We appreciate your interest in New Jersey Enrichment Academy’s mathematics classes. Below we provide responses to the most frequently questions asked by parents so you can get a better sense of our programs and instructional policies.

Whom are your classes for?

Any student benefits from supplementary mathematics instruction. In mathematics we offer a wide variety of classes to meet varied student needs.

Our comprehensive curriculum courses address the general school curriculum and targets and they can be attended by any student.

The rest of our classes are geared towards advanced students in grades K-12. Those are meant to supplement school instruction and challenge students beyond school level work. So those are typically attended by students who perform above the average grade level at school, or even several grade levels above in schools. Occasionally we also have sessions that are attended by our high school graduates who now take college level classes and still want to attend NJEA’s individually paced sessions. However, most of our older students are encouraged to attend our virtual classes that are not on site.

In addition to the above we also offer competition level courses for the students who are ready for academic contests and enjoy stretching their minds even further.

Do you do assessment tests before kids join?  

Depending on the class the student has selected to take with NJEA, and their background level when it comes to mathematics enrichment, we may or may not administer an assessment test. An important decision factor in determining whether pre-assessment will take place, are the answers to the initial survey questionnaire each of our prospective students completes.

Please note that our assessment tests are more challenging than the regular school tests and we administer those only if a student indicates a more advanced background and level of preparation. We do not want to discourage young learners who are not ready for the challenge. However, our advanced classes require a certain pace and level of academic maturity, so those are the classes for which we always test to determine the potential and performance level on a more advanced scale.

If your student wants to become eligible for any of our competition teams, they also have to take a placement test. Our mathematics team classes are only open to students who show higher performance and our team is even more selective.

Are kids enrolled in classes based on their grade or based on their capabilities?   

Students are not assigned classes based on their grade level alone. Capabilities are much more important in order for kids to function successfully at NJEA. In determining placement we are much more interested in the child’s background when it comes to mathematics. What is their prior exposure to the subject? What are some of the concepts they know which are beyond what is studied at school? Have they attended any other enrichment activities, participated in any other related clubs (like chess, science, LEGO robotics, etc.). Do they enjoy playing strategy games or puzzles? If so which ones? What resources have they used in math? We can get a much better sense of the student’s level if you share some of the work they have done and are proud of.

Stela Anguelova is the one who personally determines placement for each student and in doing so, she takes into consideration the survey answers as well as any teacher recommendations and work samples you include with your survey application.

If individualized sessions are preferred for your student or in cases where students have had some substantial prior experience with math enrichment, it is advisable to schedule a consultation conference with her. To that you have to bring the student and samples of their most recent work especially work that they are proud of. Seeing a child's prior work gives her a better sense of the student’s background and skill, and helps her place determine placement accordingly. A personal consultation is also an excellent time to address any unique parent expectations.

Is there an enrollment fee?

Mathematics is not a subject that you can take a three week course on and never build on the gained knowledge. It is a subject that gets developed gradually and requires commitment, creativity and effort. Our most successful students are the ones who have stayed with us for several years. With that said, it is very important for students (not their parents!) to commit to our classes so they give their best and develop good working ethic, independence and skill set. We hold our students to higher standards and understand that our classes are not for everyone.

This is the reason we can offer a free trial class to any student who is not yet sure whether NJEA is the right place for them. After the trial if a student decides to enroll with us, they will be charged a modest enrollment fee of $35. We only charge the enrollment fee once. So for families who stay with NJEA, it is not an annual fee that they have to incur. We will also not charge the enrollment fee for siblings in the same family.

However, if any student takes a prolonged vacation outside of our calendar scheduled vacations and is absent beyond our yearly 2-month vacation allotment, when they return to NJEA, they will be charged the enrollment fee again. It is recommended that you notify us about any family scheduled vacations to avoid that charge.

What is NJEA’s curriculum?  Do you give lecture, or assign a workbook to kids and give instruction?

NJEA’s curriculum varies depending on the chosen class. Different classes have varied formats because of the change in instructional focus and needs. All of our students are exposed to a combination of the above approaches.

Our advanced classes are very problem-solving based and more explorative in their nature. Even though they still include instruction, those classes are not workbook or lecture based in their entirety because students are encouraged to take the initiative throughout our classes and become independent learners ready to tackle unsolved challenges.

NJEA’s comprehensive classes are focused on building the knowledge and skill base. They include a heavier emphasis on modeling and presentation of each particular topic. However, students are still given ample time for independent practice and exploration in order to build the connections between different units and bring higher level of understanding.

