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.

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. Studying writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College, Boston. Working on a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. (Alex graduates from Emerson College in Boston in May 2018)

Andrew TsunStudying bioinformatics at UC San Diego. (Andrew now works in Los Angeles in an electronics/software startup)

Andy Quach. Former student of, and coach with Math Coaching. Now studying computer science at UC Santa Cruz. (Andy now is finishing up his third year as an IT major at UC Santa Cruz. May 2018)

Bruce DeBruhl. Assistant Professor of computer science at Cal Poly SLO

Dorcas Hoi. Integrated Educational Studies at Chapman University. (Dorcas graduated from Chapman and is now working on her California teaching credential. May 2018.) 

Evelyn Chu

Heather DeBruhl. Teaching at Cal Poly SLO.

Josiah Hoi. Studying nursing at UC Irvine. (Josiah graduated with a BS in nursing and now works for a hospital in southern California. May 2018)

Matthew Wilson. Now in Texas working trying to launch a computer science startup company.

Stephen Teng. Studying chemistry at Stanford. (Stephen is now working on a PhD in chemistry at Princeton University. May 2018).