March 17, 2015

Carmel Valley tutoring service lends hand with Torrey Pines High School scholarship benefit

by Kristina Houck, Del Mar Times

TPHS Scholarship Board — Courtesy

A local company and nonprofit are partnering in an effort to increase student test scores, while raising money for college scholarships.
Carmel Valley-based Tutor Doctor and the Torrey Pines High School Scholarship Fund have teamed to offer practice ACT and SAT tests Feb. 21 at Torrey Pines High School, with all proceeds benefiting the scholarship fund. “Our group’s mission is to provide scholarships for seniors,” said Karin Lang, co-president of the TPHS Scholarship Fund. “So whatever fundraisers we can hold that can help our students are a win-win.”

For $25, students can take either a full-length ACT or SAT practice test. The fee includes a score analysis report. Students may also request a free in-home consultation to discuss the score report, analysis and recommendations. “We wanted to offer our services any way we could,” said Tiffany Lien, who co-owns Tutor Doctor with her husband, Chris Lien. The couple have three children, with their oldest at Carmel Valley Middle School. “We really want to support this cause, and this is one way we can do it.” Since 1987, the TPHS Scholarship Fund has provided Torrey Pines seniors with scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000.

“There’s a lot of pressure on these kids going through the college application process,” said Mary Stromitis, co-president of the TPHS Scholarship Fund. “College is so expensive now. Every dollar counts in today’s economy and with today’s high tuition costs. “I think every which way we can, we should help out our young people. They will be our future.”

In its first year, the TPHS Scholarship Fund raised a total of $5,100 and awarded nine scholarships. Today, the volunteer, community-based scholarship organization raises an average of $30,000 per year, Stromitis said. Formerly known as Dollars for Scholars, the organization became independent in 2013. This year, the nonprofit reached its $1 million mark — having raised $1 million in scholarships since it was founded more than 28 years ago, Stromitis said.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Small Private Practices

September 22, 2014

Hinsdale Central Tutor Expo a hit with parents, students

By Chuck Fieldman, Sun-Times Pioneer Local

Parents and tutors filled the Hinsdale Central cafeteria for a Tutor Expo. | Chuck Fieldman/Sun-Times Media

The Hinsdale Central cafeteria hosted a foodless buffet Thursday to provide information on available tutoring services and answer questions at a Tutor Expo. Eight companies and more than 25 individuals offering help set up at tables in the cafeteria. Tutoring options included one-on-one or small groups, and were available in various academic subjects as well as ACT/SAT preparation.

“This is just an opportunity for parents to get names of tutors they believe will work out well if they are needed,” said Audrey Galvin, chairman of the Parent Network Committee of the Hinsdale Central PTO. “Being here and getting information doesn’t necessarily mean a student will need help, but it’s a great opportunity to get the information and have it available.”

Galvin said tutors came mostly from a list available through the Hinsdale Central guidance office. This was the second consecutive year in which the Parent Network Committee has hosted a Tutor Expo. “This is a committee formed by the PTO so that parents can learn to provide better support for their children,” Galvin said.

Bill Walsh, Central’s assistant principal of operations, called the Tutor Expo a “great resource for parents and kids.”

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Filed under: Small Private Practices

February 15, 2014

Meet the $1,250-an-hour tutor

By Robert Frank, CNBC Reporter and Editor, originally published 12/12/13

Nathaniel Hannan

Nathaniel Hannan looks and sounds like many other young, highly qualified teachers. The 33-year-old Indiana native went to Notre Dame and got his masters at Oxford in philosophy and theology before becoming a high school teacher in Washington, D.C. He loves to teach and has a gift for communicating. But today, instead of working for a school, Hannan tutors the children of wealthy families. And he makes up to $1,250 an hour. “It’s different clients, but the same business,” he said.

Actually, it’s a different business entirely—and it’s growing rapidly. While much of the American education system is struggling with tight budgets, overcrowded classrooms and low teacher pay, the tutor economy is booming. More and more of the world’s millionaires and billionaires are seeking at-home teachers to give their children a leg up in the increasingly competitive and important education race. And, as the number of rich people grows around the world—and as more of them split their time between multiple homes in different countries—they are creating their own mobile, ultra-private schools in their homes.

Tutors International, a London-based tutor agency that hires and places many tutors in the U.S., said its business this year will nearly double over last year. The typical salary for a full-time tutor today has jumped to between $70,000 and $120,000 depending on the requirements. But Tutors International has placed one tutor who is making $400,000 a year and another who was paid $80,000 for just 16 weeks of work. Along with their pay, most tutors also usually get free housing, cars or drivers, paid travel and meals, and occasionally even a private chef and personal assistant.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Commercial Providers,Small Private Practices

November 24, 2013

Private tutors: required or redundant?

by Nancy Ji, The Varsity, The University of Toronto, originally published on  9/30/13

As a first-year student, Chelsey Konya struggled in Economics 105. Finding that she was not able to learn effectively in lecture, she stopped going to economics classes after the first few weeks. Around exam time, Konya remembered a pamphlet she received in the first week of class for a tutoring service called ECOMAN. Konya paid for the service, aced her exam, and passed the course.

