We strive to bring joy and inspiration to young students at all levels and to help them find their passions.  The learning circles were created to enrich our kids’ learning experiences by incorporating thoughtful, rigorous curriculums taught by experts in their fields, who are excited to share their passions with our kids.  All circles are kept to small groups of 6 or less to enhance instruction that is fun, interactive, individualized, and ‘funstrating’ (challenging but highly rewarding!).  Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. Please sign up on the waitlist ONLY IF the class you are interested in is full.  Thank you!

Classes are $50 per class per session. 
The fall classes run Sept 5 – Nov 18, 2022.

2022 Fall Learning Circles


Math Exploration with Beast Academy

Instructor: Sage Moore
Class duration: 60min

In this course we will begin with some engaging activities to set a fun context for our mathematics work, then work to develop a deeper and more nuanced understanding of grade-level math concept standards, numeracy to include concepts they will not see in their math class, and problem-solving skills using Beast Academy.
Grade 3: Monday 4:30-5:30
Grade 4: Friday 4:30-5:30
Grade 4-5: Monday 5:45-6:45
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

Instructor Bio:
While earning a degree in Formal Linguistics from the University of Victoria, Canada, Sage studied mathematics and computer science.  This led her to work in various aspects of Information Technology supporting academia and private industry eventually specializing in Network Engineering. She received her credential in mathematics education from Mills College and completed her master’s degree in education. In 2007, Sage had the great fortune to attend a summer workshop with the Bay Area Circle for Teachers, an organization that promotes and studies math circle pedagogy and activities.  Inspired by the potential and delight of this form of mathematics education, she has become a committed member of the math circle community in the Bay Area, bringing math circles to several public schools and collaborating with other mathematicians.  She is an advocate for Math Circles and mathematics enrichment programs as it gives students the opportunity to be exposed to a beauty and rigor in mathematics that is rarely part of the school curriculum.

Math Exploration with Beast Academy

Grade 5 Monday 3:30-4:45
Grade 6 Monday 4:45-6:00
Instructor: Michael Malione
Class duration: 60min
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

In this circle, we will cover selected chapters from the Beast Academy math enrichment curriculum (www.beastacademy.com), with the instructor providing personalized, guided support. The Grade 4 circle focuses on the standard algorithms, both in practice and in coming to understand the nuances as to how and why they work. The Grade 5 circle focuses on building comfort and facility with fractions. All circles will use the Beast Academy platform, and students are encouraged (though not required) to bring iPads to use the online version of Beast Academy.

Instructor Bio: 
Hi, I’m Michael, a Piedmont dad. I have been tutoring and teaching STEM subjects for many years, and recently I’ve focused my work on math enrichment for younger students. Through ALPS, I brought the Math Kangaroo competition to Piedmont, and I take great joy in helping students to “get” math and build their confidence to tackle any problem.

Statistics for Middle School Students

Grades 6-8
Instructor: Sage Moore
Class duration: 60min
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

In this course we will work with measures of central tendency, data distributions, and probability, core concepts to statistical studies. The intent is to give students an opportunity to experience and explore these concepts so that they build a strong foundational understanding in preparation for AP or college-level statistics which is often daunting to even confident mathematics students.
Grade 6-8: Friday 5:45-6:45
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

Instructor Bio:
While earning a degree in Formal Linguistics from the University of Victoria, Canada, Sage studied mathematics and computer science.  This led her to work in various aspects of Information Technology supporting academia and private industry eventually specializing in Network Engineering. She received her credential in mathematics education from Mills College and completed her master’s degree in education. In 2007, Sage had the great fortune to attend a summer workshop with the Bay Area Circle for Teachers, an organization that promotes and studies math circle pedagogy and activities.  Inspired by the potential and delight of this form of mathematics education, she has become a committed member of the math circle community in the Bay Area, bringing math circles to several public schools and collaborating with other mathematicians.  She is an advocate for Math Circles and mathematics enrichment programs as it gives students the opportunity to be exposed to a beauty and rigor in mathematics that is rarely part of the school curriculum.

