During the pandemic, parents and educators may be noticing a greater need for students to catch up or brush up on school subjects.
Mathnasium of Papillion is a math-only tutoring center that is responding to that need by offering both online and in-person learning for math students who need or want individualized lessons.
Mathnasium owner and center director Michelle Koester said the unusual school year resulted in what is being referred to as the “COVID slide.”
“Kids who spent late spring and summer engaging in fewer, or less effective than typical, math activities likely need extra time and help to build their math muscles back up,” said Koester. “Left unchecked, these setbacks do add up.”
Mathnasium opened its doors in Papillion on Feb. 3 of this year, but due to the pandemic the company temporarily closed its physical learning centers across North America in April.
Koester explained that the corporate office was testing a new program called “Mathnasium@Home” before the COVID-19 crisis hit. As a result, the company was able to quickly implement online learning in response to public health restrictions.
“It was working well and providing essentially the same experience our in-center students would experience; individual tutoring on their individualized learning plans. So it saved the day,” said Koester.
By June, the business reopened its doors and Koester said that about half of the students returned to in-person learning while the other half continued learning remotely. Mathnasium, which is located in the Midlands Place shopping center along Highway 370 and Washington Street, is enforcing strict safety protocols.
Koester explained that instructors wear masks, hand washing is required upon entering the building, hand sanitizer is readily available, and the location is operating at only one-fourth capacity due to social distancing recommendations. Supplies are not shared and there are plexiglass barriers between the students and tutors.
“As we learn more about COVID and how it spreads, we’re able to take additional steps to be even safer,” said Koester.
Mathnasium provides instruction for subjects up to and including precalculus. Students range from second grade up to twelfth.
“It’s all over the board. So our little, kind of personal motto is ‘Help students catch up, keep up, get ahead.’ So, we have some high school students in [precalculus] who are just wanting to do as well as they can there. We’ve got some ACT prep students,” said Koester. “Probably the bulk of our students are in the middle school range where some of them absolutely love math and can’t get enough and want more.
“Some of them are struggling, so we’re helping them to close gaps and build confidence.”
For parents who want to help a math student at home, Koester suggests simple games. They can “grab a deck of cards and pull up two cards and ask the student to multiply those two numbers together.”
She also recommends math-related board games, books about “math heroes,” and free Facebook videos from the Mathnasium corporate office.
“[The videos are] fun, they’re engaging, they’re organized by grade level or groups of grade levels, so they can take 15 or 20 minutes and the parent doesn’t necessarily have to do much of anything, and they can let their student learn a concept, practice a concept that way,” she said.
Mathnasium of Papillion has some reduced membership rates for students who qualify and Koester said they hope to offer more of those opportunities next year. The business is also participating in the Midlands Place scholarship program for Papillion-La Vista High School seniors.
To learn more about Mathnasium visit: mathnasium.com/papillion.
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