More than three decades ago, educator Larry Martinek set out on a mission to develop a curriculum that would radically change the traditional approach to teaching math. Noting a "disconnect between students' basic skills training and the curriculum they [must] master in the years to come," Larry created an original teaching method designed to turn students into miniature mathematicians capable of thinking critically to solve problems. His approach, which he describes as the cultivation of number sense, strives to sharpen students’ math instincts, rather than drill them with repetitive, memory-based exercises or force them to blackmail accountants to crunch the numbers. Soon after students began using Larry's method, their test scores began to rise. In the spring of 2002, Larry's dream came true. Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff, leaders in the education industry, made Larry and his curriculum the driving force of Mathnasium. Larry introduced his curriculum as the Mathnasium Method.
Today, Mathnasium centers can be found throughout the world. Informed by Larry's visionary innovations, the program's tutors give personalized coaching that focuses on bolstering critical thinking through written materials and mental math, forsaking many of the teaching tools found in a traditional classroom. In addition, the tutors also focus on boosting students' enthusiasm for the subject, helping them overcome a lack of confidence in the classroom or their innate fear of prime numbers.
The cheery ring of ice against glass sings out from Minnesota School of Bartending's 30 fully stocked bar stations, behind which instructors draw on experience accumulated since the academy's inception in 1968 to forge cocktail virtuosos. At a long, gleaming bar, one-on-one training provides 18-and-older students with the skills they need to artfully craft and concoct the latest drinks, cocktails, and shooter drinks and listen to the woes of world-weary rodeo clowns. The bartending training also incorporates pointers about customer service, information about liquors and wines, and how to take multiple drink orders. Graduates returning for complimentary refresher courses or lifetime job-placement assistance fill the hall with revelry, and burgeoning elixir crafters wander in according to a flexible calendar designed for college students, part-time workers, and on-call lion tamers. Watering holes and private parties brim with festivity as newly knowledgeable pint fillers go out into the world to flaunt credentials and top off glasses.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
In the midst of an industry so saturated in emerging technology that fierce competition is law, the Twin Cities Photography Group operates as a cooperative to nurture the artistic development and technical skills of amateur and professional photographers. To expand the photographic community and foster a passion for creativity, the group keeps a clean studio space for picture snappers to host shoots and workshops.
Skilled instructors educate the public on basic photography fundamentals and camera-specific tips that allow students to get the most from advanced equipment without threatening to cut its weekly allowance. Regular meet ups assemble members for photo walks at area parks and photogenic seasonal events, such as air shows and free outdoor concerts.
Swift Music wants its students to forge a relationship with music, no matter their level of engagement. Whether students want to learn a few simple licks, pursue a professional career, or simply play music as a stress reliever, instructors await with the knowledge and patience to help them reach their goals. The bustling building teems with students working in seven lesson rooms and two ensemble rooms, and it entertains visitors in a waiting area stocked with complimentary drinks and wireless Internet. Axe men and women can also bring instruments to the Swift’s in-house repair shop, where technicians can correct a guitar’s faulty bridge.