Mathnasium, a franchise math tutoring business, opened in Woodbridge’s Selden Plaza about a year ago. First Selectman Ellen Scalettar recently visited the business.
Mathnasium tutors generally work with students from first through twelfth grade. In Woodbridge, because of the owner’s background, they also work with college students.
Owner Y. Mohie-Eldin is a retired professor, having most recently taught computer science at Southern Connecticut State University. He previously taught at M.I.T. and Tufts and is currently an adjunct at Quinnipiac University and the University of New Haven.
“How did you decide to open this business?” asked First Selectman Scalettar. “When I retired I knew I had to keep teaching,” he said adding, “I’m not a business person”. He heard about the Mathnasium business model and went to Los Angeles to meet the founder and learn more. Many of the techniques, theories and plans Mathnasium employs “make sense to anyone’s who taught and they are things I’ve been thinking about for years”.
Scalettar also asked about the process for new students. When students first come to Mathnasium they take an assessment to help tutors understand what the student knows and what they need to learn. Then, students receive a customized learning plan to tackle the current math topics they are struggling with and help to shore up any missing foundational skills and knowledge. “If you just focus on the new task but neglect the gap it will come back to haunt them,” says Mohie-Eldin, explaining the two-pronged process.
Mathnasium isn’t only for students who struggle with math; there are also opportunities to support and expand skills for students who already like and succeed at math.
Mathnasium’s walls are red and white and decorated with cheery math-related stickers that resemble line drawings. There aren’t any computers in sight – students are expected to work with pencil and paper and are coached on how to enhance their mental math capabilities.
In addition to tutoring, Mathnasium offers homework assistance and ACT and SAT test prep. Currently there are three instructors on staff with a fourth to join soon. Each instructor works with up to three students during a session, but within each session students receive individual attention. Usually, students will come in for a one-hour session, up to three times a week. “More than that and the student will get burnt out on math,” Mohie-Eldin says.
To learn more about Mathnasium, visit mathnasium.com/NewHaven.