Writing Circle

Grades 4-5
Grades 6-8
Instructor: Lucie Pereira
Sundays 1:00-2:30
Sundays 2:30-4:00

Over the course of eight sessions, students will explore different genres of creative writing through activities designed to spark the imagination. With a mix of mini lessons, group activities, and independent writing time, students will have an opportunity to grow as writers in a supportive group setting as they learn about writing techniques such as story structure, characte development, sensory details, and figurative language. Prompts and projects can be tailored to each student so that they are approachable for reluctant writers, or provide an extra challenge for budding authors. By the final session, students will come away with a polished piece of writing and a new appreciation for the magic of words!

Instructor Bio:
Lucie Pereira teaches creative writing for youth as a head teacher at Children’s After School Arts. She has previous experience as a program coordinator at 826 Valencia and a camp instructor at the San Francisco Zoo. A published poet with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, Lucie is also a poetry reader for Split Lip Magazine and volunteer for Kearny Street Workshop, an Asian Pacific American arts organization. She loves fun animal facts, Star Wars movies, and her cat Kristofferson.

Writers Rule the World

Grades 3-5
Instructor: Alissa Weber
Wed 2:15-3:30
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

Do you love reading? Do you have a favorite movie or TV show?
Somebody wrote that story, and now you can, too!
Writers create their own world and share it with others.
Learn how to develop characters, settings, plot, dialogue, and descriptive language while having fun building stories.
The class will focus on creativity, imagination, and generative writing, in a positive and supportive atmosphere. Through group activities and individual exercises, students will find and build upon their strengths as writers.
Students will get to design their own writing project with support and feedback.
All levels welcome. The energy is high, but the pressure is low!

Instructor Bio:
Alissa Weber studied creative writing and French at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, and at Mills College in Oakland. She has a teaching credential in Spanish with authorizations in English and drama from Sacramento State. She has taught students at every grade level, from first to twelfth grade. The best part of teaching is sharing a love of reading and writing with her students. When not teaching, she can be found at the library, a coffee shop, or on the couch with a good book. 

Find Your Voice

Grades 6-8
Instructor: Alissa Weber
Wed 4:00-5:15
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

Do you have something to say? Do you want your voice heard? Be a writer!
Writing is a way of figuring out who we are: Where do we come from? Where are we going? Authors use characters in their stories to answer these questions. Sometimes we are the characters, like a memoir or personal essay, and sometimes parts of us show up in fictional characters like YA, fantasy, short stories, graphic novels, poetry, science fiction, and songs. In this class, learn how to tell the story you want to tell using your choice of genre. Love poetry? Short stories? Music? Plays? Fiction? All are welcome here. This is the place to start that project and that story you have been wanting to tell. Unsure of the genre? This class will help you choose the best medium to find your voice. Students will produce their own piece of creative writing with guided instruction and helpful feedback.

Instructor Bio:
Alissa Weber studied creative writing and French at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, and at Mills College in Oakland. She has a teaching credential in Spanish with authorizations in English and drama from Sacramento State. She has taught students at every grade level, from first to twelfth grade. The best part of teaching is sharing a love of reading and writing with her students. When not teaching, she can be found at the library, a coffee shop, or on the couch with a good book. 

Discover Artificial Intelligence

Grade 5-7
Instructor: Roy Grossberg
Class duration: 75min
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

From virtual assistants like Alexa, to winning Chess championships, to detecting cancer cells in medical images, Artificial Intelligence is all around us. In this learning circle, kids will understand what AI is, and how it works, and experience the latest AI technologies.

This is a hands-on class providing the kids the opportunity to build, train, and deploy machine learning algorithms. Some of the projects they’ll work on include:
– Recognize and identify images
– Understand text and sentiments
– Identify sounds and meaning

To improve their algorithm accuracy, kids will learn about ‘Bias’, ‘Overfitting’, and how to measure accuracy (false-positive and false negative). Students must bring a laptop and have an understanding of scratch coding.

