We are so grateful to have found Tina! Tina has worked with both our sons. She has been our younger son's math tutor for nearly a year and a half and has provided terrific support and instruction. In fact, he's had an A in Algebra 1-2 all year long! In addition, Tina has offered academic support, such as helping our son organize and keep track of all his homework in every subject, and helping him think through his schedule and work plan during stressful and challenging periods of school. Tina has often provided a kind, encouraging ear for both our sons, and for me! Her training as a mindfulness coach infuses every aspect of her work, as she helps students consider what works for them in terms of how they approach problems and challenges. Tina has proven to be a key support and help for our sons' academic lives. We recommend Tina whole-heartedly!
- Kate, parent
Tina provides the individualized attention, concentrated instruction and targeted support that is missing in many large math classrooms. She helps students conceptualize and understand the mathematics in a meaningful way. Tina created a safe and fun environment for our high school aged daughter and put her on the path to becoming more successful and confident in mathematics.
-Laurie Lopez, parent
Tina has tutored both of my kids in math and the fact that they both benefited and liked the experience is amazing considering how different they are. With my child who is in advanced math, but who needed help in pre-calculus, Tina moved as quickly with her as she needed, and helped her learn shortcuts and tricks that were really helpful. She also enjoyed "geeking out" with Tina on the beauty of pure math. With my child who didn't like math, and felt he wasn't good at it, she has helped him completely change his trajectory from failing in middle school to getting an "A" in his first year of high school math. Tina has the skill to build confidence in a child, her enthusiasm is contagious, and the one-on-one attention has been invaluable for my child who has trouble getting the concepts in the classroom. Five stars!
- Lisa P, Parent
I contacted Tina to assist my son with SAT prep. She worked with him one-on-one over seven sessions. My son already had a fairly high SAT score the first time he took it but after working with Tina his score improved by 130 points. Needless to say I am very pleased with the techniques she used. Tina has a very calm demeanor, a style that suited my son perfectly -- especially given the daily challenges and workload of attending a college prep high school. It is without reservation that I highly recommend Tina and Spark Academic.
- Teri P., parent
My daughter chose to home school for a couple of years during middle school and Tina was an important part of our curriculum- in fact, we couldn't have done math without her! Not only did Tina keep Emilie on track to rejoin advanced math when she returned to school, but Tina always managed to make it fun, engaging, and relevant. Emilie did not approach math with enthusiasm, yet she always returned home from her sessions with Tina happy about math and encouraged by her progress. Tina capably covered everything that Emilie needed to learn and yet also allowed the lessons to go off on naturally occurring tangents that kept the lessons alive and meaningful. Tina is a great resource for anyone in need of any kind of math support; she can bring both sanity and joy to the math learning process!
-Annie W., Parent
Our kids have progressed through the math classes at Lincoln HS all four years and, while good students, have needed occasional help with concepts and more in-depth instruction. The kids really connected with Tina from the beginning. She has been a superb teacher and very accommodating with their schedules. We highly recommend her!
-Susanne and Jon, Parents
My eighth grade son needed help filling in a large gap of instruction after moving to a higher math class. He was frustrated, his confidence was low, and on the verge of hating math. He connected with Tina immediately. She helped him master the concepts he needed for a strong foundation. Her depth of knowledge and her ability to read his non-verbal cues were key in zeroing in on areas that needed work. He now completes his math homework with ease and confidence and I suspect he may even like it.
Tina is patient, caring and funny. These qualities, when combined with her love of math and desire to help students understand it, make for an amazing teacher. Tina was able to help our freshman daughter gain much needed self confidence in math and worked with her to bring her failing grade up to B. Our daughter is already looking forward to math as a high school sophomore, knowing that Tina will be there to guide her.
-Jenny S, Parent
Tina’s tutoring has been an invaluable addition to our daughter’s high school math program. Her unique approach that combines excellent technical support with engaging interpersonal skills helped her feel comfortable and more confident in her math ability. Tina was often available for extra sessions before tests when that additional amount of review and encouragement was vital to our daughter’s success. Tina’s warmth and humor helped smooth over the hard edges that math can present as she helped her succeed in passing the class and gaining self-esteem. We highly recommend her!
