Math has brought grief to countless students, but Jeff Rucker and his team of teachers at Mathnasium math learning center in Evans want to change that.
Mathnasium is a national franchise that works to help students catch up, keep up and get ahead in math through a curriculum package customized for each student. Using a gymnasium/physical fitness theme, instructors help students in grades 2-12 tackle math concepts and skills. Monthly memberships include unlimited sessions.
“It’s a place where kids can come to work out their brain,” Rucker said.
Rucker is a familiar face to many across the Augusta area. He worked at television station WAGT (Channel 26) as a meteorologist for more than 12 years, but he decided to change careers as a way to spend more time with his wife and two children.
Working nights was a good fit when his children were young, but as they got older Rucker said it felt as though everyone’s schedules conflicted. He heard about Mathnasium from a few places and said he believes it’s no coincidence the thought occurred to him.
“This was God’s solution to the family time problem,” he said.
Mathnasium in Mullins Crossing shopping center was nearly two years in planning, and the learning center opened Dec. 1. More than two dozen students have joined, and the staff has already seen improvement after just a few weeks of help.
“Just seeing the younger ones go from barely being able to count, and then by the end being able to do a problem without counting on their fingers and not thinking long at all is amazing,” said Sarah Coleman, the lead instructor for the center.
Coleman, who has a degree in early childhood education, says her time working in traditional classrooms has given her an appreciation for the one-on-one, custom attention that students receive through Mathnasium. Even the best teachers don’t have enough time to ensure every student is totally comprehending every concept taught in class, she said.
“The Mathnasium workouts make it easier for students to break things down and understand exactly why we do what we do,” she said.
Helping students conquer math concepts has a ripple effect on their confidence in other things, Rucker said. Believing they are “bad at math” is the first thing he tries to change in a student’s thinking, he said.