Mastering Math

A Method that Equals Excellence

Since 2002, Mathnasium has been helping children learn in an effective and fun way. The ability to master math skills can lead to higher levels of confidence, greater overall school satisfaction, and a variety of career opportunities.

“I was a math major in college and spent 25 years in engineering,” says Bobby Tarnowski, a Mathnasium franchisee with 10 locations in the Twin Cities. “Over time, I realized I wanted to help kids get a better math education and came across Mathnasium.”

He says he was really impressed with the franchise and felt the people involved had a great deal of passion for what they were doing. “They put together an outstanding curriculum. It makes math make sense to kids. We help them understand the math they’re doing and because they don’t just memorize it, their retention is much better and much longer lasting.”

The Mathnasium Method™ is very pencil and paper based. “When they leave here, they know they’re smart, and it wasn’t a calculator or computer that solved the problem,” says Bobby. “They’ve worked it out and it’s impactful to their confidence to go through that process. When kids get that kind of confidence, you can see improvement in more than just their math class.”  

Due to the pandemic, students need these additional learning opportunities now more than ever. Many children weren’t in school during the worst of COVID, and math and other educational skills were sometimes not fully mastered.

Parents can enroll their 1st through 12th graders in various packages. “Our standard program is a monthly tuition, and there are up to 10 lessons per month, 15 lessons a month, or a package for every day,” says Maddie Ernst, the center director of Lynnhurst Mathnasium. “Most families purchase a twice-a-week package.”

All children are first given an assessment, and each one receives a custom learning plan that fits not only their level, but their learning style. Most students receive individual instruction in a group setting and instructors work with up to four students at a time, although private instruction is also available. They show them strategies, check their understanding, answer questions, and then set small goals so that they can learn to work independently on those specific topics.

Mathnasium is also a fun place to learn, and there is a rewards system that inspires and delights. “Students get a stamp on a punch card whenever they complete a page,” says Maddie. “We have different prizes they can buy with their punch cards, such as lava lamps, speakers, and gift cards. They can also donate their cards to a charity.” When students get 100% on their mastery check, they get to ring a bell and have the other students clap for them.

“Here, they don’t have to compare themselves to other students because they are with other kids who are in the same boat,” says Bobby. “They’re here figuring it out and having fun together and supporting one another. It’s a safe and secure environment for them.”

In addition to in-person instruction, Bobby says about 15% of the students in his centers take virtual classes. This makes it easy for parents with busy schedules and for continued instruction while on vacation.

In addition to its amazing curriculum and the fact that they only focus on math, Bobby and Maddie explain that another facet that makes Mathnasium stand out from other tutoring centers is their instructors. While potential hires have to be proficient in math and pass a math literacy exam, what they most look for are people who have the ability to be patient, have good energy with the students, and connect with them to make them feel comfortable.

“Right now, one of our instructors is a licensed teacher, another is a retired business owner, and another is currently in college studying to be a math teacher,” says Maddie.

Adds Bobby, “Our instructors are so invested in student’s doing well. They all have a great heart for kids, and that’s the biggest thing that draws people here. They want to be able to give back and make a difference for kids. And they can actually see the difference they’re making and it’s really fulfilling.”

Right now, Bobby says they are actively looking for more instructors, so people who are interested in working part-time flexible hours should apply.    

Instructor Don Shuler has worked with Mathnasium since September of 2020. “I enjoy building up the kids’ confidence, helping them with the process, and showing them that they can do the work,” he says. “I’m a licensed teacher, but Mathnasium has a curriculum that’s easy to follow. It’s very heavily structured and sort of intuitive about how to deliver the material and use the teaching techniques that really do work.”

Everyone in the centers works well together, says Bobby. “We really focus on the quality of what we do, from the instruction we give the kids to the attentiveness we give to the parents and the effort we put into working with their children’s teachers. We really try to deliver a high quality outcome.”

For more information, go to https://www.mathnasium.com/lynnhurst. 5315 Lyndale Ave S., Minneapolis. (763) 269-6969.

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