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Educational Philosophy

   It is a generally accepted idea that mathematical education is important because of the vast varieties of mathematical applications needed everywhere, but it’s not that simple. We strongly believe that logical reasoning, problem solving abilities, and analytical skills “applications” (we call them “Indirect Math Applications”) have at least the same importance. We see mathematics as a universal instrument to boost students’ critical thinking skills, which turn them into independent lifelong learners who will successfully use “Indirect Math Applications” no matter what career they choose.

Our school is an essential supplement to the existing educational system, not its replacement. Although our courses partly overlap with ordinary school math programs, they increase the scope and depth of the study of mathematical topics, gradually embedding the idea of proofs into the student's mind. The last thing learning math should be about is memorizing and practicing certain rules, procedures and formulas; it should be rather based on their thorough understanding.

One of the main features of Classic Math School’s sophisticated curriculum is flexibility. Meticulously  selected  assignments and materials, incorporated into the curriculum, come from a variety of different sources, from a 100-year old Russian math textbooks to Singapore Math courses. This wide selection not only demonstrates different levels of difficulties, but more importantly, different approaches, views, wordings, etc. While some may think it will puzzle students, we are sure it broadens their math experience and expands their horizons. Moreover, this allows our teachers to creatively update and adjust the curriculum (without sacrificing the principles listed above) to the actual needs of any student group, not the other way around.

Our Math program is designed to challenge but not overwhelm. While it covers a great deal of material, emphasis is placed on active learning, developing critical and  independent thinking skills by engaging in math discussions. Students are encouraged to present their own analyses of a math concept or problem, clearly communicating their mathematical reasoning and receiving critical feedback from both teachers and peers. Unsurprisingly, our students get higher grades in their regular schools, and not only in math! Here is another “Indirect Math Application”!

We strongly believe that this kind of learning is a source of great pleasure and fun, as well as a great deal of work. We don’t see any contradictions here! Moreover, we have found that students are more likely to have fun when they are putting their best efforts in accomplishing a true challenge. That’s why we do not anticipate providing any other fun except learning fun. (Besides, this is also an ethical issue: teachers are paid for teaching not for entertaining.) In other words, instead of getting candy for the right answer, our students are more likely to get another reward - a portion of more challenging questions like “How did you get it?” or “Why is it correct?” So, there are no games, except Math games.

We are proud to state that unlike most schools, our school provides a systematic math education that views mathematics as an integrated discipline.

We employ only true professionals with major in Math, who once fell in love with math and stay loyal.

We have high expectations for student performance and active student participation.

We know how to help our students overcome math phobia and substitute it with genuine interest.

We wish our students to admire grace, logic, and beauty of Math as we do!


Our Story

We founded Classic Math School in 1998, as a supplemental math education program in response to an observed lack of math knowledge among young students. We desired to bring the best traditions of well-established rigorous Soviet system of math education to a friendly American educational environment. Students are allowed to reach their full potential using our structured math curricula, taught by highly educated math teachers, and practiced in a small classroom setting.

In 2002, Classic Math School was acknowledged by the IRS as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, as a significant and valuable asset of Bay Area communities.

Classic Math School has since become an indispensable supplement to the existing educational system, serving more than 300 students annually in Fremont and Palo Alto.

We are truly changing the community attitude towards math education, one student, one parent, one teacher at a time!


Founders

Mariya Gutman

Founder

Classic Math School was founded by Mariya Gutman, a professional Math educator with 15 years of teaching experience at different schools and universities in Russia. She graduated with honors from Voronezh State University in the Soviet Union, and earned her Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science in 1982.

In 1994, Maryia immigrated with her family to the United States. Mariya worked at elementary, middle and high schools in Michigan, and obtained her Secondary Teaching Certificate with a major in Math and a minor in Computer Science. In 1996, she was invited to participate in the Berkley (Michigan) School District Math Curriculum Review committee because of her expertise in the Soviet math institution.

In 1997, she moved to California, after being offered a full-time high school math teaching position in the Fremont Unified School District.

Mariya is certain that she started her math career as a high school student in a math magnet school. Her talented math teacher, David Smorgonsky, made a profound impact on her career choice. Mr. Smorgonsky created a challenging and competitive learning environment, evoking a math adoration in his classes. (A majority of his students went on to have rewarding math careers all over the world).

Mariya’s dream is to recreate the same exciting and encouraging learning atmosphere in Classic Math School.


Vladimir Liberman

Co-Founder

Vladimir Liberman co-founded Classic Math School with Mariya Gutman. He is an experienced math teacher with more than 20 years of teaching experience, and more than 15 years of software and business development experience. Vladimir graduated from Voronezh State University in Soviet Union with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. He has loved math for as long as he can remember. As a child, he participated in Math Olympiads relishing the challenges and the competition. A lucky combination of his passion for math and entrepreneurial drive helped bring the idea of Classic Math School to reality. Vladimir now teaches math at all levels from Basic Math to SAT I Preparation. Students of all ages enjoy his exciting non-traditional teaching style, which sparks their curiosity and critical thinking. That’s why it is not surprising that Vladimir has the highest student retention rate among all Classic Math School teachers! While very accessible and friendly, he is highly regarded by students, parents, and fellow teachers.