Classroom Matters

Community Subscriber
(510) 540-8646
frontdesk [at]

Classroom Matters provides academic support and mentoring in all subject areas to students in grades K-12 and beyond. We customize our approach to meet the individual needs of each student and specialize in executive function support. All of our services, including workshops, are accessible online. 

Parent Reviews

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I also had a kid who had an IEP starting in elementary school. The district did an abismal  job of providing services in elementary. We were therefore able to negotiate that they pay for some tutor sessions but it is by no means guaranteed. I recommend Classroom Matters. They will provide the level of tutor necessary for the needs of your child. We had a good experience with them


Classroom Matters has been a huge help for us. They really understand issues with executive functioning challenges (and ADHD) and how to help and support kiddos dealing with those challenges. They have fantastic rapport with kids dealing with this; get that their challenges are beyond their control. I appreciate their approach that the kids should not be blamed for these problems they're struggling with. Tatiana has been a huge help for our resistant teenage son; her ability to relate to him at his level and fully understand what he’s going through has been incredibly helpful. He has not been officially diagnosed with ADHD, but he has a difficult time staying on task, keeping track of assignments and remembering to turn them in. She has given him concrete suggestions that work for him which has made an enormous difference for him (has helped boost his self-confidence). She’s also incredibly generous and has advocated for him with our school. She is skilled at reviewing 504s and recommending how they can be improved. I recommend Classroom Matters to friends who are struggling with these issues all the time, and I live in San Diego!


I highly recommend Classroom Matters.  I've been working an adult coach there and it's been lifechanging.


Hi there - We had a very positive experience with Lisa Miller and Amanda Burke of Classroom Matters. They are AMAZING and I highly recommend both of them. I will be eternally grateful to Lisa and Amanda for the support they provided to my daughter and our family. 


Hello! I am so happy to have a great resource to offer you: Classroom Matters (located on Sacramento Street at Dwight Way in Berkeley) offers executive function coaching (linked to ADHD), as well as subjects tutoring. Also: you don't mention what school district you are in, but Berkeley High Independent Study is a godsend to students who are struggling with anxiety. My daughter spent her Junior and Senior years there, and it was an incredible experience for her - wonderful teachers, less homework, autonomy, more free time to organize life and materials so that it doesn't feel like one big nightmare. She's just graduated from college, and I credit Independent Study with helping her form the foundations to be so successful. 


Greetings - I am a parent of a teenager with ADHD. First, don't buy any more ADHD books - we have many and can share! Second, my child has been working with Lisa Miller at Classroom Matters, and she's amazing. Lisa is an incredibly talented coach. She has deep ADHD experience, and she has a team of excellent tutors / coaches to back her up. Based on the limited information you provide here, I highly recommend Lisa. If she's not able to help you, I'm sure she can find point you in the right direction. and I'm new to BPN, but it looks like you can message me privately via the platform. Please feel free to reach out to me directly - happy to talk with you and share more about our family's ADHD journey. 

Feedback on Mathnasium (Nov 24, 2021)

We've had good experiences at both Mathnasium and Classroom Matters. I like the fact that Mathnasium starts with an evaluation, which then identifies which areas your child needs to work on, and then they work on those, making sure the child has a solid foundation. Plus, our kid, who hates school math, loves going there. But at Classroom Matters you can have a private tutor, which is also nice, especially if your kid needs help with homework. Our older kid got some tutoring at Classroom Matters and we were happy with their services also.

I recommend Classroom Matters in Berkeley on Sacramento @ Dwight.  You pay privately and I think they do a good job matching up students with tutors. It seems to me that most kiddos these days who need tutoring have ADHD and/or dyslexia or other LD’s. My daughter had tutoring 3x/week via Zoom last year and it really helped. Executive Functioning was the primary help.  They reviewed her Google classroom tasks together then worked on HW. Often it was reading, her biggest challenge. It is expensive. 
Are you working with your school system for accommodations via an IEP or other avenue? In my experience the dyslexia support in Berkeley is extremely limited. For example, in reading my daughter tested at 15th percentile which they considered “average” therefore not requiring additional help. 
So frustrating!
Good Luck! 


Try Classroom Matters. We have used a tutor from there this year and last school year. Both tutors have been excellent.


