Optimum Educational Solutions

Optimum Educational Solutions

5.0 (6)
3 employees
27 years in business

About this tutor

I have been a dedicated 1-1 Accelerated Learning Specialist / Educational Consultant in private practice for 25 years, and have worked with over 8000 clients.  Most of my clients come to me for SAT and ACT prep, college essay coaching, and broader academic coaching around time management and overcoming test anxiety.   I have an extensive academic background, having studied the humanities, sciences, education, business, and counseling at Harvard, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Michigan across four degrees over 15 years.  I teach all core subjects including: 
  • Math through AP Calculus
  • Science though AP Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and AP Environmental Science
  • Literature through AP Language and Literature
  • History and Social Science through all the related APs --US History, World History, Economics, and Psychology.
A lot of kids come to me needing help just pulling it all together and figuring out how to "do school."  Every kid is unique, and I help them tap into their unique geniuses and skills.  I help the kids I work with to get motivated, organized, and empowered to learn and perform at their highest potential.  While I have systems in the way I approach things, academically I don't generally prescribe additional curriculum beyond what kids are learning in school.  With the SAT/ACT I definitely do, and am very particular about making sure that students are prepping on real published exams and are studying the right material, since they can easily be led astray or waste their limited time on prep materials that don't get the results they are seeking-- and often amount to just going through the motions.  
Over the years my students have gained admission to all of the Ivy League schools, Stanford, and all of the University of California Schools--often with partial or full scholarships.

I love helping kids crack the code to become self-sufficient and successful--not depending on me, another tutor, their parents, or even their teachers.  Most kids discover in working with me that their academic problems often trace back to something about how they are managing themselves in addition to just comprehending the material.  For this reason, most of my students develop a level of compentance, autonomy, and even leadership in school by just showing up more prepared and ready to engage in the learning process.  I know that ultimately I am teaching kids to be able to manage themselves successfully when they make the transition to college, and they will have to rely on whatever skills they have learned to make the right decisions day to day.

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Credentials

Kenilworth, IL 60043
Email verified
Phone verified

6 Reviews

5.0

  • Liliana C

    With your expert coaching I raised my scores 420 points and got into 8 of 11 schools I applied to, including my top pick. You helped me push through to gain the skills and confidence to test to my personal best. Liliana C University of North Carolina at Wilmington | Honors College | Class of 2016

  • Robert B

    With your help I raised my SAT sores 620 points, which helped me get into my #1 pick for architectural engineering. You helped me also gain the skills and confidence to move across the US and attend college far from my family. Thanks for everything. Robert B Penn State University | Class of 2017

  • Liz Meriwether

    If someone would have asked me how I felt about math before I started seeing Daniel, I would have promptly answered, “I hate it.” Numbers, equations, theorems, and graphs had always seemed to me a different and unattainable language. I dreaded taking the SAT because I was convinced I would get hopelessly lost in the math sections. When I voiced this concern to my math teacher, she have me Daniel’s name an number. I am really glad I made that call. Not only did Daniel raise my math score 100 points, but he changed the way that I saw my math abilities. What I had counted on being a stressful process, turned out to be just the opposite. Instead of simply correcting my mistakes, Daniel took the time to understand why I made the mistakes I made. It was when I understood why I made these errors, that I really could correct them. I found in Daniel the quiet, un-ending patience, sincerity, and humor that marks a wonderful teacher. After being tutored by Daniel, I found myself hesitating before I proclaimed “I hate math.” Somewhere inside that mysterious language of numbers, he let me find what I needed the most: Confidence in myself. Liz Meriwether 11th Grade, Ann Arbor MI

