Over 200 tutoring hours

Marcia P.

Grass Valley, CA


Personalized Math Tutor

In-person lessons
4.8 average from 82 ratings
Great Tutor
— Samantha, Nevada City, CA on 6/22/12

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Brooklyn College
Secondary Education
San Francisco State University, Education
San Francisco State University, Computer Sci.


Brooklyn College (Secondary Education)

San Francisco State University, Education (Master's)

San Francisco State University, Computer Sci. (Master's)

About Marcia

I was a full-time math teacher in California public schools, where I taught all levels from prealgebra through AP Calculus. Many of my students still keep in touch and hail from all around the world. They have gone to many colleges including Stanford, Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Cal Berkeley, and UC Davis to name a few. Their current careers are doctors, teachers, and engineers. One former student has her own TV show. Another produced a film for Pixar that won academy awards.

Part of my professional background was obtaining an M.S. in Computer Science and working at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. I wrote remote control and text messaging apps.

After retiring from full-time teaching I substituted and privately tutored in the Bay Area and recently moved to these magnificent Sierra foothills. I prefer to call my extensive tutoring experience personalized instruction. My goal is to meet the student's goals--understanding the concepts, improving test scores, raising the grade, lessening the stress, working with their style and at their pace, whatever the individual requires.

My students tell me that I explain clearly, use everyday language, real objects, useful diagrams and visualizing techniques which makes the technical terms and notation easy to deal with. I work on test-taking strategies and 'learning how to learn'--how to cope with it all.

Students have said that I make it easy to learn and am down to earth and non-intimidating so they can build self-confidence. I work with the students' learning styles rather than imposing rigid approaches. Often there are many ways to solve a problem and if the classroom teacher insists on a particular method or format, but the student can't relate to that, we can translate between the student's style and the teacher's.

I have lots of supplementary materials from my teaching and tutoring, in case students want extra practice or test review. Let's take the stress out of math and let's get it done.
I was a full-time math teacher in California public schools, where I taught all levels from prealgebra through AP Calculus. Many of my students still keep in touch and Read more

24 hours notice required

Rate for 2-hour lessons is $35 per hour.

Travel Radius
Travels within 35 miles of Grass Valley, CA 95945
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons

"Great Tutor"

- Samantha, Nevada City, CA on 6/22/12
Marcia replied on 6/22/2012

Wow! Thank you Samantha; I'm glad to have helped. Good luck on your assessment!


"Great Math Tutor"

- Colten, Loomis, CA on 2/26/14

"She's awesome!"

- Beth, Rocklin, CA on 4/15/13
Marcia replied on 4/16/2013

Wow--thank you! I'm only too glad to help and love to see students turn frowns on math into smiles.

"Recognizes the importance to cover the basics!"

- Tish, Auburn, CA on 9/16/12
Marcia replied on 9/16/2012

And I am pleased to have helped. What a pleasure!

Elementary Education:
Elementary Math,
Study Skills
Test Preparation:
ACT Math,
SAT Math

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

ACT Math

The ACT Math test seems to students to be more straightforward than the SAT. With sharpening math skills, filling gaps, and learning test-taking strategies, this test need not be so daunting. As with any test preparation, a major key to success is practice to increase strengths and decrease misunderstanding and technical errors.

Algebra 1

There's no need to struggle over Algebra. Much of the time the terminology, notation, or complicated textbook presentations make it look difficult. I notice that once students see the pattern or can identify the topic, the WHAT to do comes easily. With plain English explanations, step-by-step solutions at the student's pace, and practice, you can get very good at it.

Algebra 2

Algebra 2 is an extension to Algebra 1. Knowing the basics of algebra and letting me give plain English explanations with step-by-step solutions, you can do very well. It takes practice but isn't all that hard. My students say that I teach with concrete examples and make the textbook way less confusing.


While there are many sample ASVAB tests and study guides available online, personal instruction may help unravel your unanswered questions. I am very familiar with the math section (having been a math teacher) and can help make this portion much easier.


The CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) is a required test for teacher certification (in addition to all other credentialing tests and requirements in California). It's goal is to ensure that teachers are proficient in basic skills, not necessarily the ability to teach the subjects tested. Once certified, credentialed teachers do not need to re-take the exam. It consists of the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.

I hold a California Single Subject credential to teach English and Math along with a lifetime Resource Specialist Certificate. I took the CBEST myself (having passed with 'above average' to 'superior' scores). I was a full-time public school Special Education and Math teacher until I retired in 2007. My background includes private tutoring in Math, SAT/SAT1 and test-taking strategies, substitute teaching in public and private schools (all subjects including Math and English), and working at the Sylvan Learning Center to help elementary through high school students with reading, writing, math, and test-taking.