Our son (senior at ECHS) has been working with Amanda Burke at Classroom Matters ( and it's been a really good experience for him (and us). She has been primarily helping him craft his essays and personal statements but has helped with other areas of the application process. We set it up so that they met for 1 hour long sessions on a weekly basis but the schedule is completely flexible. I would absolutely recommend giving her and the CM team a call.


We've had great experience with Classroom Matters -- our daughter's tutor is Kyle and he's been a fantastic fit for her. I've also heard that Misha Yerlick ( is great. It's definitely been challenging squeezing in all the material in half the time for an already fast-paced class!


Hi, I know that Classroom Matters has been providing this type service for years. We have used their tutors before and every one of them has been wonderful. I recommend reaching out sooner than later since I heard the demand for this is much higher now with the news of remote learning this fall. They currently working to build creative solutions for groups during this unprecedented time. They are a small, locally owned business as well. You can reach Tatiana or Lisa at (510) 540-8646. 


My daughter (also entering 9th grade) hasn't taken writing courses, but we've been pleased with the tutoring and workshops at classroom matters. Friendly, knowlegable tutors and, importantly, they are really on top of all things administrative (easy to call, easy to reschedule, plenty of email reminders, etc).


Classroom Matters, an excellent place which offers classes, workshops, and one-on-one learning support, has just pivoted to on-line supports and learning. I have always been super-impressed with them and their community supports, and know so many parents who sing their praises on the quality of support their kids get from them. A number of things they're offering are free, and they also offer need-based scholarships. Check their website for courses they've got up now.

AP CHEM Tutor (Mar 3, 2020)

I also have a 15 year old son who is taking AP chemistry at Berkeley High. Though my son at first didn’t want the help of a tutor, he finally decided he needed help.   Through friends’ recommendations, I learned about Classroom Matters.  For the last four months, my son has actually enjoyed working on his AP chemistry with his very experienced tutor.  When his one hour session is complete each week, he says things like, “She is really smart and can actually teach,” or, “she makes way more sense than my teacher,” or, “why can’t my teacher explain it like this?”  

As my son does not enjoy being a student, each week I’m amazed that I don’t have to push him to go to Classroom Matters.  He’s happy to go and he’s happy with the results.  Though he doesn’t get tutoring help with his math, he credits his two-grade jump to the help he’s received from his tutor.

As Classroom Matters is observing the shelter-in-place mandate, my son is continuing his sessions online with his tutor.


Classroom Matters on Sacramento Street.

My kid hates school, studying, tests, all of it. But he needed to take the SSAT so we made him go to Classroom Matters once a week for 3 months as that was the only way he had a chance of doing okay on the test. He ended up with results in the 90%, which is crazy beyond anything we expected. 

His teacher was very very good at teaching my son test -taking strategies, as well as a lot of actual material he had been behind on. 

The administrators there here also made a great effort to match my son with a teacher who would be the right personality fit for him. I think this helped a lot in reducing his resistance to going since it was on a Saturday(!). 


My son, who is in his last year at Oakland Tech, has been going to Classroom Matters on Sacramento Street in Berkeley for many years.  He struggles with executive functioning, keeping on task and organization as well as needing help with class/homework.  I cannot say enough about the directors and all of the different tutors that have worked with my son.  It was extremely stressful to try and keep on top of my son’s work and I never felt like I could do this and stay sane!  I also have Tatiana, one of the directors, come to the IEP meetings with me as an advocate.  She helps cut through the jargon and knows the system way better than I could.  

Good Luck to you and your child!

Terrie G.


My 15 year old has been meeting with Amanda at Classroom Matters on Sacramento St in Berkeley once a week last year and this year for executive function coaching and she has been amazing! It hasn't fixed all his procrastination and distraction issues but it has still been super helpful. They also have an afterschool homework program that I would like to try (but have not yet).


Classroom Matters on Sacramento/Dwight! We have used them this year and I've been extremely happy with the service. My child also has a 504 but for a whole host of reasons is not interested in receiving help. They are great at engaging, matching kid/tutor, seeing the person they're tutoring, and they are very thorough. Highly recommend.


Classroom Matters -  I have heard them present several times on executive function and we adopted some of the strategies and they were useful. 

I know they do advocacy, but have no directly experience with that. Here is the link. Good luck.


My son got excellent help from Amanda Burke at Classroom Matters. She helped him identify what he wanted from college, helped him find students and graduates from his top choices to ask questions of, helped him find his voice for essays and applications, and instilled confidence in him. It really made a difference for him (and he got in to his first choice college via early decision!).