-Gail and Joe, Parents
Tina made a potentially worry fraught year into one where I looked forward to each tutoring session knowing that it would bring relief. Not only did Tina teach me each week's worth of material in our hour-long session, but any test stress, or other stress for that matter, vanished. Tina knows how to teach to the individual keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses while still maximizing time. In a way, I hope to have another year of difficult math just so that I can continue seeing Tina.
Tina provided me an alternative way of looking at the curriculum that I did not receive from my teacher or school. She presented me with multiple routes to take for each mathematical concept, and allowed me to choose the route I liked best. Tina made me enjoy a class that I originally found dry and boring. Most importantly, Tina was extremely flexible and fit me in whenever I needed help despite my challenging schedule.
We found Tina while seeking additional math exploration for our son, who was deeply bored in public school. Tina demonstrated an engaging style that lets her introduce the chosen concepts while letting the student lead the conversation. This process often allowed a deeper level of exploration than either might have anticipated. She moves smoothly into complex mathematics while returning to basic concepts as needed to assure the student follows the whole flow.
Our son loves his time with Tina and leaves energized and ready to explore more.
-Todd and Gwen, parents
"What Tina does is sketching a picture in my mind in black and white and leaves me to fill it in in color"
-Milo, age 7, math enrichment
I highly recommend Tina to any parent who is looking for a skilled math tutor and communicator. Tina has been an excellent tutor for our son Robert. Tina has been very adept at helping our son, who is not a "natural" at math, to conceptualize the ideas that underlie mathematic principles, then translating the concepts back into the practical world of homework and tests. Tina has been our son's math tutor for 4 years, and we expect that he will continue working with her throughout high school.
-Stephen Brooks, Parent
Our daughters are twins but have different academic needs. One is more inclined to seek and use help; the other has a tendency to deny she is having problems until things become critical. Both respond very well to Tina's positive approach of validating their thinking and building on the skills they feel confident about. She respects their intelligence and listens to their concerns. Now they will ask to see Tina if they anticipate a tough semester or hit a temporary snag. Tina's calm approach is a welcome support to us as parents too. We recommend her to other families.
-Marcia and Steve, Parents
Tina Kolpakowski is a wonderful tutor. She has worked with my son for the last few years and has helped him develop and grow in his math studies. Tina is an amazing confidant and support to her students, she is so much more than a tutor. She really understands the public school system, the curriculum and that is a huge asset for her students. We feel very very lucky to have her as part of our son's education.
-Pamela Hill, Parent
Tina was an essential element to my graduation of high school. She helped me to understand math in a way no math teacher could or ever did. Tina did so with her own personal flare offering me tips and suggestions to help with my ADD and dyslexia and calm my anxiety around school. She gave me the support and confidence I never had. When struggling through a math problem Tina would explain it to me and wait till I got that spark in my eye that said “I got it”. Her warm guidance was full of patience, understanding and compassion and I can wholeheartedly say it contributed to the person I am today.
-Ellen, hs student
Tina has been tutoring our daughter for the past three years, and we are delighted with the results. As a parent and former PPS teacher, Tina “get’s it” on multiple levels – academic, institutional and social. She has helped our daughter maintain focus and has provided stability that helped her develop math skills as well as confidence in her learning process. She is not only a tutor, she is a mentor and a caring teacher. She will help your child grasp or master the concept at hand, and she will help you (the parent) by diminishing conflict with your child at home. We believe, thanks partially to Tina, our daughter maintained a solid A grade level in most of her subjects. It’s a win-win all around.
-Mr. and Mrs. C, Parents
Tina came to the rescue for both my middle and high school children this year. Her skill in explaining and teaching math concepts led to improvement for both of our daughters. Additionally, she understood our children's temperament and learning styles. As a result, she was able to intervene in positive ways that ensured success in class and at home.
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