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Odessa’s Mathnasium to mark year anniversary

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Posted: Friday, April 24, 2015 5:29 am

Helping kids who have a hard time with math and those who want to get ahead is what Mathnasium has been doing the past year.

Co-owned by Andy West and his mother, Jan, the business is located at 3952 E. 42nd St., in the Santa Fe Square shopping center. To mark its inaugural year, Mathnasium will host an open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the business. Cake, punch, games and prizes will be featured.

Between 55 and 60 students from first through ninth grade are currently enrolled, Andy West said. And any students are welcome whether they go to public or private schools or are home schooled. Private tutoring also is offered for older students by appointment, Jan West said.

Jan West taught for 30 years before retiring and Andy West was a teacher for several years who worked at the Mathnasium in Midland before opening the Odessa storefront.

“We have the luxury of time that teachers, unfortunately, don’t have when they have a classroom of 30 kids,” Andy West said.

West said they start by having each student take a grade-appropriate assessment. From those results, they create a personalized curriculum to specifically address that student’s needs.

“Math is one of the only subjects where it really matters what you learned the previous year,” Andy West said, because kids can fall way behind.

“With math, if you don’t know how to multiply and divide, you can’t solve more complex equations. Each little piece is important. It builds to something greater,” Andy West said.

During the school year, Jan West said, they recommend students come to Mathnasium at least twice a week. Homework help is available, but Andy and Jan West also like students to work on their personal curriculum.

“One of our main goals is to help them be successful in the classroom,” Jan West said.

She and Andy West added that they want to partner with teachers and schools to figure out why students might be struggling and address the root of the problem.

He noted that the environment they try to create is encouraging and non-judgmental, so no one feels like they’re incapable of learning math.

Jan West said they try to help kids become independent learners. She noted that if they are working with money, they’ll get some money out so students can relate; they can also draw pictures to help work out problems.

“The first thing we see turn around is their confidence and their personal feelings about math,” Andy West said.

Mathnasium has six instructors and tries to keep three to four available for a ratio of one teacher to three or four students, Andy West said. Instructors are teachers and students, several of whom are from University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Priyanka Nagalla, 10, a fourth-grader at Reagan Elementary School, has been coming to Mathnasium for seven or eight months and said she enjoys it because she can learn beyond her grade.

“Because of them, I’m ahead of other people in my class,” Nagalla added. She noted that math is her favorite subject.

Wesley Ivie, a 10-year-old fourth-grader at Burnet Elementary School, was working on division problems earlier this week. He said he has learned a lot at Mathnasium and it’s helped him in school.

“I get better grades. It seems easier,” Ivie said.

Josie Paz is a senior at UTPB who plans to become a teacher. She’s been working at Mathnasium for four months.

“I love kids and I wanted more experience in that area,” Paz said. “… I enjoy it. I really like helping them and seeing their faces when they actually understand it.”

Odessa, TX

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