Sahar Nasr, owner of a new business called Math Plus Tutors, apologizes as our interview starts because a workman is installing a fire alarm for the deaf that comes equipped with a strobe light.
It’s a small interruption as Nasr makes improvements to her offices on the ground floor at 805 Christina St. North.
Since opening in early September, she has made numerous installations to make her business more accessible to people with disabilities.
Nasr estimates she has spent $1,000 on fire alarms for the deaf and the blind, automatic swing door openers for wheelchairs, contrasting paint around door frames and wider blinds to better define the windows.
“It’s important to me to be fully accessible,” she said. “I want to do it right from the beginning and I want to make my customers comfortable.”
Part of the Math Plus Tutors business plan is to cater to students with physical or developmental special needs.
Nasr is a mother of four teenagers and one of them has special needs, she said.
“I understand what’s involved because I went through the school system myself with my own child and I know how to navigate it.”
Special needs students of any age are accepted at Math Plus Tutors, where all teachers have occupational health and safety training as well as compliance training related to the Accessibilities for Ontario with Disabilities Act.
“Our teachers will take a look at a child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) if it isn’t working and determine why,” said Nasr. “We have very experienced resource teachers who will try to help.”
She anticipates special needs students will be a small portion of her clientele. Math Plus Tutors is primarily focused on high school and college students for all subjects.
Nasr has hired a pool of 14 teachers, all with Ontario Teachers’ College certification.
She herself has a Doctorate of Philosophy in physics from Western and earned her BA and Master’s in nuclear engineering while living in her native Egypt.
She came to Canada in 1992 so her husband could take a job as a chemical engineer at Imperial Oil.
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom until a few years ago because I needed to put all my energy into family,” she said.
During that time, she was heavily involved in various organizations in Sarnia, including president of St. Clair Child & Youth Services.
For years, Nasr also taught voluntarily with the Sarnia Muslim Association. Recently, she tutored for other local tutoring services until she decided to open her own.
“I have a passion for teaching,” she explained. “I want to promote education and I want to help students, to create opportunities for them so they are not unemployed or underemployed.”
While Math Plus Tutors caters primarily to students in Grade 9 and older, it also offers a high school prep program to ensure Grade 7 and 8 students are ready for the new pace of secondary school.
For more information, call 519-542-1999 or visit www.mathplustutors.ca or find it on Twitter and Facebook.
BUSINESS WEEK IS HERE
Don’t forget to check out the numerous and varied events planned for Business Week in Sarnia/Lambton.
The kickoff breakfast is Tuesday, Oct. 20; a Business Showcase hosted by the Chamber takes place Wednesday and a Women’s Forum with the founders of Fresh Restaurants, Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston, is on Friday.
For details, call the Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation at 519-383-1371.
If you have an idea for the Business Journal, contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or firstname.lastname@example.org.