engineer, joined the Army National Guard in 2000 as an Infantryman and was activated to Kuwait after the 9/11 attack. He did three combat tours in Iraq, but in 2006 was severely injured when his vehicle was hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

He awoke in a Baghdad ER with little to no memory of the attack or the days leading up to it. Severe injuries left his memory extremely compromised and his high-level maths skills nearly extinct. The combat veteran, who used to deal with calculus and trigonometry, was left barely able to do multiplication.  “I didn’t arrive home the same. PTSD, TBI, chronic pain, you name it, I had/have it. I fight each day to overcome these obstacles.”

In 2017, he was medically retired, having served nearly 17 years. “A that point I was doing all I could to hang on to what I knew,” explains Sgt. H. “I went from being a frontline, hardened, combat-infantry soldier to learning how to be a full-time, stay-at-home dad on a fixed income. And I thought combat was tough!”

He didn’t leave the house very often, but one day his wife convinced him to attend a school award presentation “Some kids got a First In Math Award and they were talking about ‘stickers’ and things I didn't understand. I thought, what is this program every teacher is praising? So, I got on First In Math and went through every game I could, learning everything I could about it when, like an explosion—pun intended—it hit me! I remembered I used to be able to do high levels of maths.”

“I realized that it's the basics that matter, the foundation that counts, so from that point on my son Joshua and I did all we could to challenge ourselves on First In Math. I know that life is a process full of growth potential and littered with constant failures, and it will take hard work and effort to overcome those failures. But we were determined to have fun, enjoy the program, and most important appreciate our precious time here on earth together.”

“I'm still unable to recall and hold onto many things, but through much practice, effort, hard work and time—and the support of my beautiful wife and mother of our six children—I'm grateful just for the opportunity to remember any little things and be in the present with my family.”

A few months later at the next awards presentation, Joshua was awarded a FIM plaque for being #1 in the Rialto Unified School District among all grades! He was also ranked #1 in the State and #7 in the Nation at his grade level. “This year, he’s currently #1 in CA among third graders,” says the proud father, noting that Hughbanks recently promoted him to fourth-grade maths.

Sgt. H. explains that the letter he wrote to Dr. Stewart was about Joshua’s younger brother, Michael, who is now five, and loving First In Math. “He’s doing addition and subtraction easily and going strong because of the inspiration and hard work of his brother, I am so proud of him.” But this dedicated dad says that it wasn't until he saw his kids using First In Math that it inspired him to get back on the horse and relearn maths.

“First In Math gave me a platform to work with. I tried flash cards, other programs, everything and just lost hope because nothing worked. FIM was the direction and guide I needed to help me teach and guide my children. It is great therapy for me daily watching my children excel in the knowledge I lost years ago.”

 “Sgt. H.’s story is so inspiring, and I applaud his incredible courage,” says Dr. Stewart. “As educators, we may not always realize how one small action we take—or curriculum support we offer—can impact the lives of others. Hearing something like this only strengthens my commitment to the school and to every student, one child at a time.”  

Editor’s note: In the interest of privacy, we have been asked to substitute “Sgt. H.” in place of an actual name, and we deeply respect Sgt. H.’s desire to dedicate this piece “to my fallen brother and sisters, to those still faithfully serving and who have served—both in military and public safety—I wake up every day thanks to them.”

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays - 2017

First in Math Honors Mountain View Success

FLANDERS, NJ—Mountain View Elementary School was recently honored by the First In Math program. The online math-practice website tasks students with grade-specific math challenges and, as of June 19, 2017, Mountain View students had solved more than 7.75 million of them!

 First in Math Honors Mountain View Success
Aradha Jain, Mountain View's top student in First in Math, shows off the school's plaque with Principal Frank J. Fischel, Ed.D.

The Mt. Olive Township District school ranked #1 in New Jersey and #2 in the nation based on the number of math problems solved per student, and the school has been in the FIM Top Ten in the U.S. every year since beginning the program in 2013.

“I’m so proud of what our kids have accomplished,” said Dr. Frank Fischel, Mountain View principal. “So much of our success is due to teachers keeping excitement high and contributing to the recognition program that rewards students for their personal achievements. The friendly competitive spirit that First In Math has helped engender is now part of who we are as a school.”

While they are home to the country’s top third grade class, Mountain View’s success in FIM is a school-wide achievement, thanks to a high level of participation among many students—not just a few driven kids or classes.

Aradha Jain, a fifth-grader in Peg Maute’s class, is Mountain View’s top student with more than 11,000 correctly-solved math problems. Rounding out the school’s top 15 are Riley Cahill, Vrishank Malik, Abhimanyu Nair, Nelith Siriwardhana, Ethan You, Ryan Schafer, Eesha Bosula, Robert Cahili, Sam Mirsky, Chris Pintado, Anthony Walsh, Sal Salafia, Mo Alabssi, and Jenna Klatt. 

How important is math achievement—and the First In Math National Top Ten School award—to the students and faculty? The plaque celebrating their success remains on display in the main office, indefinitely.

See More Articles in the News Archive


CLEVER Blog: First In Math is Practice Made Perfect
by Natasha Husein | February 2019

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