Algebra Center offers free math tutoring after school

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Rebekah Kim

Junior Luke Hong (left) checks his answers after senior Lucas Zhuang helps him with math homework in Room 45.

Henry Lee

To many students, math is arduous. But to senior Yeonji Baek, the subject comes naturally. Her understanding of concepts in Advanced Placement [AP] Statistics and AP Calculus BC motivated her to help other students who may be struggling in their math classes. 

After seeing a flier about the volunteering opportunities that followed with the new Algebra Center club, Baek decided to put her talent to use by earning the data scientist position. She plans to pursue a career in statistics, and feels that participating in this club will help her gain experience. 

Math teacher Dorothy Cheng started the service club Algebra Center to help students with their math assignments. Having a passion for tutoring, this club focuses on guiding students on algebra I, geometry, algebra II and college prep pre-calculus every day from 3 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 45. 

When tutors walk into Cheng’s classroom after school, they pick up their name tag and sit down at a desk to wait for students to arrive. They also get another tag showing which math course they want to teach but should know how to tutor all four subjects.

“I’ve always loved tutoring and when students come in for extra help, I love that one-on-one or small group interaction,” said Cheng, who teaches geometry and Algebra II. “But it’s also hard for me to tutor so many students at one time, so I wanted to create this club so that we can have this tutoring environment.”

After teaching seventh grade at Magnolia Junior High School in Chino Valley two years ago, Cheng realized the need for a tutoring club after realizing that some students would not pay attention during distance learning. 

After one year at Sunny Hills, she decided that this year would be the perfect time to create a club, especially since math department chairwoman Mariam Tan also looked for new ways to support students.

“I love that [the Algebra Center] is something you don’t have to sign up for and it’s available every day,” Tan said. “I also like that it’s peer tutoring so students help other students and maybe they can explain it in a different way than how their teacher might.”

Algebra Center club president senior Lucas Zhuang said he enjoys bonding with new students each time he tutors after school.

“I like how people are not just teaching people math but improving our entire math skills and building relationships with students,” Zhuang said. “The [students] will also know that if they encounter some problem, someone will help them figure it out.”

The club includes 52 members and every time a member decides to tutor, they get 30 minutes of community service.

“I also like that it’s peer tutoring so students help other students and maybe they can explain it in a different way than how their teacher might.”

— math department chairwoman Mariam Tan

After learning about this club from Tan in his AP Calculus AB class, junior Mason Orton hopes to put his math skills to use by assisting students in applying their newly-learned skills to improve their grades.

“This club allows me to be able to tutor others at this school who are possibly struggling while also getting community service hours out of it,” Orton said. 

Students, such as junior Isabella Ramirez, said she joined for extra help after hearing her precalculus teacher Myra Deister promote the club.

“[The tutors] explained the concept a bit better than the videos and teachings in my class; it is more in depth because I could actually ask questions rather than in class where it’s awkward to ask questions,” Ramirez said.

Students who need tutoring can stop by Room 45 anytime after school and potential tutors can contact the board members or adviser Dorothy Cheng through email to apply.

“I know that students here are really strong in math and that we have a great math program,” Cheng said. “It just seems like a win-win situation where the advanced students can peer tutor.”