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Donna M.

Academic, Learning Disability, Test Prep, & Home School Help

Sarasota, FL (34240)

Travel radius
15 miles
Hourly fee
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Donna M. passed a background check on 6/5/12. The check was ordered by Donna through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

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Learning can be daunting when we feel stuck and confused. It has been my joy for almost twenty-five years to help students develop clarity, understanding and confidence in their use of concepts & skills necessary for success in school and on tests.

We start our session with an informal assessment, as needed, and maintain communication about progress throughout our tutoring process. Our work is collaborative and designed to meet the individual needs and style of each student.

For Math, we use Hands-On Activities and Colorful Visual Organizers to help students gain deep, conceptual understandings of material, building a firm foundation for learning. We then practice skills to clarify and deepen comprehension. We review key concepts over time using self-made flash cards to maintain lasting understanding of subject matter.

In Reading, Spelling and Writing, we use the Orton-Gillingham method which is a phonetic, sequential, structured and multisensory approach, combining visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic modalities. We develop
a firm understanding of sound/symbol relationships, syllable divisions and accent placement. We follow up with Reading Comprehension Exercises, practicing identifying Main Idea, Details, Sequence of Events, Vocabulary, Analyzing Style & Meaning and Predicting Outcomes. Students gain fluency and confidence in their ability to read and understand the meaning of the written word.

With SATI, PSAT and ACT Test Prep, we review Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Word Problems as well as Grammar and Punctuation Rules. We build Vocabulary and extend understanding of word meaning using Greek & Latin Roots, Suffixes and Prefixes. We learn and practice methods for answering the questions and develop Timing and Guessing Methods while doing practice tests. Students have made great gains in their test scores
and mastery of test-taking skills and the subject matter, as well as increased confidence on test taking days.

For FCAT and EOC Exams, we review and practice the subject matter, making review sheets and and using flash cards to develop understanding and integrate skills. We cultivate timing and test-taking skills while taking practice exams, to develop mastery of skills and confidence in standardized test-taking.

I have taught and tutored hundreds of students over the years, helping them grow in understanding, skills and confidence, overcome learning disabilities and improve test scores. I have been a classroom teacher, in public and private schools, and tutor, in clinics and her private service, in New York City & Long Island, NY, Asheville, NC and Bradenton & Sarasota, FL.

I am a distinguished Upper-level Math teacher and recipient of the ETS Recognition of Excellence in Math: Content Knowledge. I am certified in Mathematics, History and Elementary Education and am trained to work with students with Learning Disabilities in Reading, using the Orton-Gillingham method, and Math, using hands on materials as well as College Test Prep.

It would be my joy to work with you in bringing success to your or your child's academic endeavors!

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Donna’s subjects

ACT Math, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Prealgebra, Precalculus, SAT Math
ACT English, ACT Reading, English, Grammar, Proofreading, Reading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing, Vocabulary, Writing
ACT Science
Elementary Education:
Special Needs:
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading, ACT Science, PSAT, SAT Math, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Corporate Training:
Grammar, Proofreading

ACT English

We start out our test prep with an assessment that covers grammar and punctuation. We review needed concepts and practice applying them through drills. We then work on actual English ACT sections, identifying the error type and finding the corrected words/lines of each question.

This part of the ACT is a very easy one for which to prepare; scores can greatly improved by learning the rules and applying them correctly. I would be delighted to help you improve your English ACT scores!

ACT Math

I have been helping students improve their ACT Test scores since the late 90's.

We start our test prep by reviewing Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trignometry and Word Problem Skills. We make notes and drill cards to help in the memorization of key information and formulas. We then practice answering actual ACT math questions and add in timing and guessing strategies.

I am a certified math teacher and would love to help you improve your ACT scores!

ACT Reading

We start by becoming familiar with the questions and then skimming the passage to get the overall idea. We then read in more detail to fully comprehend the passage. We work with precision and thinking skills to most accurately answer the questions and discern between possible answers and then incorporate timing methods.

Algebra 1

I have a Masters of Education and am certified to teach Math; in addition, I was awarded the ETS Certificate of Excellence in Math.

I have taught Algebra in the classroom as well as one-on-one through tutoring. In 2011, 70% of the at-risk students in my Algebra I classed passed the Algebra EOC exam.

I like to use hands-on manipulatives and colorful graphic organizers to help students understand Algebra concepts, as well as put key concepts on index cards to assist students in committing them to memory.

I love Algebra! It would be my joy to help you or your child learn how to use it.

Algebra 2

I am a certified Math teacher and have successfully taught Algebra I and II in the classroom. I was awarded the ETS Award of Excellence for high scores on my math certification exam.

I demonstrate and clearly and patiently explain concepts and skills, using hands on materials when possible. I make step-by-step notes and diagrams for greater comprehension. We then review past work each session for long term retention using concept cards we've made.

I would love to help you be more comfortable, competent and confident with your Algebra II skills!


In 1987 and 1996, I received training in the Orton-Gillingham Method for teaching students with Dyslexia.

I have taught Dyslexic students in clinics in New York and North Carolina, as well as through private tutoring sessions in Florida for almost twenty-five years.

The method I use helps students develop an understanding of sound-symbol relationships through a step-by-step, multi-sensory introduction to them.

Students gain confidence in sounding out words, reading fluently and comprehending the written text.

I love working with Dyslexic students helping them develop their Reading, Writing and Spelling skills and have had great success over the years doing so.

Elementary (K-6th)

I earned a Master's Degree in Education from Hofstra University in 1987. I am certified to teach Elementary Education in NY, NC and FL. I am also certified in Math and History, grades 6-12. I have taught as a classroom teacher and a tutor for almost 25 years.

