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If you are like most parents, you may
have noticed that once your children
hit a certain age, math class may have
become a rather large source of anxiety.
It has become somewhat of a societal
norm, almost an expectation, in fact, for
most people to have an aversion to math.
It's no secret that Americans aren't among
the world's top math performers, and
there are many theories as to why that
is. Fortunately, Steve and Carla Strong of
Mathnasium of Warrenton know how to
turn mystery into mastery for students of
all grade levels.
With their own children preparing to head
off to college, Steve and Carla decided
to use their respective backgrounds in
finance, training development, and IT
application development to run a math
center. After years of careful research,
they chose to operate out of the
Mathnasium franchise. With more than
900 centers and counting, Mathnasium's
curricula and methodologies felt like the
perfect fit. "We were looking for a way to
give back to the community that helped
us raise our children so well," says Carla,
the center's director. "The reason we
chose math as a vehicle to affect children
is because we know how important it is
and what doors it can open."
Steve, who was in the IT industry for
over 20 years before Mathnasium,
understands why so many students
benefit from additional attention when
it comes to mastering math concepts.
"Math is not open to interpretation, so
there aren't many opportunities to slow
down and have a conversation about
the answer to a math problem," he says.
Mathnasium to the Rescue:
Reversing the "Misery of Math"
Among their myriad responsibilities,
teachers are required to cover a
full curriculum of concepts to many
students in a short time period. As
years pass, foundational knowledge
gaps widen for some students, thus
making a teacher's job even harder.
It becomes increasingly challenging, if
not impossible, for students to grasp
new concepts, and thus a negative
attitude toward math develops.
Specially vetted and trained instructors
at Mathnasium--many of them high-
performing students eager to pass
on their love of math--work with kids
one-on-one, discovering areas of need
right away through verbal and written
assessments. Once an individual's
current foundation is identified as
struggling or advanced, Mathnasium
designs customized learning plans
that complement what's going on in
a student's math class. Because this
process is tied specifically to a student's
current math skills and ability, learning
then proceeds at that student's level and
pace. The session involves individualized
attention from multiple instructors who
help students slowly but surely build
toward two things: mastery and self-
sufficiency. Up to half of each session
focuses on homework, which helps tie
their Learning Plan to what they are
learning in math class.
Steve and Carla believe that when a
person "gets" math, it can change the way
he or she thinks. Logic is suddenly built
into the thinking process, which can lead
to the materialization of other strengths.
In fact, Mathnasium students often
notice that it isn't just their math grades
that improve, but grades in all subjects.
It's not unusual for parents to share that
teachers notice a big change in attitude
and ability, grades climb, and even home
life improves. "It's all about finding how to
teach math in a way that makes sense to
each individual student," says Carla. "It's
not just learning math--it's also about
building confidence and developing a
willingness to stick with something tough
and work it out."
Steve and Carla are quick to note that
Mathnasium offers a math enrichment
curriculum for students looking for more
practice or an extra challenge. About
a third of the learning center's students
fall into this category--a sure sign that a
positive relationship with math is not only
possible but could be the "new normal."
To learn more about the Mathnasium
program, call
(540) 349-9797.
~ Caitlin Scott
B u s i n e s s
Carla & Steve Strong
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