While bigger wheels are turning behind the scenes at Zane Prep, the local business will serve as the newest after-school program in Park City. Zane Prep, an off-shoot of parent company Zane Benefits, uses carefully programmed data to create individualized assessments and study plans for kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
"You're never at the right level in math," said Paul Zane Pilzer, the owner and founder of Zane Prep. "You are either need to catch up or get ahead. I would argue that students who are at the top of their class in math are at the same risk as students in the bottom because they are about to get bored."
"Math is like learning a language," he added. "It's about memorizing concepts. If I were learning French, I would start with 'Bonjour' and build from there Math is the same way. You have to take it concept by concept."
Zane Prep centers on improving math skills and improving confidence in children, offering a combination of professional and peer tutoring as well as state-of-the-art technology.
Whether online or at the new Zane Prep center, children receive a free assessment, taking a test often several grades above their current level where they are quizzed on concepts they do not know. Once the assessment is completed, which typically takes less than half an hour, parents can compare those scores to more than 1,000 other children in Park City and design a program to fit their child's current math skills. Parents can choose to register their child in the program where tutors develop math skills in classes of five to eight other children at the same math level.
"We have built an operating system for a school, for a teacher or for a retail store (like Zane Prep) to assess children on their math and reading skills," Pilzer said. "The computer will generate a 90-page course just for that student, a six-week-long course."
Brand new Mac desktops sit alongside chess boards on tables. Classrooms fitted with flat screen televisions and whiteboards line a wall. The bright, open space serves as the first physical retail store for Zane Prep, a business originally set up just for online use. While that component remains, allowing parents to access every study session, every assessment, even receiving email notifications once a week on student progress, the physical location adds the final dimension to the entire program, Pilzer said.
Zane Prep has partnered with other programs, offering a number of options to parents that include a homework center and a computer-based program that develops reading comprehension and writing skills. Another computer-based math program is also available for students in the ninth grade and above. Priced at different points, parents have the option of dropping children off to work on homework on a Saturday night or enroll their child in the full after school program.
While Park City students may benefit from the program, Pilzer is working behind the scenes to expand the business and sell the concept to investors. With several interested parties in queue many from the local area Pilzer will use the center as a showroom where others hoping to build a Zane Prep can see just how the center works.
"There are big things happening," Pilzer said. " and more announcements will be coming. In Park City, serious national business figures are looking at this concept."
"After-school programs is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in the nation."
From markets near Los Angeles and New York City to statewide franchises in states such as Montana, Pilzer said he is gathering interest among investors but wants to work out the program completely in the Park City center. Pilzer, who has nearly three decades working in technology-based education, has been working on versions of Zane Prep for years, but finally realized the business in the past year.
"We have students who have already gone through the program," Pilzer said.
"Parents find their children are bonding, becoming friends, with other families who care about math," he added. "This program, like any other after school program, becomes a place children want to be."
A six-week course costs $299 and will include one 90-minute class per week, a curriculum including a workbook and all student information which is available online. Zane Prep is currently accepting enrollment for the next six-week-long course starting Jan. 14. For more information, visit the Zane Prep center located at 6030 North Market Street, Suite 135 in Park City or visit www.zaneprep.com.