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Our Mission

Hi, my name is Zachary Hill, and I am a co-owner of A to Z Private Tutoring, focusing on providing a strong academic foundation for students in Kindergarten through 6th grade.

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          Growing up in a family of educators allowed me to see education from a teacher’s perspective. At the dinner table, I heard about the challenges teachers face, from overcrowded class sizes to learning gaps within the classroom. I would sit and listen to my parents, and later my sister, theorize on solutions to these problems, and it inspired me to pursue a career in education. Although I initially wanted to be a teacher, I learned quickly that my true passion was in finding solutions to the issues discussed at the dinner table. During my time in college, I worked as an in-home tutor for a company in Fresno. Upon graduating, I went to work as an instructional aide at an elementary school in Porterville. From there, I worked as a substitute teacher until I started a full-time position as an English teacher at St. Anne’s School. After three wonderful years at St. Anne’s, I decided to follow my passion and focus on those unanswered questions my parents discussed at the dinner table, starting A to Z Private Tutoring with my wife, Allison Hill. 

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          From a young age, I understood that a school system designed to stay on track with the curriculum is bound to create learning gaps in students. These learning gaps were easily identifiable, but the school system was always unable to address them because there is a constant demand for teachers to keep plowing through the curriculum. The problem with this is that, without a strong foundation in key skills, students can't master their grade-level curriculum. How is a teacher supposed to teach algebraic concepts to a student who struggles to multiply? The answer is, no matter how talented the teacher is, students below grade-level need time to focus on their academic foundation. In math, this includes counting and cardinality, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and place value. In reading, this includes phonemic awareness, fluency, and basic comprehension. Without these academic foundations, these students are bound to feel disconnected from lessons, leading to issues with confidence and openness in the classroom. A strong academic foundation is a missing piece in so many students’ education. 

          I decided that my energy should be spent working on a system that filled these gaps in the most efficient way possible. Instead of moping about the problems I’d discovered through my experience as a tutor, instructional aide, substitute teacher, and later a full-time teacher, I decided to spend a few years focusing solely on efficiency. Teaching during the day and tutoring in the evenings, I began to look at making my time with my students more efficient. I learned, almost immediately, that being efficient as a teacher and being efficient as a tutor are two completely different things. As a teacher, I had students at all different levels in their education, so “efficient” meant creating relevant lessons for a broad range of students. If every student’s comprehension for the day was measured by a percentage, my goal would be to have the highest average possible for the class. On the contrary, as a tutor, I only had one student to focus on. This meant that there was only one percentage to focus on. “Efficient” now meant efficiency in identifying gaps in a student’s education, delivering relevant instruction and material, and measuring growth over time. 

          From there, I put two years into developing a system that takes advantage of the 1-on-1 aspect of tutoring to focus on mastery of key foundational skills in the most efficient way possible. In math, that meant creating simple 5-step plans to master counting and cardinality, addition and subtraction, place value, and multiplication and division. In reading, it meant creating a system designed to identify which of the 44 phonemes (sounds) a student struggled to read and to create customized stories and informational texts that emphasized those sounds at the highest rate possible, with questions focused on basic comprehension. Simply serving as an extra resource on the student’s current curriculum (helping with homework or reteaching concepts taught in class) was not efficient at all. The real solution was in focusing on foundational skills and tying them to the student’s current curriculum wherever possible. That’s what most efficiently filled the missing piece in a child’s education, and that’s what A to Z Private Tutoring is all about. 

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          Making the most out of a 1-hour tutoring session was, and is, the driving force for all decisions regarding what we do. All tutors are properly trained to efficiently teach our 5-step plans in math and provide reading instruction that identifies fluency problems and emphasizes them. Each tutor has their own binder that serves as a guide to identify gaps and fill them. This simplistic strategy ensures that all tutors can provide the most efficient service in the time allotted. 

          Using the latest software in existence, we look at each student’s performance on our instruction and create individualized worksheets customized to their specific needs. This allows the student to put all of his/her attention on areas for improvement, maximizing the effectiveness of each lesson. Through consistent communication with tutors, and thoroughly reviewing work done in sessions, we are able to provide unmatched support for children with learning gaps in their academic foundation.

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