He was "late" getting started (many of his friends had coaches starting the previous spring), and CM is super affordable, which allowed us to have money for college, not just coaching.

Good luck!


Two of my children have ADHD and anxiety.  Both did well in school until high school.  We have worked with therapists and enrolled our kids in classes to manage their ADHD and anxiety at Kaiser (Very helpful!).  However, when they reached high school, both began struggling for very different reasons.  One child battled severe depression and was hospitalized and fell behind in her classes.  She couldn't keep up as we figured out what treatment might work for her.  Once she was stable, she was so far behind that it looked like she wouldn't graduate.  My other child is very gifted and enjoyed the arts aspect of school but couldn't be bothered to do the academic work.  Despite counseling, 504 Plans and all sorts of consequences, he too was failing.  As soon as we realized our challenges, we  reached out to Lisa at Classroom Matters  in Berkeley and have been working with their team for years now.  Their advocate, Tatiana, helped us work with the school, understand our rights and get action so that my daughter could graduate on time.  The tutors have worked with both children over the years and have been extremely supportive, encouraging and have helped both children master materials they were struggling with. Derek is currently working with my son to help him catch up so that he can graduate from the school he loves.  Derek is very focused, patient and provides great follow-up with us as parents and my son's teachers.  I honestly don't know what we would have done without the team at Classroom Matters during the most difficult of times.  I would highly recommend that you contact them for a consultation.  They have regular tutoring sessions, as well as a drop-in supervised study clinic.  Wishing you luck, sanity and stamina to get through these years!


My son had similar issues as a Freshman at BHS. Although he does not have an IEP, he walks to classroom matters 1 day a week after school and it has really helped with his executive functioning, organization and grades


My junior in high school sees Betty Cui at Classroom Matters. She also had a weak foundation in math. All of the tutors there have been wonderful. Betty is very good at getting my child to look at the whole picture so she can figure out new things. We have been pleased with her weekly updates and her ability to identify where my child needs help.


Hey Ian,
I can highly recommend ClassRoom Matters. They are based in Berkeley on Sacramento St. They Also have a great after care program out of St. Alban's church in Albany - Both my kids went there when they were at Marin and loved it.  The staff at ClassRoom matters are great. They will listen to what your child's individual needs are and connect you with a tutor that's the right fit.  My older son needed 1 on 1 tutoring and they paired him with the perfect tutor who has really helped him gain confidence in school and worked with him on strategies to help him study, learn and deal with challenges on his own.


Archived Q&A and Reviews

August 2015

RE: After-school language program near Berkeley?

Hi - You don't say what BUSD school you are at. Classroom Matters offers after school Spanish programs at Washington, Rosa Parks & Thousand Oaks. To register contact Tatiana at (510) 540-8646. If your not at one of these schools you can also discuss ways to get it there. My kids participated all year at Washington and I recommend it. Washington Parent.

April 2015

I’m submitting an unsolicited positive recommendation for Classroom Matters, an academic support and mentoring center in Berkeley. Our teenage son was struggling badly in public high school and getting lousy grades. We sent him to Classroom Matters for weekly tutoring, he also goes every afternoon after school to do his homework during supervised study. His grades have improved dramatically, they’ve taught him executive function skills, and his tutor has helped him so much with understanding the schoolwork and finishing the homework. The people at CM are familiar with BUSD curricula and curricula in other school districts, they’re great with kids of all ages, and they make them feel comfortable and capable. We’re so glad Classroom Matters is in our community – we can’t recommend it highly enough! Rebecca

Feb 2015

RE: Writing tutor for fifth grader

My then 14 year old son took the Summer Writing Workshop taught by Sondra Hall at Classroom Matters last summer. It is a weeklong essay writing class that meets 3 hours daily. I couldn't have been more pleased; my son really enjoyed it and I was impressed with the precision, care and thoroughness of Ms. Hall's instruction. I felt that he got a much higher level of writing instruction than he ever received at his school. glad dad

August 2011

Re: Recommendation needed for Berkeley writing tutor
Please check out Classroom Matters at Our 17 y.o. daughter is smart but became overwhelmed with her classes this year. Classroom Matters definitely got her through the rest of the year without losing her self esteem and motivation. They matched her to a wonderful tutor who helped her with her writing assignments. She also attended the supervised study sessions and received help with other subjects. Classroom Matters has a happy buzz to it and the students look like they are glad to be there! The support of Classroom Matters was a life boat. pleased parent

Jan 2011

Re: French tutor for HS Junior
Hi, We're extremely satisfied with Lisa Miller and consider her an outstanding French tutor. Lisa is affiliated with Classroom Matters on Sacramento.

