Ariel Cortes, founder of FUNdamental Minds Education Services, knows firsthand the importance of academic support outside of the classroom.
She began teaching for Pasco County in 2016, and within the first week, saw the students’ needs for additional support that just couldn’t be provided in the classroom.
Wanting the students to succeed, Cortes began private tutoring — eventually helping 24 kids a week.
Like all other teachers, Cortes quickly had to navigate virtual teaching when the world shut down due to COVID.
Because there was a lack of preparation on how to be effective through virtual instruction, the need for student and academic support vastly increased. The number of kids she tutored went from 24 a week, to 60.
When everyone returned to the classroom, Cortes quickly noticed that in general, students had even bigger learning gaps. She was now tutoring 15 to 20 kids a day.
This was when Cortes says she started praying about opening her own tutoring center.
In March 2021, Cortes met with a real estate agent and by month’s end, she toured a place, said yes, and prepared to open FUNdamental Minds.
Then the difficult decision came — Does Cortes go back into the classroom, or leave and fully focus on FUNdamental Minds? She ultimately chose the latter.
Cortes says the main goal at FUNdamental Minds is to make learning fun. “Our kids don’t feel like they’re learning; they’re just having fun and growing because of it.”
On top of in-person and virtual tutoring services, FUNdamental Minds also offers elective-style classes such as Spanish, STEM, Arts and Crafts, Cooking, and Coding.
And the center will also offer homeschool day classes this fall, which Cortes is very excited about.
“There are a lot of families who homeschool in this area and because of this, the kids lack the opportunity to have elective-style classes and have that peer-to-peer interaction,” says Cortes.
As a single, working mom for the past eight years, Cortes says that providing quality education at an affordable price is extremely important to her.
“There are a lot of families whose kids need academic support, but they can’t afford those top-name companies that often don’t even have certified teachers. So, we are now that buffer. Anyone who works for me is a certified teacher, and every class I offer is affordable,” says Cortes.
Cortes believes the need for academic support for kids will continue to grow.
“We just survived a health pandemic and now we’re on the cusp of an academic pandemic,” says Cortes, “The teacher shortage is worse than it’s ever been.”
Cortes wants parents to know that there’s always hope and resources out there to access for their kids’ academic success.
“If you’re feeling you’ve reached that battleground zone, it’s time to reach out to us and let us help,” says Cortes, “I want to make learning fun for all.”
FUNdamental Minds is located at 26809 Tanic Dr Suite 102, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, go to FundamentalMinds.com, or call 813-428-6564.