Konya is one of many students who opt to use services offered by private tutoring companies such as ECOMAN, Toronto Life Sciences (TLS), and SOS Tutoring Inc. Among other services, these companies offer group tutoring sessions designed around many introductory math, science, and economics courses at U of T. While Konya had very positive things to say about her experience, perspectives on the effectiveness and value of these services vary widely among faculty and students.

Though outside tutoring companies are not affiliated with the university, they often rent space from U of T and run their sessions on university property. Laurie Stephens, Director of Media Relations for the university did not answer questions about the tutors saying: “We cannot comment on the effectiveness of services provided by external service providers.”

Concerns about “crash course” learning model

Some professors interviewed by The Varsity expressed concern about “crash course” sessions offered by private tutoring companies. “Some of these services try to teach students to memorize a lot of things without understanding,” said mat137 course coordinator and lecturer Alfonso Gracia-Saz. He added that a crash course focusing on memorization and pattern matching will not prepare a student for a well-designed exam, which would focus on conceptual understanding.

“Learning occurs best when it is drawn out over time, e.g., through a series of multiple learning sessions, not when it is crammed into a single session,” said PSY100 professor Ashley Waggoner-Denton. Shawn Tian, president of the Arts & Science Students’ Union (ASSU), stressed that it is every student’s responsibility to stay on top of their work. He argued that viewing tutoring sessions as a “failsafe” for not paying attention in class is ineffective. A crammed review session is unlikely to help a student who hasn’t stayed on track throughout the semester, he said.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Small Private Practices,Test Prep

August 29, 2013

The five things that every tutor trainer should know

By Daniel A. Weinstein, PhD, Director of Faculty Development & Assessment, Capital University, originally printed in the National Tutoring Association Tree Newsletter, Fall 2012

Dan Weinstein conducts a tutor training at the 2012 National Tutoring Association conference.

Tutoring is perhaps the most engaging and enriching form of instruction there is!  More and more students today benefit from the tutoring experience than ever before.  Most teachers are well versed in good pedagogy, but sometimes to the exclusion of good andragogy.  The key is making a positive connection with the student on a one-to-one or small group basis.  This is instruction and enlightenment that is sort of at variance with our usual way of going about teaching, yet it is an easy switch for most teachers to make once they are shown how to approach it.

Tutor training, as well, is a delicate and intricate process.  The guidelines are fairly simple – present to teachers much of what they already know at a pedagogical level, yet better suited for individual instruction.  Always remember that they are already teaching professionals and that sensitivity with them will go a long way.  In this piece, I lay out for the reader the five hallmark things that every tutor trainer should know.  By no means is the list exhaustive or exclusive.  It is meant to highlight some of the main points that tutor trainers should keep in mind and certainly abide by as they gravitate toward the world of individualized and small group instruction.

  1. Ethics: It is actually easy to cross the ethics line without even giving it much thought.  Tutors have been known to “teach to the test,” do home-work for the students and test students in the manner they see most ᴀt.  Part of tutor training clearly addressed this issue and presents ideas and options for tutors given the ethics involved in tutoring.
  2. Communication: The importance of good communication cannot be emphasized enough.   A lot of trouble in most of life can be traced back to poor communication.  Certainly given the instructional nature of tutoring, tutor training addresses skills, best practices and teachable moments that focus on appropriate communication in a one-on-one and small group instructional environment.
  3. Critical Thinking: Tutor training features the important component of teaching students how to think and question – especially when it comes to critical thinking.  A good tutor knows how to instruct students to ask questions, rely on facts and interpret information, to name just a few.  In addition, good thinking instruction teaches students to avoid thinking ruts and procrastination.
  4. Assessment Methods: Assessment is often viewed as testing, but it’s really more than that.   Tutors should know that assessment is measurement that’s based on a standard or target.  Tutors must be able to assess if students are achieving intended outcomes and if they are ready to move up to the next level of learning.  End-of-session summaries, think-alouds and observations are additional ways that tutors can do assessment of intended student learning outcomes. With doing proper assessment, there’s no real way of knowing that students got what you intended out of tutoring.
  5. Tips for Successful Studying: While this one may seem “tongue in cheek,” it is crucial for any student who wishes to be successful.   The establishment of mutual expectations and preparation for the learning process are top tips for successful studying.  Students should also be aware of appropriate study areas and learning styles.  It is truly amazing to see the difference that these tips can have on student success.

All in all, tutor training is an opportunity for teachers to engage in professional self-reflection.  Tutor certification helps to ensure that teachers understand and abide by the basic rules of tutoring.  These are skills that are not just innate within all teachers.  Most of these skills have to be learned – sometimes over and over again.  And every tutor trainer should know that.


This article was featured in Fall 2012 issue of The Tree, and reprinted with permission of the National Tutoring Association, © 2012.

Filed under: Associations,Small Private Practices,Training/Education

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