Our child attended Ecole Bilingue (EB) from age 3 through 8th grade, so she's fluent in French. (We don't speak French at home.) Even with a strong vocabulary, since the Berkeley High (BHS) curriculum emphasizes grammar more so than EB, we felt the need for some focused attention not available at BHS. In fact, we started with Lisa when our child was still at EB in the 8th grade.

Our child likes French, but hates grammar. Lisa has been patient and thorough in her assistance. Lisa has also gone well beyond the usual expectations one might have in communicating with the teachers to make sure that weak areas were being addressed. Lisa and Classroom Matters have been great resources.

Please let me know if you have follow up questions. Rich

We have been really happy with Classroom Matters for French tutoring over the past three years. The business owner, Lisa Miller, is proficient in French and has excellent contacts with the language department at BHS. Our high schooler worked with Lisa herself, and with two other tutors over the years. All have been quite good.

I especially appreciate the active approach the tutors use to communicate with the high school French teachers. For example, they find out about homework, projects, and tests and often get direct feedback from the teachers about our child's work in class.

Classroom Matters also write weekly/bi-weekly emails about our child's doings and progress during tutoring, sometimes including suggestions for how to schedule and prioritize tasks. These personal messages invite parents to add to the conversation; they aren't just newsletters or formulaic, and there is always a prompt reply, often with further insights.

For high school students, tutoring needs to come from a person with a strong background in the subject area and a good grasp on how the child's school approaches the material. Classroom Matters has been especially strong in providing that for our child in French. I recommend it most highly. Berkeley parent of 2

We had the BEST experience at Classroom Matters. The director, Lisa Miller, is also the lead French tutor. She was fantastic with my daughter, effectively assessed her strengths and weaknesses, and made professional contact with the teacher to make sure the tutoring was in sync with the course. This is a wonderful and effective resource. I highly recommend them. Classroom Matters Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 1-6PM 510-540-8646 Amy

Jan 2010

My student is struggling in math and worried about finals coming up at the end of January. Classroom Matters is close to my home. Does anyone have experience using their tutoring services? Thanks concerned mom

My son has been going to Classroom Matters for 4 months and is doing better in math. Mostly I think they got him past MAJOR math phobia. They ''interview'' you and the child and match you with a tutor. My son enjoys tutoring with Danny and does not want to stop. Downside is that as a tutoring center with administrative staff it's expensive but when I talked to several other less expensive tutors they had kids come to their homes or they met above Starbucks downtown etc. and I just didn't feel totally comfortable. Kate

We love Classroom Matters! We don't have any experience with the math tutoring specifically, but our kids have benefitted from CM's summer writing programs, tutoring in two languages, and workshops on study and test-taking skills. We've found all the CM folks we've worked with to be qualified in their areas, to interact effectively with teens, and to be genuinely warm and caring. What's not to love? Go for it! Happy CM client

Classroom Matters is a wonderful resource, and a supportive environment for learning. Classroom Matters has a warm environment. The tutors and administrative staff are friendly, knowledgeable and fun. Many of the tutors are young adults who have a wonderful sense about how to work with the youth they work with. This makes students more comfortable and more able to learn.

When you come in you are greeted in a friendly manner by Shirley, who knows all the youth and families. One can have your child/adolescent come for tutoring one on one or study hall.

My 13 (almost 14) year old daughter goes four days a week. The staff helps her with her homework when she needs or wants help, and they give her space when she wants to do it on her own. The staff helps her organize her homework and while helping and/or giving space the tutors support and reinforce good study habits.

The teachers at her school have told me that, she has more confidence since she has been going to Classroom Matters. I see her understanding more complex problems, trying and solving difficult problems (math, science, and literature).

It is wonderful for my relationship with her because she is going over and doing most of her homework with someone else. Additionally I am confident it is well handled, done well, and that she is learning.

