Fri12192014

Schools

Local tutoring center earns kudos in parent magazine's reader poll


Courtesy of Kobad Bugwadia
Mathnasium’s fourth-grade participants, from left, Jenna Haynie, Maelle Allanic, Tanish Gupta, Hamza Raza and David Chan, join instructors to celebrate their achievements in the tutoring center’s national TriMathlon this year.

Mathnasium, a math tutoring franchise with a location in Mountain View, recently earned recognition from a family magazine for the level of service it provides.

Bay Area Parent Magazine – a publication that covers topics including education, enrichment and health – included Mathnasium in its 2014 “Best of the Best” issue that awards Gold, Silver and Bronze accolades to various services. Mathnasium received a Silver for “Math and Science Support” in Silicon Valley.

So what sets Mathnasium apart from like-minded businesses?

According to Kobad Bugwadia – who owns franchises in Mountain View and Campbell – it’s a combination of factors such as teaching techniques, student-to-teacher ratio and understanding what students already know and don’t know.

“The way math is as a subject, it’s very unique. … You cannot forget anything you’ve learned earlier,” said Bugwadia, who also serves as director of his franchises and part-time tutor.

Once students have mastered a base of a few fundamental topics, Bugwadia said, “everything can be extrapolated and applied.”

To help students better understand the fundamental topics, he added, teachers rely on three core teaching techniques. A combination of what Bugwadia refers to as visualization (a pictorial representation of problems, like “pizza math” in understanding fractions), vocabulary (breaking down the meaning of words like “percent” and “denominator” into understandable concepts) and manipulators (i.e. using 3-D models to learn surface area and volume) helps students demystify the oft-frustrating subject.

Award-winning services

Devi Laskar, whose three daughters have attended Mathnasium since her family moved to Los Altos from Atlanta two years ago, said she appreciates that these tips and tricks can “spill over to other things as well,” as she’s noticed her children using similar methods in their other classes.

Despite the standardization of public school subjects, “not everyone does all the lessons in the same order,” Laskar said, adding that she found Mathnasium especially helpful with her daughters’ transitions to their new schools.

Before moving, Laskar’s daughters, ages 15, 12 and 11, received tutoring from other places, but she said Mathnasium “is the best one (they’ve) tried so far.”

Mathnasium tutoring programs start at $265 per month and include two one-hour sessions per week. In addition, students get two bonus classes per month, which they often choose to use before exams or quizzes.

Mathnasium keeps the student-to-teacher ratio at 2:1 or better, even in group programs, something Laskar said she values most about the company.

Bugwadia’s Mountain View center, which serves Los Altos as well, teaches 95 students throughout the school year.

In 2010 and 2011, the center won “Best Tutoring Center” in TV station KRON4’s “Best of the Bay” awards. Also in 2011, Bay Area Parent Magazine’s “Family Favorites” annual reader vote recognized Mathnasium as “Best Tutoring or Educational Support” in Silicon Valley.

Looking forward, Bugwadia expressed excitement over hosting the fourth annual TriMathlon, a national Mathnasium-run event open to students in grades 2-5, scheduled for October.

In 2012, a student from the Mountain View center beat out nearly 3,000 students for the second-place prize.

“It’s a way to keep the interest going,” Bugwadia said of the event.

Mathnasium’s Mountain View location is at 2510 W. El Camino Real, Suite 4. For more information, call 941-6284 or visit mathnasium.com/mountainviewlosaltos.

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