Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Miracle Math practices addition in downtown Fairfield

With the arrival of fall, thoughts turn to education. This is true in downtown Fairfield as well.

Downtown Fairfield has a strong educational sector: It’s the home of the Armijo High School campus, the Matt Garcia Learning Center on Civic Center Drive and the Milan Institute of Cosmetology at 934 Missouri St. The Fairfield-Suisun School District also still owns the former Sem Yeto School site south of Texas Street.

With the growing importance of an education and increased reliance on testing, one growth sector in downtown Fairfield is private tutoring services. Parents interested in giving their children a little extra help can use several tutors, including Math Masters and Potosnak’s Tutoring, as well as specialized instruction in dance, martial arts, scuba and baseball.

One specialty educator, Miracle Math Coaching, an academic coaching/tutoring service, recently expanded its downtown presence into a second storefront at 717 Texas St. near the Solano County Government Center. Economic Notes spoke this week with the owner, Deanna Hurn, about her programs.

Economic Notes: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you become interested in tutoring and educational programs?

Hurn: After graduating from U.C. Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in actuarial sciences (with an applied mathematics concentration), I started my career as an actuary at Fireman’s Fund Insurance. I made good money, but I wanted to use my skills and abilities to do something more meaningful.

I loved being a teaching assistant in high school and college, and I kept getting feedback that I had a gift for motivating and inspiring students. So I redirected my attention to studying neuroscience, earning my teaching credential from U.C. Berkeley and my certification from the National Tutoring Association.

EN: Please explain what makes your programs unique. What age ranges or grade levels is the focus for your business?

Hurn: Miracle Math has three capabilities that set us apart. First, we are the only learning center in Fairfield that exclusively provides one-on-one academic coaching. There are no group coaching sessions at Miracle Math so that each student receives the undivided attention of his or her academic coach.

Second, I personally conduct a brain-based proprietary assessment that allows me to understand each student’s cognitive abilities. In other words, I conduct tests to determine how each student thinks and which learning techniques are most effective for him or her.

I also assess students’ gaps (the difference between what they are expected to know at their grade level and what they actually know) and review their personal academic goals. Based on all of that information, I tailor individualized coaching programs for each student. No two students have the same plan because no two brains are alike.

Third, Miracle Math’s culture is focused on helping students reach their full potential as individuals. In addition to coaching specific school subjects, we teach each student such lessons as time management, goal-setting and maintaining discipline. Furthermore, we give students exercises to help them increase cognitive skills such as working memory, focus and processing.

Miracle Math serves kindergarten through 12th-graders, college students and older adults who are returning to school or need support for professional tests or career requirements. Also, we are the only local learning center approved by the California State Board of Education to partner with local school districts to help improve school Academic Performance Index scores by coaching students who need help the most.

EN: You have had a downtown location for some time. What made you choose downtown Fairfield?

Hurn: We chose downtown because it is centrally located for parents and students who live in the Fairfield and Suisun areas, and because my husband and I want to help to make a difference and an impact in the community in which we live and are raising our three daughters.

EN: We understand you are expanding your storefront presence. Tell us a little about your expansion plans.

Hurn: Miracle Math outgrew our original 700-square-foot space in record time. This past summer, we were fortunate enough to obtain additional space above our current location, which allows us to serve three times as many students, many of whom would have otherwise been placed on our waiting list.

With the expansion, we can create more effective learning spaces.

EN: What’s on your “Wish List” for future business or retail uses you would like to see in downtown Fairfield?

Hurn: I’m hopeful that more family friendly enterprises will soon come and join us downtown. I know that would really excite the parents in my program.

Economic Notes is pleased to see the educational sector expanding in downtown Fairfield.

Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. Reach them at 428-7461 or email at kdumas@fairfield.ca.gov or bkmiller@fairfield.ca.gov.

Brian Miller and Karl Dumas

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