All proceeds from the class will be generously donated to ALPS.

Instructor Bio:
Hi I am Roy. I am a Piedmont dad and a software engineer and I have been working on artificial intelligence and machine learning products for several years. In my day-to-day job I lead the digital health teams at AstraZeneca. What I’ve learned throughout the years, is that while the statistical elements of AI are hard to grasp, applied AI (how to use it) can be intriguing, inspiring, sometimes controversial and fun. And that’s the goal of this learning circle. Through hands-on projects and tasks, we will demystify what AI is, provide the learners with understanding of its core concepts, and teach the kids how to harness its power.

Shell-abrating Sea Life: Exploring our big blue backyard

Grades 4-5
Instructor: Kylie Hilton
Tuesday 3:30-4:45pm
Friday 4:30-5:45pm
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

We will explore the many wonders of the Pacific Ocean. Topics include important oceanic patterns of water movement, organismic evolutionary techniques of survival, unique aspects of the San Francisco Bay, and many more. These subjects will allow us to incorporate some physics including studies about gravity and ocean currents, some chemistry including solubility and the effects of the air on water composition, and the biology of flora and fauna- all explained at an advanced elementary school level using hands-on experiments and interactive research. Given how fortunate we are to have such outstanding access to the coastline nearby, this class has the potential to incorporate a site visit to provide real-life examples of things learned during class. 

Instructor Bio:
Hi students and parents! My name is Kylie Hilton and I am a Piedmont native who went to Havens, PMS, and PHS (Class of 2018). I am returning back to the bay after recently graduating Cum Laude from Harvard, with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy, to complete my Master’s in Public Health studying Infectious Disease and Vaccinology at Berkeley. Other than biology, I am also very passionate about collegiate Track and Field, pole vaulting specifically, and will be continuing this passion as a member of the Cal team. When I am not busy pole vaulting, I love to camp, hike, fish, or really do anything outdoors. 


From Steph Curry to Serena Williams: The Science of Health in Sports

Grades 5-8
Instructor: Kylie Hilton
Tuesday 5:00-6:15pm
Friday 6:00-7:15pm
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

We will tackle the science and health of the human body through the lens of athletics. As a collegiate athlete at Harvard, I found that knowledge acquired through sports helped me each and every day in my biology classes, while also making the topics I was learning more interesting. Thus, in this class, we will look at topics like metabolism and musculature for example, through the lens of proper nutrition for young athletes, and power generation in muscles during athletic activities like swinging a bat or freestyle swimming. Just like the interactive nature of sports, this class will include hands-on lessons with experimentation to help facilitate learning and class enjoyment.

Instructor Bio: 
Hi students and parents! My name is Kylie Hilton and I am a Piedmont native who went to Havens, PMS, and PHS (Class of 2018). I am returning back to the bay after recently graduating Cum Laude from Harvard, with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy, to complete my Master’s in Public Health studying Infectious Disease and Vaccinology at Berkeley. Other than biology, I am also very passionate about collegiate Track and Field, pole vaulting specifically, and will be continuing this passion as a member of the Cal team. When I am not busy pole vaulting, I love to camp, hike, fish, or really do anything outdoors. 

Introduction to Mind Reading

Grades 5-8
Instructor: Ellie Harvie
Class duration: 75min, Wednesday evening
Location: TBD Piedmont Home

This course aims to give middle school students an exciting and engaging first look at the mysteries of the human mind, and the brain itself! Through hands-on activities introducing concepts such as the Stroop Effect or Theory of Mind, students will attempt to unravel how they think. Although your child may not leave with telepathic powers, they will leave with a better understanding of how they, and those around them, process information and make decisions each and every day.

Instructor Bio:
Hi there! My name is Ellie Harvie and I have recently moved to California from a small town on the coast of Virginia. I graduated from Harvard University in May, where I studied psychology and neuroscience while completing medical school prerequisite classes. At school, I was on the competitive dance team and also worked as a research assistant in the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies. I’m really excited to meet and work with students while sharing my passion for learning!

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

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