Jamie Lerner

Flex Academies President Joshua Chernikoff interviewed Director of Operations at Mad ScienceJamie Lerner. Lerner spoke of how the partnership with Flex has made it so much easier for the vendors to focus on their job and the kids they are teaching. Their care and concern in selecting the perfect instructor has made for a fun and educational experience for the students!

Flex Academies: Please tell us about your perspective on the partnership with Flex Academies.

Jamie Lerner: So our team loves working with Flex schools. They love it because they know there is someone there to support them when there is an issue with the child. They are not on their own; there is someone that can help them. They also love the help they get with signing kids out at dismissal because dismissal can obviously be done well or poorly, and at Flex schools it always goes very smoothly. So I know our staff loves working out there. You guys are pros and very easy to work with, so from an operational standpoint we love it and our staff loves it as well.

FA: Let’s talk about why the relationship has been so successful. I think you said we are able to really help you guys, not only on the back end when it comes to registrations and things like that, but also on the front end. You touched on this a bit, but can you tell me for your instructors that are there how important it is that we can allow them to just instruct and not necessarily handle classroom management or dismissal.

JL: It makes it really easy for them. You know our staff has to do a lot of things. They have to prepare the curriculum, they have to get to the schools and deal with all the parking lots and all those sort of complicated things. So it’s nice that they know that once they get to the school, the only thing they have to do is work with the kids and have fun with the kids, and if there is a real problem with behavior there is someone else to support them to take care of that. In most schools there isn’t anyone because the school staff is gone or they can’t take responsibility for children and we obviously want to be sure we are being respectful to the school. So at Flex schools, it’s really nice to have that partnership and know there is someone to rely on. I don’t think it’s used very often but it’s something our instructors know they have in their back pocket and it’s great to have that. Regarding dismissal, at the end of the class day our instructors have to clean up and dismiss kids, and they have to get home. It’s really nice that they know they have someone else to help them make sure the kids are getting where they belong and someone else that can help make sure that we are signing the children out properly, and that everyone is getting where they need to go. It’s a lot lower stress for our instructors. They really appreciate that and they get out a little faster too, which helps them get home faster and keeps them smiling. So I think that not only do our instructors appreciate it, but it helps them do a better job with Flex schools because they have a lot less other stuff to worry about and can really just concentrate all their efforts and energy on teaching.

FA: Usually, your teaching involves goo. One of the coolest pictures I have seen recently on our instagram account said “Slime Time.” It was this huge piece of slime! Talk about what Mad Science does and why you are just so cool and effective.

JL: We effort is to make science cool for kids. We do a lot of activities to help demonstrate that — things like launch rockets and use dry ice and show potions with bubbles and smoke that change colors. We make slime, obviously, but our goal is to show kids how cool science can be. What we want in our class for the kids to learn, of course, but what we want them to learn first is how cool science can be. So we want them saying “wow” and getting excited and running home and showing their parents their take-home projects. Their enthusiasm is what we live off of and that is what we love.

FA: And I think you really do a phenomenal job of selecting instructors. Can you talk about the work that goes into selecting a Mad Science instructor?

JL: We want people who love working with kids, who have experience working with kids, and are really enthusiastic about science. Obviously, they need to be able to relay their love of science and their excitement about it as well as being able to teach it. I think for us the biggest thing is that we want people that are excited to be in the classroom, are excited to be working with kids and showing them their love of science. Those are the kind of instructors that we are looking for.

FA: You guys do a phenomenal job. I love seeing the slime time pictures and hope there are more of them to come. We really appreciate your partnership.

JL: We love working with you guys!

To watch this interview, please visit our Video On Demand site.

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What sort of duties do you have at work?  Supporting the Enrichment Team, supporting the Enrichment providers, planning and implementing the Enrichment programs at our partner schools, partnering with Operations to ensure smooth Enrichment programs in an environment where children can be safe, learn and have fun, hiring and training.

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