Elementary Math

Elementary math involves knowing how to do basic arithmetic and use it for word problems. While many students have groaned about the fractions and word problems the most, they needn't be that hard. I've had good success with using manipulatives (like cutting up paper to help with adding/subtracting fractions), plain & simple explanations, working step-by-step, building self-confidence, and having the students practice. I love being told "You make it so easy" and see stress turn into smiles of success.

General Computer

I have a Masters of Science degree in Computer Science and worked as a Computer Systems Engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. As a member of their distributed systems department, I wrote applications to allow users to control videoconference tools and devices remotely. This was 'confcntlr' (conference controller), my masters' thesis and 'devserv' (a device server and client system). I also wrote a secure messaging system by which users had to authenticate themselves and could 'chat' online from anywhere on the Internet.

While my major platform was UNIX, I ported all of my applications to different UNIX variations (e.g., Solaris, Linix, Irix) and Windows. The languages used were C/C++, Tcl/Tk, and Java. All of my applications required extensive networking knowledge--designing clients and servers, opening sockets, and using unicast and multicast communication.


Geometry has you down? Let me help you get your mind around a math area that's a bit different (especially those proofs). Can't see alternate interior angles from corresponding angles? Highlight the Z and F shapes and you'll see them. Can't tell congruence of overlapping triangles? Try color coding them so they stand out--SSS, SAS, etc. now become very visible. Let me show you how to let those diagrams work for you.

Networking (Computer)

After receiving my Masters of Science degree in Computer Science at SF State University, I was hired to work in the distributed systems department of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. My projects involved designing and implementing applications that would allow users to collaborate over the Internet. This necessarily involved understanding and coding networked computers. Therefore, my computer background is very strong in TCP/IP and HTTP protocols. While securing a web-based application, I worked to configure the Tomcat and Apache web servers to use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which is employed by web sites that show 'https' instead of 'http'.


With a solid background in the basics of arithmetic, prealgebra isn't all that hard. Those x's and y's may throw you, but let me show you how they're just place-markers: they are numbers; you just don't know what numbers they are. Let me take the mystery out of variables, simplifying expressions, solving equations, and graphing. With practice you'll have it down!


Precalculus involves a lot of functions, trigonometry, and conic sections, which are really a lot of fun. With plain English explanations and step-by-step solutions, you'll see the patterns. And with practice, the stress should go down and the grade up (oh, this by the way is inverse variation).

Study Skills

Study skills involve time management, organization and prioritization of work, and identification of one's personal learning style. Some people are more visual and benefit from highlighting, making charts, graphs, or re-writing notes in their own words. More audio-oriented learners benefit from reading aloud. Flash cards and graphic organizers are helpful, along with lists and finding ways to trigger memory of key words and concepts. Sometimes repetition and practice are required. There is no single way to improve one's study skills but I have lots of ideas that can help.

My background in teaching high school (special education through upper level math classes) and private tutoring included teaching study skills in addition to merely delivering curricula. I've also worked at a nationally known franchise that offers Study Skills as a specific course. While I am familiar with their approach, I have a broader spectrum from which I can work to personalize instruction and teach 'how to learn.'


Getting a migraine headache from memorizing all those gazillion trig rules? No need to! Memorizing a few key ideas and rules and using "sketch, look, and count" takes away most of that memorizing. Trig really isn't all that hard with the tricks I can show you.

Brooklyn College
Secondary Education
San Francisco State University, Education
San Francisco State University, Computer Sci.


Brooklyn College (Secondary Education)

San Francisco State University, Education (Master's)

San Francisco State University, Computer Sci. (Master's)

Great Tutor — Marcia was a great tutor! I really needed a brush up for my college assessment test and now I feel ready for it! She is easy to talk to and learn from and was very accommodating to my busy schedule. She also made me feel for the first time like I really could learn long hand math! Thanks Marcia! ...

— Samantha, Nevada City, CA on 6/22/12

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Rate for 2-hour lessons is $35 per hour.

Travel policy

Marcia will travel within 35 miles of Grass Valley, CA 95945.

Background Check Status for Marcia P.

Marcia P. passed a background check on 6/7/11. The check was ordered by Marcia through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

After sending a message to Marcia, you will be able to order a new background check for $7.99. As part of your tutor selection process, we encourage you to run updated background checks. Please also review the safety tips for hiring tutors.