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The United States ranked 32nd in math proficiency last year, according to a study by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, and that is what keeps people like Mathnasium Center Director John Lee going.
Lee, who directs a Mathnasium math-only learning center for kids in Great Neck, L.I., decided to take the same brand of education to Bayside’s Bell Boulevard. The center officially opened its doors, and its books, July 1 at 43-17 Bell Blvd., and has since enjoyed a warm welcome, Lee said.
“Math is one of those subjects where we need it to be more competitive in a global economy,” Lee said. “I thought that this area needed quality tutoring at affordable rates.”
Mathnasium’s program is geared to students in Grades 1 through 12 who might need to boost their math skills or need an extra challenge, Lee said. In addition to math tutoring, the center also offers homework help and test prep.
Lee said Mathnasium’s approach was to find what a student knows and does not know, and then tailor a personalized and prescriptive learning program accordingly. The goal, he said, was to significantly increase a child’s math skills, understanding of math concepts and overall school performance while building confidence and a positive attitude toward the subject.
“Children are usually taught in such a procedural way,” Lee said. “We focus much more on understanding. With understanding comes passion, and with passion comes enjoyment.”
Inside the center, the walls are decorated with mathematical designs and inspirational quotes to make the subject more familiar to students.
With the unofficial slogan, “Warning: Your child could become crazy about math,” Lee said there were not many other educational centers in the area that offered his quality of tutoring at such affordable rates, with some of the lowest sessions rounding out to less than $30 per hour.
Mathnasium tutors come from several different backgrounds, but must all pass a preliminary math proficiency exam before joining the staff. Lee said he also interviews the potential teachers, assessing them on their communication skills to make sure they can also interact effectively with the students.
“A great player doesn’t necessarily make for a great coach,” Lee said.
By making math make sense to students, Lee said children will not view the subject as a chore. In return, students will trust their instructors and make for a fun-filled environment not typical to a normal educational facility.
“It is very exciting to be a part of helping the kids of our community succeed by offering them an opportunity to develop a better understanding of math concepts,” Lee said. “Our goal is to eliminate the confusion and intimidation that often accompanies the subject of math and replace it with understanding and passion.”
In a celebration of its arrival to Bayside, Mathnasium is offering free assessments up through Aug. 31.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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