Darren Ko took his first crack at the SAT in 7th grade as part of a youth talent search program. He qualified for the program by scoring in the top 30 percent of testers—which included high school seniors. Years later, on the actual SAT, Darren achieved a 1590 before moving on to teach SAT classes in college.
Having mastered the test, Darren opened Infiniva Tutoring in 2001 in order to reach more students. The operation has flourished over the years and has branched out past the SAT to prep students for other major tests including the ACT, GMAT, and MCAT. Darren has recruited an all-star team of tutors, most of who have scored in the top one percent on the SAT. They strive to help bridge the gap between students and their individual goals, whether it be getting into a renowned college or beating a wax statue of Einstein in Scrabble.
Reading, writing, and mathematics don't come easily for everyone. At Canadian Learning Centre, dedicated staff members harness their own expertise to connect with adults and kids and guide them toward mastering their areas of difficulty. A phonics-based curriculum familiarizes students with vowels and consonants and helps them easily distinguish between silent letters and the ones that shout out loud. In writing sessions, pupils learn to apply grammatical rules and proper punctuation as they write stylish paragraphs. During mathematics sessions, students cover the basics, including addition and measurements, as well as more advanced skills such as calculus, geometry, and trigonometry.
At Peaks Indoor Rock Climbing, seasoned instructors introduce bipeds to the world of vertical crawling during lessons on more than 60 textured walls. During each session, tutors impart the basic techniques of climbing and belaying while also covering safety tips and the mental benefits of the sport’s myriad challenges. Membership packages grant access to rental harnesses for use of the facility's rugged walls, cracks, overhands, and climbing caves. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, introductory lessons are mandatory for all beginning climbers, whether or not they were raised by a trip of mountain goats.
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.
Riley Greider is the mind, hands, and sweet teeth behind Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe, a gourmet bakery specializing in cupcakes. More than 128 flavors rotate across the shop’s menu in groups of 13 to 20 each day, baked daily in small batches from fresh ingredients.
With such an enormous repertoire of recipes, the cupcake case has room for classics such as carrot cake alongside fancier flavors such as cinnamon french toast and cherry crème brûlée—not to mention the decidedly outlandish, such as loaded baked potato and Game Day Chili. While retaining a home-baked look, many of the cakelets wear elaborate toppers of sprinkles, frosting swirls, or fruit. All this creativity won the shop the title of Best Cupcakes in City Newspaper’s 2011 Readers’ Choice poll.
At RockVentures, climbers of all ages and experience levels scale challenge-filled walls lining the 18,000-square-foot facility. Classes impart students with surefooted spirit and fundamental climbing skills such as anchoring the rope for comrades. In addition to individual challenges, the center hosts several group events, ranging from team-building weekends to kids' birthday parties and summer camps. Rock Ventures grants discounted admission to veterans and their families with advance reservation on Saturday mornings, and helps disabled climbers conquer the rocks by using block-and-tackle systems to hoist themselves up.
Owner Kent Winchester informs his work at RockVentures with a multifaceted history of leadership and team-building experience, including a stint in the Peace Corps.