I have known others who have gone strictly for tutoring. The Director, Lisa is interested and knowledgeable regarding education, how to teach and tutor youth. She and her staff take their role seriously. They meet to discuss how to best help their students. They are familiar with assisting for college entrance, tutoring math, science, literature and assisting youth with organizational issues and learning differences. I myself work with youth who have emotional issues and learning differences. I have been happy as a parent and impressed as a professional. BPN parent Berekley Parent

My student went to Classroom Matters for tutoring help with math and got immediate results right after the first session! Classroom Matters staff took the time to really find out what was going on and even emailed the teacher to find out more information. We have found both the individual tutoring and the homework help to be very effective and highly recommend Classroom Matters. Don't wait until your student gets too far behind and frustrated! Linda

Classroom Matters offers excellent tutoring services and test preparations skills. The staff are very professional and easily connect with teens. Classroom Matters is a wonderful resource which I hightly recommend. Jan

My son has gone to Classroom Matters a couple of different times, for several months at a time. I don't remember him doing math, but CM has wonderful tutors with expertise in math, Spanish, English, whatever you need. They'll also match your kid with a tutor he/she likes. In my experience, tutoring (like any relationship) works best when there's a good chemistry between the two people! So that flexibility is crucial. The staff there is very supportive and smart. And if you're not sure where to turn, you can chat with Lisa Miller, one of the directors. She's seen it all and is great to talk to. I wouldn't hesitate to go there again. The only problem for me is location. My son can't easily get there on his own and I work across the Bay and am not always available to take him until the evening (and yes, they do offer tutoring in the evening, in fact they don't open until 4 pm). I'd love it if Classroom Matters was in downtown Berkeley - much more convenient for high school students, and even King students. Dana

March 2009

Re: Math tutor for 7th grader
I would recommend Classroom Matters for your 7th grader for Math and they also have an excellent summer writing program for teens. Both my daughters have benefited trememdously from these offerings. Classroom Matters is located on Sacramento St in Berkeley-540-8646. Karen

Dec 2008

Greetings Everyone,
I would like feedback on Classroom Matters Tutoring Center in Berkeley. I am looking for a math tutor for my 2nd grader (yes, 2nd grade!) He has special needs (high functioning autism) and is having trouble understanding math. Any personal opionions? Or recommendations for a tutor that can work with a child with special needs? Feedback greatly appreciated - thanks! cmb

My 9th grade daughter is getting tutored at Classroom Matters now, and also went there when she was in 4th grade. Both times it has been a big help. The tutors seem on the ball and well able to diagnose what needs to be worked on. I will say I have been having a lot of trouble with their scheduling person who is not terribly efficient or helpful, but the tutors are great, as are the senior staff. Knows when to get the experts

June 2008

Re: Basic writing skills course for unmotivated 14-year-old
My daughter, a current sophomore at BHS, took the Classroom Matters Summer Writing Course last year and it improved her writing. ks

May 4 2007

In response to people looking for tutoring for high school kids: we urgently needed someone to help us in the fall as our son was failing Advanced Biology at Berkeley High. I wanted him to learn the material, but equally important, learn how to learn, how to study. Classroom Matters has been amazing! He enjoys going there, feels understood by them and they entirely remove the stigma about needing tutoring.He prepares for his meetings with them - tutoring keeps him on-track and eliminates me from being in fights with him. Can't recommend more highly. Susan

Feb 2007

Re: Homework helper?
I missed the original message, but if you're looking for someone to help your teen with their homework and keep them on track, I highly recommend Classroom Matters. They have an excellent supervised study program that allows kids to drop in after school, do their homework in a pleasant, quiet environment, and get help when they need it. My own child is very social and prone to all the modern distractions of MySpace, IM, iPods, cell phones, etc. Classroom Matters literally rescued me. My daughter loves going there, the staff checks in with her frequently, and she's become much more serious about her school work. She also has a once-a-week tutoring session with a wonderful tutor who has been able to help her with a wide range of subject areas. For years she wouldn't even consider tutoring, but after one session with this tutor, she had a complete change in attitude. I should also mention that Classroom Matters has a very convenient location at Dwight & Sacramento --the bus stops right there, and it's even walkable from BHS. A great community resource! lc

