- About Us
Redmond High parent launches math-based Ellipisis Academy
Elly Sarwono’s oldest daughter has always enjoyed math, but the things she learned in school weren’t always challenging enough.
So Sarwono began playing math games with her daughter, eventually inviting some of the girl’s friends to join them.
“It’s really not fun playing games with your mom,” Sarwono said.
She started playing these games when her daughter — who will be a junior at Redmond High School this year — and her friends were in kindergarten, and by the time the kids were in fourth grade, they were getting more serious about these after-school sessions. So Sarwono asked the principal at the time at Norman Rockwell Elementary School in Redmond — where her daughter was enrolled — if they could hold meetings at the school.
The result was Math in Action, an after-school program at Rockwell that went beyond the math games to include competitions. The students participated in competitions throughout the Seattle area including Math is Cool, Math Olympiad and Math Kangaroo.
“I told (the kids), if you work hard, you can do these competitions,” Sarwono said. “They worked really hard.”
Since Math in Action began in 2007, others outside of Rockwell have wanted Sarwono to bring the program to their school. And this is the first year she will do so in the form of Ellipsis Academy, a math-enrichment program Sarwono developed from her years as a parent volunteer running Math in Action.
Ellipsis is currently for fourth and fifth graders and offered at Rockwell as well as John James Audubon Elementary School in Redmond. Sarwono said she hopes to expand it for second through eighth graders.
Now that Sarwono has developed her program into a business, the cost is $165 per child, per semester. She is also offering classes at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, which range from $325-345 per child, per semester. Sarwono said tuition for the classes at the community center is higher because she also has to pay a rental fee to be able to hold classes there, whereas she doesn’t have that expense at these schools.
Parents can enroll their children either the Math Competition classes, which prepare students for competitions, or Math Forward classes, which are just math enrichment classes. To make sure students are placed in the correct groups, which range from 12-14 students, Sarwono will offer a free placement test for those wanting to enroll their children in the program through the community center. The test will be Sept. 6. For more information, visit www.ellipsisacademy.com.
In addition to Sarwono — who is founder and an instructor — Ellipsis has two other instructors, including Rizwana Masude, who has volunteered with the Rockwell program for the last four years. She first got involved coaching fourth graders. Masude, who earned a teaching degree in her home country of Pakistan, has a passion for math and said Sarwono was “very excited” to guide her in helping more kids with advanced math skills.
Ellipsis classes go over concepts beyond what is covered in the schools at that grade level. Sarwono said they build on the curriculum and delve deeper into concepts such as fractions, percentages, integers, probability, logic puzzles and problem solving. Although the students are learning advanced concepts, Sarwono makes sure to balance her rigorous program with fun and games to make sure the kids are enjoying themselves and are engaged.
And it seems to be working as students have asked her why her program can’t run through the end of the school year rather than end about a month prior.
“That’s just something nice,” Sarwono said. “It’s just really sweet.”