The Optimal Learning Story:

In 2020, Pamela Robertson and Cathy Lagunas created Optimal Learning, Inc. - a nonprofit organization in the heart of San Bernardino, California.  The founders started their journey at a local charter school where parents, students, and teachers worked closely together for the benefit of students in general.  As educators in the inner city, the founders recognized a disparity between the current students who were achieving at this particular charter school as opposed to those students who enrolled later in the year from other schools in the school district.  

When the COVID-19 pandemic happened, statistics showed that instructional gaps increased more for African American and Latino students than other racial or ethnic groups.  When America resumed their normal way of life, and schools attempted to continue where they left off, the founders worked closely together and provided a highly structured, systematic intervention plan for mathematics that has demonstrated proven results that matched proficiencies of white and Asian students. On May 24, 2022, Optimal Learning was born with a mission to close the achievement gap for African American and Latino students in order to make a positive impact and change the trajectory for students in impoverished communities.

According to (dated October 18, 2023), California state test scores have declined to levels previous to the COVID-19. Only 34.6% of students met or exceeded standards on the Smarter Balanced math test in 2023, which is 1.2 percentage points higher than a year ago. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, 39.8% of all students in California were at grade level. Only 16.9% of Black students, 22.7% of Latino students, and 9.9% of English learners were at grade level in 2023.  As per the founders data, in 2022, their specific students' scores were 51.62% proficiency in English Language Arts and 77.42%  proficiency in mathematics.  In 2023, Mrs. Robertson’s student scores continued to excel demonstrating 67.54% proficiency in English Language Arts and 70.51% proficiency in mathematics.

Optimal Learning is uniquely positioned to specifically support students academically. Pamela Robertson, Director of Strategic Instruction, has had more than 25 years of experience in education.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Educational Administration. She has been an instructional coach, elementary school administrator, and National Board Certified Teacher. Cathy Lagunas, Director of Operations,  has been in education for more than 10 years and has been an instructor with the San Bernardino County Division of Juvenile Justice.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics from California State University, San Bernardino.

Both founders are working tirelessly between working full time at a local charter elementary school and working part time after school tutoring students at the Optimal Learning Headquarters site.  It is not only hard work, but “heart” work.

What makes Optimal Learning unique are our programs that reach both students and adults, especially those interested in obtaining their General Education Diploma (G.E.D.). We are also providing test preparation, professional development to elementary charter schools interested in Critical Reading and Domain-A-Day Math Curriculum, that we are calling Math Ascend. Finally, we are looking forward to partnering with local foster and Group Treatment Centers in the San Bernardino area.

If you want to donate to our nonprofit organization, visit us at and follow us on Facebook.


“Committed to Closing the Achievement Gap"

2021 - 2022 - Robertson and Lagunas’s Data in comparison with San Bernardino City Unified School District’s Data

2022 - 2023 - Robertson’s Data in comparison with San Bernardino City Unified School District’s Data