Jan 12 2007 Classroom Matters provided our son with a tutoring experience that supported the challenges he faced during his junior year at BHS. They took a comprehensive assessment to determine the learning differences that may impact their approach to working with him. They took great effort to place him with a tutor who would teach in a manner that matched his individual learning style. They were very attuned to the importance of developing a trusting relationship between tutor and student. They worked with him on study habits & organizational skills while also focusing on the course material. They provided regular feedback to keep us abreast of the difficulties our son faced & the progress he made throughout the year. The commitment & concern for our child's well being was evident in every aspect of our experience. I would highly recommend Classroom Matters to any parent who is seeking tutoring or SAT prep. Cindy

Oct 22 2006

Fortunately ,I heard about Classroom Matters through another family when our daughter entered her Sophomore year at BHS. She was struggling to organize her time and prioritize subjects in advance of testing. I arranged to have her meet once a week for English and Spanish help and a review of what was due, when and how much more needed to happen. She incorporated the tutoring and study skills into her routine with impressive results and I was incredibly relieved to have her look forward to sharing her concerns regularly with her tutor and getting the help she needed. In her junior year she needed additional tutoring for Math Analysis and the SAT 2s. It is great to have such a resource as Classroom Matters available.

Oct 2005

I want to praise the efforts of Classroom Matters. My son had taken the California High School Placement Exam (CHSPE) and passed the English but not the Math. Prior to taking the Math section a third time we sent our son to Classroom Matters. He was tutored 3 times in the 3 days before tasking the CHSPE for the third time. Our son passed the test with flying colors. Classroom Matters provides an excellent space to promote learning. If your teen needs tutoring Classroom Matters is the place. Renata

Oct 2005

Jut want to echo the sentiments that Classroom Matters is wonderful. My son took a college essay class this summer and it was so helpful. There were 4 group lessons and he got 3 individual tutoring sessions also. He really enjoyed the teachers and wound up writing a fantastic essay. So I highly recommend it. Alisa

April 2005

Does anyone have any comments/opinions about the Berkeley tutoring center ''Classroom Matters'' ? How expensive is it? Thanks in advance. looking for an algebra tutor

Our BHS 10th grader started with Classroom Matters the week before first semester finals. His organization,grades,confidence and attitude toward school are noticably improved. The one on one attention has really helped. We started with Classroom Matters after talking to two other parents that also had seen positive results in their sons there. As to the cost-we find it a good investment-happier kid,working to learn,more confident and less hassle on the home front-and his grades are better even on the classes he isn't being tutored in! Margie

March 2005

Just wanted to give a plug for Classroom Matters - the tutoring center mentioned recently on this digest. My 11 year old daughter has started going there for help with reading and comprehension, and she has been really pleased with the extra help, and I have noticed a big change in her attitude towards school. The center is a busy place - but seems very flexible about timing for sessions. I also found the cost reasonable - $500 for 10 sessions. It has been worth it. SM

June 2003

Re: Tutors for Japanese
Classroom Matters has a tutor, Greta Pane, who is an excellent Japanese tutor. She is available this summer, and we are offering reduced rates. Please feel free to call us at 540-8646 to discuss her background,set up an appointment, or ask any questions you might have about our services. We also have a web site:, which has Greta's bio and descriptions of our services as well. Please note that all tutoring does take place at our center, in Berkeley. Molly Gales

Oct 2002

Classroom Matters has been a godsend for our family. My son, a sophomore at Berkeley High, immediately connected with the classroom matters staff and, under his own initiative, has been going four days a week after school and stays until they close. They are tutoring him in several different subjects, and he is benefiting tremendously from working with them and from the supervised study time. He has learned to better organize his assignments and work productively. His grades have improved and he feels confident and proud of his new academic abilities. I attribute his progress to the great Classroom Matters staff. They have helped him to enjoy Berkeley High and the increased workload of his sophomore year. They are providing the one-on- one and small group environment that I would have expected at a private school, hoped for at Berkeley High, and found at Classroom Matters. You can contact them at a Berkeley High parent

Sept 2002

I can't recommend Classroom Matters enough for helping my son through a rough period last year and preventing our family from going through a complete meltdown over his problems with school. CM not only got us through a real crisis but helped my son develop a much stronger sense of confidence about himself and his ability to tackle and solve difficult problems and succeed in school.