There is not one single workbook that we use for each particular class. Students are given NJEA’s packets developed by curriculum writers and which are developed for different levels of learners. In addition to those packet handouts, with each topic, students are exposed to supplemental outside resources as necessary. We use many resources, including international ones that have never been published in America, so that kids are given a very competitive edge instruction.

At this point we do not require the purchase of any books for our classes. All necessary materials are provided to our students to use by NJEA. So there are no additional hidden costs for our families. Just our tuition fees.

When do classes start?  Is it too late to register?  

NJEA has ongoing enrollment. Students can join at any time as long as we are notified of a new student coming in so we have the materials ready for them.

Students generally have no trouble catching up even though it sometimes takes a few sessions for them to feel more comfortable in a group class. All groups meet between the hours of 3:30p.m.-8:45p.m. on weekdays or 9:00a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays or Sundays.

If necessary we can schedule some private sessions for the kids who do not fit in any of our previously established groups. Those work well with very advanced students or students who are shy and would not otherwise participate in class discussions. After several such sessions even the shiest students are generally ready to join their peers. It is important to give students a chance to communicate with each other their mathematical knowledge and ideas.

Do you monitor progress?

Our instructors are asked to monitor every student at every session. If there are any concerns that need to be addressed immediately, they are required to speak to the student directly and/or to their parent as necessary. For issues that remain unresolved, you will be contacted separately and if necessary you will be asked to schedule a conference.

In addition to that we periodically send progress reports home with each student. That is usually done when a student has completed an important unit and has had at least 3 months of instruction at NJEA. The report includes how the students responds to our program in a number of areas that affect learning. You would be able to read the instructor’s comments on their attendance, class participation, general learning behavior & skills, assignments and other assessments that have been administered to them as part of each course. Both the student and their parents need to read the report and return it signed.

If you would like to address any other special considerations or issues that come up, you can schedule a personal conference. We love to keep parents informed, but please understand that our instructors are unable to take valuable class time to talk to parents at drop off or pick up times. Any parental conferences need to be scheduled ahead of time so you can get the best of those sessions and our undivided attention.

Could you talk about the Math Circle at New Jersey Enrichment Academy?

NJEA’s focus is on teaching kids thinking skills rather than basic arithmetic and geometry (they get enough of the latter at school!). Nothing is about memorization, but about understanding where ideas get developed from and striving to build on them. Most of our club sessions meet once a week, some teach kids different solving strategies or concepts that are fundamental and have them practice those independently. During other session we have fun working together on challenging problem sets that contain a mixture of ideas. Those are usually our students’ favorite sessions because they are a chance to solidify ideas, work together and show off their knowledge. Kids can feel that they are becoming stronger problem solvers when they work on these independently and it is no longer clear cut what strategies to employ.

Children generally find the circle to be challenging but interesting at the same time. Families can tailor the experience with the club depending on their other time commitments and needs. If kids are willing to give the challenges more effort and work on the problem sets, they will obviously take more from the club experience than if they just attend our joint meeting sessions and don’t lift a finger throughout the week. With that said, any commitment is welcomed and we like to keep the experience flexible. Our goal is to inspire kids about mathematics and to provide an environment in which they can have fun but still have a wholesome enrichment experience when it comes to mathematics. Children who are bored with the math drills approach to mathematics at schools do very well in the circle.

As far as content goes, the primary focus of the circle is exploration and problem solving. We have selected topics that are fun but educational and a mix of classical topics from the math folklore made accessible to school-age students. The topics encompass different branches of mathematics. We also include some previously given contest problems but are careful with those because we want to foster cooperation rather than cut throat competition among the circle  members. Healthy competition is encouraged and we sometimes even use math contest problems as self-esteem boosters. We like to maintain an air of club meetings that are a community/math circle and I encourage discussions of different approaches kids have used to solve the same problems. It helps kids build skills as well as confidence and communication skills. 

We usually select circle session topics based on the kids' levels and needs. We make an effort to make each session as beneficial to kids as we can. In general, we do not restrict ourselves with worksheets prepared years in advance because we like to stay creative and change the content from group to group. So if a professor or another professional has a topic in mind, or is interested in leading a circle discussion/presentation related to their field or interest, they are welcome to do so by getting in touch with us. 

Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any additional questions. Thank you for your interest! We are looking forward to serving your family!