Math Enrichment with a Difference
OUR HISTORY: The Root of an Idea
At its core, Spirit of Math began with the ideas of Charles Ledger, a Toronto-area math teacher who was recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching, a Rene Descartes medal from the University of Waterloo and the Claude Watson Award from the North York Board of Education for excellence in teaching ability.
Charles developed the initial grade 7 to 9 Spirit of Math curriculum over a twenty-year period starting in the 1970s and 1980s while teaching at a suburban junior high school. Fraser Simpson, a Toronto author and math educator, contributed intense problem solving to the mix, while Charles’ wife, Gwen Ledger, also a skilled teacher, began using and adapting the program.
Some of the cornerstones of the Spirit of Math approach, including the Relocation Property, the system of math drills and the joint focus on problem solving and group work date back to these early beginnings.
To create the after-school program, Gwen Ledger and Kimberly Langen (Charles’ and Gwen’s daughter) extended the concepts down to the junior grades and up to high school students.
THE AFTER-SCHOOL CLASSES
With the curriculum in place, Spirit of Math was able to move outside the day school environment. In the early 1990s successful summer programs led to demand for ongoing after-school classes. This came to fruition in 1994, when Kim began teaching the first cohort of Spirit of Math students from her home. Within a few short years, this had expanded to multiple classrooms in larger facilities. Following their retirement from the public school system, Gwen and Charles both became involved in teaching during the early years.
By the early 2000s, Kim had created all the drill books by grade, developed three new drills, hired teachers to work full-time and, with Charles’ help, created a comprehensive curriculum with full examples and solutions for every grade, for 39 weeks of classes.
Growth continued with new campuses added to the Spirit of Math family. A select number of campus owners joined the network of corporate campuses. Expansion west in Canada (to Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver) was echoed south of the border with locations opening in Edison, NJ and Plano, TX (in the Dallas area). The Greater Toronto area has also seen considerable growth with many new locations added, including a flagship permanent location in Richmond Hill.
Charles Ledger begins developing the Relocation Property, teaming up with fellow math educator and author Fraser Simpson to advance his four-element, non-spiral mathematics curriculum.
Charles’ daughter, Kim Langen, launches the Spirit of Math after-school program in the basement of her home.
The first teachers and employees are hired, and enrollment reaches 200 students in one campus in Toronto.
The Spirit of Math formal teacher training program begins.
The second series of Releasing the Genius books, “Math Problem of the Day” (mPod) was released.
Spirit of Math starts its large scale teacher training program for public and private schools.
Kim Langen’s children Nathan and Kirsti Langen are working with Spirit of Math, creating the third generation of Spirit of Math.
More than 6,400 students are enrolled across 43 campuses.