As is not atypical for 15-16 year old males, my formerly straight-A student hit the wall sophomore year. At the start of the year, he was sharing only his better grades with us, and we didn't realize he was having problems until his first quarterly report card arrived. We were shocked and dismayed to find a DF in one subject and a CD in two others. Being incurable Type-A people, my husband and I immediately launched into We will get control of this situation gear. Right. Of course, the more we pushed, cajoled, advised and otherwise tried to act like we really didn't care if he got As or not, the worse things got. He tormented us with his decision to either go to community college (okay) or join the army (with Bush as President? Gulp) upon graduation. Happily, a close friend's son was already being tutored at Classroom Matters, and we decided to try it ourselves.

Within a nanosecond of meeting him, Molly Gales, one of the owners, had my son wrapped around her little finger. Within 5 minutes, we were signed up not only for tutoring in the one subject but in two, combined with three days of supervised study. My son heard what that was about and jumped at the opportunity. Basically, supervised study provides an environment free of parents, siblings, phone, computers/e-mail, music, TV, etc., where kids can tackle their work and receive input and support when they want it, from Molly, Lisa Miller (Molly's partner) the varying tutors who are there on any given day, and other students. The atmosphere is wonderful - the kids feel they are there with other motivated, academically strong students who just happen to have some problem or another - ranging from motivation and attitude to real learning disabilities. In our case, we agreed that Molly and Lisa would monitor his grades, progress, issues, etc., allowing us as a family to go back to having fun and focusing on other things. Their feedback is regular (every two weeks), insightful and caring. We get involved only when we have to. We do talk about school with our son and he now tells us quite often how he is doing, but mostly we have great talks about what he is learning and what interests him. Molly and Lisa are both wonderful and very different, so there is a great balance in the roles they play and how they relate to the kids.

My son had his plan for CM in place for this year before school was even out last year. Whether he needs tutoring or not, he has signed on again for three days of supervised study. I am going back to school for the first time in 30 years this fall and threatened to sign up for CM myself. I was told in no uncetain terms to forget it - this is definitely his space for learning, struggling, growing and kicking back.

I'd be happy to talk to anyone who is considering using this wonderful resource. Please contact me.


Jan 2002

I want to report a great experience we've had using Classroom Matters tutoring service for my son. He started going there during junior year when he needed help with writing papers. After a few tutoring sessions he started getting papers in on time and the quality got better and better throughout the year. Even more important, he enjoyed going and took advantage of the study hall option (kids can do their homework in a quiet but relaxed setting--they even have snacks--and ask for help from the tutors if they need it). He also got help in studying for his SAT 2 Writing which is one of the most important tests for colleges--especially if you aren't getting As in English. He wound up getting 780 out of 800!

The service is expensive, especially if you compare it to what a college student tutor charges. We decided that it was worth it to us, not just to help our son with his grades/test scores but to keep us off his case as much as possible. Although we have had some tense moments, the college application/senior year pressures have not been serious and we feel as though Classroom Matters is the reason. If you can possible afford it, I recommend them. I only wish we had started using them in sophomore year.

you can go to their website at: (two mms!)

To the person seeking writing/reading tutoring sources: My 8th grader has been going to Classroom Matters once a week for tutoring for a couple of months. His Algebra grade has risen two grade levels (from a D to a B) as a result of the consistent, effective coaching. He has not only received excellent explanations and information, but has been motivated to succeed by the caring staff. They can tutor in reading/writing and have computers available to word-process assignments. Tutors will read and critique student work, guiding students to express themselves more effectively. Classroom Matters staff can tutor on a variety of subjects including PSAT, SAT, and State Proficiency exams. There are a variety of packages available, short-term or long-term, to meet different needs. It's not inexpensive, but the environment and the staff make reluctant students want to learn, and good students excel. (Please post anonymously since my son would not be happy to see his grades posted.)


I found the service on the Teen website and I would like to echo the raves of other parents. My son has received help with English essay writing (he suffered writer's block when he had to analyze Virgil, and we sure couldn't help him) and the tutor--who is an adult, experienced teacher--has been great for both essay writing and support. He also got short term prep for the SAT--he tests well and a series of classes would have been overkill. The service is expensive compared to hiring a college student for a single subject--but the quality is so good it's worth every penny. Meg

I am a teen member of the parent teen network. 4 years ago, I met Molly Gerstein Gales because my mom thought I needed extra help in English. I was a freshman at Berkeley High school. I was also diagnosed with Dyslexia. (We now know that I still have a basic learning disability involving visual processing problems). Molly tutored me. But not just in English, she also taught me how to study and get my act together in all other subject areas. And when I needed help in other content areas, she passed me on to other tutors who were working with her in her home.