  • Natasha Hammond

    I truly cannot express enough my gratitude for all Daniel, the owner of Optimum Education Solutions, has done for my educational career. Looking back from where I was when I came to Daniel to now, as I pack to move into my UCLA dorm, it’s been a dramatic change. At the beginning of the summer prior to my senior year at Deer Valley High School, I felt my chances of getting into one of my dream schools were dismal. I was a smart kid no doubt, but I had fallen short in a few classes and had no idea how to go about the process of standardized testing, preparing personal statements, and completing applications. Looking at my statistics compared with the national averages of the top universities I dreamed of, I vaguely knew I had a lot of work to be done in an excruciatingly short amount of time. I didn’t realize until we met how bleak the situation looked for my target colleges since my school never bothered to spell it out as clearly as Daniel did. I realized that year UCLA’s average GPA of an incoming freshman was a 4.19; I had barely managed to pull a 3.7. I had an SAT score of 1960 and had minimal knowledge of what the ACT even was, nor had I prepped for or taken the SAT II Subject Tests, which I thought were irrelevant. At that point, my realistic options for college were UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced, UC Riverside, and a handful of California State Universities; getting into one of the top University of California schools I had always imagined myself attending no longer seemed plausible. After our first meeting in June, my summer was filled with a jolt of intensive test prep. For the first time, I had someone truly explain to me the ins and outs of college admissions — the information beyond what my high school counselor told me. Daniel assigned me hours of SAT, ACT, and SAT II practice tests, followed by an in-depth explanation of every single problem I missed and the underlying strategies. I was rapidly learning the mechanics of a standardized test — the format, types of questions asked, and most importantly, the concepts and formulas behind answering each question correctly. Daniel taught me how to break down questions I once saw as painfully difficult into simple puzzles that just required a little creativity, strategy, and brain power to solve. In the Fall I scored a 34 on ACT practice tests — putting me in the nation’s ninety-ninth percentile. I was also scoring near perfect scores of 760 and 780, respectively, on my Math II and English Literature SAT II Subject tests. In addition, in high school I had earned 3 ‘C’ letter grades in one semester of Algebra II, one semester of Pre-Calculus, and two semesters of Chemistry Honors. I felt the C’s stood out like sore thumbs on my college applications. I was more than shocked when Daniel told me I actually had the option to re-take and get credit for these courses online through a system called BYU Independent Study; this was something no high school counselor had ever brought to my attention. As a project we worked on for an entire summer and succeeding fall, I was able to replace my 4 C’s with 4 A’s, raising my overall high school GPA from a 3.7 to a 4.15. When it came time to write my two personal statements for the UC application, I remember saying to Daniel I felt I had nothing worthy to write about, and having procrastinated, I was feeling stressed; I couldn’t think of anything about myself that made me truly unique, and the weight given to the essay made me feel stuck. Knowing I had come from a multicultural background, he had asked me to speak freely of anything that came to mind regarding my heritage while he diligently typed my thoughts. It turns out I did have something interesting to say, because from there we constructed a beautifully insightful essay delving into the significance and contrasts of my cultures. We followed the same process when it came to writing my second statement about my 12-year piano career. Daniel taught me how to organize my words and ideas in a coherent manner and evoke an emotional tie with the application reader. It is safe to say I have never been more satisfied with any two pieces of my writing than with my two personal statements. I feel like he helped me to write my personal story. My parents loved them, and were impressed at how I was able to express who I am and my own deep and complex connection with music. Even though my new academic statistics became aligned with my top schools, I believe my statements are what really helped me stand out and win the admissions officers over. With my new and improved SAT, ACT and SAT II scores, personal statements and coursework grades, my options of possible universities greatly expanded. I was now looking to apply to all of the University of California schools and prestigious private schools. In the end I applied to 8 universities total, and received acceptance letters from UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UCSC, and Cal Poly. I even got accepted into Honors Programs at top UCs, which I hadn’t even applied for. I look back at receiving my UCLA acceptance letter as one of the happiest and most proud moments of my life, and it was all an accomplishment that I could not have earned without Daniel’s help; it’s amazing how just a few months worth of work equated to me getting into my dream school. As I pack for my move to LA, I could not be more happy or grateful. I really thank Daniel for everything he contributed to my admission and transition to UCLA. This transition to college is a big one for my family and me, and we appreciate Daniel’s ongoing support. I’m looking forward to additional coaching and mentoring through my Freshman year, and possibly beyond. I appreciate his help with career exploration, and major selection. My parents just had no clue and I feel he helped me find the path that is right for me. Now I have a flexible but doable 6-8 year plan. I feel academically prepared, focused, and excited about the next year of my life. Natasha Hammond | UCLA Class of 2015 BA, Political Science


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FAQs


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I meet with families for a complimentary 1 hr consultation to fully understand the student and the family's needs and expectations.  I provide an estimate for services at the end of this meeting.  I don't believe in coookie cutter solutions in tutoring.


What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

BS General Science, minors in Chemistry and Biology

BS Literature, minors in Spanish and Film

MSW Social Work, concentrations in Education and Counseling

PHD(c) Education (Focus on Accelerated Learning)


Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I custom quote pricing for every family I work with.  I don't believe in open ended tutoring relationships, and go project to project with families.  Most kids complete a stage with me within 3-6 weeks so they become able to learn the material they initially struggled with without additional tutoring from me or other tutors.  This is unlike 99% of tutors who teach in such a way they students become dependent and stay with them for years.  I teach kids how to learn and become independent learners. 


How did you get started teaching?

I have been teaching since I was 7 (so 43 years now!), and taught in elementary school, middle school, high school, adult ed, community college, and university.  90% of my career has been dedicated to 1-1 instruction.  I taught my way through all my education and graduated with zero debt.


What types of students have you worked with?

All kinds, mainly grades 7-12.  I have worked with over 8000 families over 25 years, and extensively with a wide range of learning disabilities.  Many of the kids I work with need help with time management and study skills, which I teach them.


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Over the past few years I travelled to England, France, Mexico, Thailand, and the Philippines.  I love travel, seeing beautiful places, exploring new cultures, and learning foriegn languages.


What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Be sure you are hiring someone who is teaching you how to manage yourself and how to learn, in addition to learning infrmation for any given particular subject.  All too often students memorize their way through tough classes, without ever really feeling they understand it.  Memorizing rarely consistently works out in the short run and the long run, and tends to lead to lower grades and test anxiety.


What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

I meet with students where they are in their understanding and learning process, and take them to the next level, so this is someting i normally discuss directly with students.


Services offered

ACT Prep Tutors ACT English Tutors ACT Math Help Tutors ACT Reading Help Tutors ACT Science Help Tutors ACT Test Prep ACT Writing Help Tutors Algebra Tutors Algebra 1 Help Tutors Algebra 2 Tutors Analytical Geometry Help Tutors AP Chemistry Tutors AP English Tutors Chemistry Tutors CLEP Test Prep Tutors College Admissions Coaches College Essays Help Tutors Elementary Algebra Tutors Essay Editing Tutors Essay Writing Tutors