Coaching and coaches

Coaching Strategy

We match 1 coach for every 1-3 students. Our coaches are upper division high school students, university students, and adult professionals. We are all volunteers, competent in math, and strong role models. We take an interest in students beyond their math. As they move through high school we actively encourage their college and career decisions. 

Our coaches generally do not need weekly preparation for courses through pre-algebra. But unless the coach has worked with the higher courses recently, he/she need some weekly preparation. For algebra 1 and geometry, 15-30 minutes of prep is usually enough. For higher levels of math, preparation takes 30-60 minutes. In order to target the preparation, we do our best to know what subtopic of the course the students are on at any time.

Coaching materials

The classroom textbook is the best resource. These are sometimes available online. Before Common Core, we could usually find low-cost used textbooks which were good enough for coaches. With Common Core, hard-copy textbooks cost $75-125. As of this writing, only some Common Core textbooks are available online - and four-year subscriptions cost about the same as hard-copies.

Once we have access to the text (either the one the student brings or one we bought) we make heavy use of the Chapter Tests, Summaries, Review Questions, online helps, and such things. Many modern texts include website links to excellent teaching videos for each subsection of every chapter! These are great refreshers for coaches and very valuable learning tools for students. On their own, students seldom use them. Helping students find and use the resources at the beginning, end, and throughout a textbook is an important part of coaching. They never seem to get this in class.

When the textbook has no teaching videos, we occasionally use Khan Academy videos and problem sets. The material is great by itself, but it takes more lead-time than our coaches have to match a Khan video with a particular problem set. 

To assess a student's understanding of a past course, we select a few sample problems from the California Standards Test (CST Released Test Questions).

Regular coaches, as of August 2015:

Tim & Robin Isbell. See Tim & Robin's bio

Giang Lam. Mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry. MS in Engineering from SJSU in 1993. Believes every kid, regardless of origin, has talent and potential to contribute if given opportunity.

Man Tam. MS in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison. Strive to motivate children to think differently. (Man now teaches computer science at the City College of San Francisco and is also starting up a company in the building materials distribution business. May 2018)

Li Teng. Retired engineer.

Rich Rauenzahn. B.S in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Father of three school-aged children. Avid photographer. Fan of Brady Haran's Numberphile, James Grime, Vi Hart, Simon Singh, Burkard Polster, Sal Khan, Presh Talwalker, ...and more!

Jason Murphy. (Jason now works in computer science in Ireland. May 2018))

Past coaches - where they are now:

Alex Estrada. Graduated from Emerson College, Boston in May 2018. Currently living/working in Boston.

Andrew Tsun. Bioinformatics at UC San Diego and after a couple of years working in southern California he is now at USC working on a graduate degree in computer science.

Andy Quach. Former student of, and coach with Math Coaching. Now studying IT at UC Santa Cruz. 

Bruce DeBruhl. Now an assistant professor of computer science at Cal Poly SLO

Dorcas Hoi. Integrated Educational Studies graduate at Chapman University, currently working on her teaching credential.  

Evelyn Chu

Heather DeBruhl. Teaching at Cal Poly SLO.

Josiah Hoi. Graduated with a BS in Nursing at UC Irvine. Currently working as a nurse near Irvine.

Stephen Teng. Graduated from Stanford with a degree in chemistry. Now on a Ph.D. program in chemistry at Princeton.