Elementary Math

I am a certified Math Teacher and received the ETS Award of Mathematical Excellence for high scores on my certification exam. In addition, I have been trained to work with students with Dyscalculia, Learning Disabilities in Math.

I have taught Math with success in the classroom, in clinics and in tutoring sessions since the early 90's.

I use hands-on materials whenever possible, to help develop basic understandings and create colorful notes and concept cards to help students organize and retain information. I approach math concepts from many perspectives and make ideas clear and understandable.

I would love to help improve your student's confidence in, understanding and joy of math!


We can start with a Grammar/Punctuation Assessment and Writing Sample to see your areas of strength and weakness. From there, we can review and practice Rules of Grammar and Punctuation, as well as work on areas of Writing in need.

I love Grammar/Punctuation and Writing and am a published poet and recorded songwriter.

I have helped students both in the classroom and through tutoring improve their English Skills since the early 90's and would be delighted to help you improve your English Skills!


I am a certified Math Teacher and received the ETS Award of Mathematical Excellence for high scores on my certification exam. In addition, I have been trained to work with students with Dyscalculia, Learning Disabilities in Math.

I have taught Geometry with success in the classroom as well as one-on-one through tutoring. I use hands-on materials whenever possible and create colorful notes and concept cards to help students organize and retain information.

I explain concepts clearly and have patience in helping students master skills. I would love to help you do the same!


I have successfully taught Grammar in the classroom and through tutoring since the early '90s.

I like to start with a Grammar Assessment to find concepts we need to review and then do drills to reinforce these skills. I find that diagramming sentences to identify all parts of speech helps bring an understanding of Grammar together. It also helps with Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills.

It would be my pleasure to help you solidify your understanding of the rules and application of Grammar!


I have been trained to teach phonics to students with dyslexia using the Orton-Gillingham Method. This is a structured, sequential, multi-sensory method. I have taught phonics since 1987, in clinics and through private tutoring in New York, North Carolina and Florida.


We start with an Informal Reading Assessment determine strengths and needs in Phonetic Awareness, Decoding Skills and Reading Comprehension as well as Visual Tracking of letters and words. If necessary, I recommend formal testing, especially if Dyslexia is a possibility.

We then put together a plan to best fit the needs of the reader.

I have been trained to work with students with Dyslexia using the Orton-Gillingham Method and have extensive experience, both in clinics and private tutoring, helping students improve their reading skills.

I love helping people learn to read and would be happy to do the same with you and/or your student.

SAT Math

We start by reviewing Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry and Word Problem Skills, then practice SATI problems in each area.

Next, we practice setting up the problems by getting the important information, identifying the question to be answered seeing what we can do with what we know to get there.

We practice on actual SATI problems and work with Timing an Guessing Rules.

I am a certified math teacher, love math and can help you understand the concepts and questions on the SATI to improve your scores.

I have been helping students with the SATI Test since 1996.

SAT Reading

The Sentence Completion Portion depends heavily on Vocabulary. We start improving vocabulary by learning common Greek and Latin Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes and then learn how to break down words using these. We also use a workbook to increase vocabulary. We then work with a step-by-step method I've developed for breaking down the Sentence Completion question and finding the answer.

I teach you how to get the overview of the reading passage, reword the question so that it makes more sense, put the answer in your own words, and carefully sift through the answers to find the correct one.

We practice on actual SATI test questions and work with Timing Methods and Guessing Rules.

I would love to help you improve your Reading SATI scores!

Study Skills

I have taught study skills in middle school classes as well as individually to students through tutoring.

I start by discussing the importance of setting a schedule of regular study periods when one is refreshed. I talk about setting a quiet, uncluttered, organized location with appropriate lighting and supplies to always study.

By studying at the same time each day in an appropriate setting, one sets a habit which makes studying easier.

Next we look at types of subjects and the importance of setting up a list of what one needs to do each night, then organizing the subjects from hardest to easiest, doing the hardiest subjects first to get them done and leaving the easier ones to do when one is less refreshed. Also, we discuss the importance of alternating between subjects requiring reading, calculations and writing, so as to not overdo one type of activity and tire oneself.

We then look at setting aside time for review each night before sleep to help build retention of facts.

We talk about breaking down bigger projects into smaller steps and setting up a time frame for each activity. We set up a schedule, starting a few weeks ahead of time, so as to do a little at a time and have time in between work periods for integration and reflection.

We also discuss setting a schedule for test review including creating study sheets.

Notetaking and classroom behaviors like asking questions and where to sit are also looked at.

Overall, we talk about what we can learn to build our understanding of the world and what we can develop as capacities and skills to take with us from school activities. This motivates an individual to learn for his/her own growth and development and not merely for grades, which will come as a result of this process.


I love writing!

I started writing as a child and to date my favorite things to have are a pencil and piece of paper.

I took hours writing English essays in high school, poring over a dictionary and thesaurus to find just the right word for each thought.

In college, I started writing poems and lyrics. To this date, I have written a couple of hundred poems and songs. Some poems are published and some songs appear on tape and cds.

I have taught grammar, vocabulary and writing as a classroom teacher and tutor over the past twenty five years.

I would love to share my skills and passion with you and/or your child.

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New York University (Environ Economics)

Hofstra University (MEd)

A Dream Come True!!! — Donna has been such a wonderful breath of fresh air. My daughter hated going to school and would even get physically ill before leaving for school in the mornings and she would miss school. We hired Donna before the school year started and my daughter has a whole new attitude about school. She wakes up when I do in the mornings and is ready over an hour before school starts. She is even requesting ...

— Kelly, Bradenton, FL on 9/12/12

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $50.00

Cancellation: 36 hours notice required

Travel policy

Donna will travel within 15 miles of Sarasota, FL 34240.

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Usually responds in about 14 hours

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