I worked with Molly and several other of her trained tutors throughout my 4 years at BHS.They helped me with English, AP Chem, Biology, Spanish, SAT and even helped me with my college essays. I am now going off to Bates College this fall. I am writing the newsletter because Molly is doing something wonderful that I want to share with as many people as possible. This fall, her small tutoring business is expanding and she is opening a new center. I just came back from a visit to the place (it's at 940 Dwight Way)and got so excited I decided to write to the newsletter.

This place is going to be incredible. Molly has created a really homey environment, it reminds me of her living room, only with lots more resources. There are computers with DSL, bookshelves full of useful books, supplies, and 12 new trained tutors. I just know Molly and her band of people will help tons of teenagers, her program really does tutor the whole teenager. I am living proof. I think her new address and phone information is on the updated web site:, but just in case, you can call her old number at 510-841-4631. Cecilia

I just wanted to share a great tutoring experience my son had this school year. My son just finished his sophmore year at BHS. Midway through the year he realized that his grades would really make a difference in his future and he needed help. Through the recommendations of this list (parents of teens), we found our way to Molly Gales at Classroom Matters. She offers a great program. My son got real help with his math class, wonderful new study skills, and all-around encouragement to focus on academics. He is inspired to continue getting help with school work and SAT prep through Molly's program. Thanks to the list for helping us find this great resource!
Robin (6/00)

Classroom Matters is an amazing program started by former Berkeley High School teacher Molly Gales. Molly formulates a customized program for every student, depending on their needs. She has experienced tutors in all academic areas: English, languages, math, science, electives, organization and study skills, SAT preparation, and college essay preparation. She also offers enrichment for students who feel that they need more in- depth instruction than they receive at school. The first time my daughter met Molly she said, she's the coolest person I've ever met! Needless to say, Molly is amazing, and I highly recommend her program. Her web site is

Regarding the search for a writing class or tutor posted in the last newsletter: I'd like to recommend Molly Gales - who runs a tutorting service called Classroom Matters - it is a truly inspired tutor and mentor for teens . In addition to being able to work very concretely on writing, reading and study skills, she has a great gift as a motivator for even very reluctant students. She radiates energy and enthusiasm for learning in a way that kids can relate to. In addition to her tutoring, she is running a book club this summer. I can't recomend her highly enough.

Lisa, BHS parent of sophmore (6/00)

I am writing to recommend Classroom Matters as a terrific personalized tutoring resource for your teen. I have been sending my daughter there for 2+ years. She is participating in the summer book club this summer (it was her idea!!) which is no small feat, because she is dyslexic. Reading and writing did not always come so naturally for her...but now she will be in AP English next year. In addition to English and History tutoring with Molly Gales, my daughter has also received tutoring in Chemistry and Math from the handful of other tutors Molly has recruited and trained for her small business. This summer, she has tutors who are experienced in Math, Science and best of all SAT Prep (all individualized sessions)and she has told me there is still room available. There are several sections of the summer book club too. If your child is taking AP English, there is a special section studying the 4 books that they are required to read this summer. (Those books are hard! The Sound and Fury and Notes from Underground to name 2...)

The atmosphere at Molly's is relaxed and comfortable, she often feeds all of the kids and always shows them lots of love; it is also clear that the business of learning is a serious and dedicated pursuit in her home. All of the tutors are trained in study skills, as well as their content area. And Molly makes it her business to see personally that each kid gets organized and on track. She also takes time to make sure that each student is getting just what they need (and they really respond to her, I often hear great feedback from friends I have recommended to Classroom Matters and they always seem to stick with the program). I know she has put up a web site: as a resource for parents and kids who are working with her. I suggest you go there to find out more. She is not cheap, but it is worth every penny. I know she offers scholarships and discounts too. I hope this helps others as much as it has helped my daughter.

Cecilia (6/00)

I called Classroom Matters and they charge $75 per hour. -- S (6/00)

I just wanted to clarify my rates at Classroom Matters. There are a number of different packages available. $75 per session is the basic rate for individualized tutoring. There are package discounts if you are arranging a number of sessions. There is also tutoring in pairs, group study and supervised study, all of which have different rates. Please contact me if you want more information about any of our programs. We have some great stuff happening this summer and spaces are already filling up for the fall.

Molly Gales (July 2000)