August 29, 2011

Students start test prep program for area high schoolers

By Samantha Joseph, originally published 7/8/11 in the Hometown News.

When she was 5 years old, her parents and family friends noticed Jamie Harris seemed to have a special gift for reading, so they asked her if she would help a younger boy. They asked if she’d “give it a shot.” Jamie agreed, and before long, the young girl and her friend were reading their way through beginner books. It was a sign of things to come, because at age 18, the South Fork High School graduate-turned-Brown University-sophomore is one of two students at top-rated colleges who started local programs to offer tutoring for SATs or university placement tests.

Valedictorian at Jensen Beach High School in 2010, Gracie Willert, is also spearheading a similar summer program. The 19-year-old biology and pre-med major at Duke University in North Carolina, created a tutoring service that provides area students with tips for the ACT college entrance exam, Advance Placement exam and SAT, a test in which she scored among the top 99 percent of candidates.

“I’m really excited about this summer because Duke has been the best part of my life,” Ms. Willert said. “It makes me really want to help other people reach their college goals. I wouldn’t want them to miss out on that just because of an exam.”

The students work for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Revolution Prep, which owns Ivy Insiders program, a company that Harvard graduate Nick Green founded while he was a college student. “This company is based on the idea that no group is more prepared to teach the SAT than those who just went through it and scored in the 99th percentile,” Ms. Willert said.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Peer-Tutoring,Small Private Practices

August 20, 2011

Teaching veteran runs 23 year-old tutoring company

by Rene Michelle Harris, orginally published in The South Florida Times on 7/7/11

When her otherwise high performing daughter, Reesa, got Cs in chemistry and math, Novelette Sharpe took action. She’d heard about Focus Tutoring Academy from another parent, who recommended the service. Sharpe said that after four months, Reesa’s performance in geometry has improved dramatically and she has a better grasp of chemistry.

Success stories like Reesa’s are how Ruth Smith, founder of Focus, has built her 23-year old business.  “Most of my business comes from word of mouth and satisfied customers,” said Smith, Gifted Coordinator at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High in Miami. Seven years into her 30 year teaching career, Smith took her passion and turned it into a business. After offering free tutoring to family, friends and neighbors, the veteran of the Miami Dade Public School system launched Focus Learning Academy, a full-service tutoring program.

“I began tutoring in my home at the dining room table, the living room, and my patio. I simply outgrew the free tutoring and began to charge for my services,” said Smith. She boasts a “99 percent” success rate among the hundreds of students who have participated in Focus’ tutoring, which is located in North Miami Beach. “Almost every child that has come to us for help has excelled and passed the FCAT with our program.”

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Small Private Practices

August 12, 2011

Fairfield Prep revokes use of school for Revolution Prep SAT practice test

Orignally published on on 7/5/11

Fairfield College Preparatory School has revoked permission for an SAT practice exam to be given there Friday after learning the free test would be offered by a for-profit company. A Prep spokeswoman said the school had agreed to let several alumni, now college students, use a classroom for what officials had been led to believe was an informal session. But permission was quickly revoked Thursday when school officials learned the alumni represented a California-based company that charges fees for SAT preparation courses and tutoring.

The company, which markets itself both as Ivy Insiders and Revolution Prep, issued a news release June 27 announcing the practice exam at Fairfield Prep was free and open to students of any school. Based in Van Nuys, Calif., Revolution Prep offers two levels of preparation courses — one for $599, the other for $899 — plus one-on-one tutoring, according to the company website. The privately owned company had annual revenues of $11.6 million in 2009, the most recent available.

Colleen Adams, Fairfield Prep’s director of communications, on Friday said no practice exam would be conducted at the North Benson Road school on Friday.

The alumni also improperly used a Fairfield Prep student directory to solicit students to the practice exam, Adams said. The solicitation stated the school was “hosting” the session. In a subsequent email to parents, Fairfield Prep Principal Robert A. Perrotta said the school did not endorse the program and apologized for the improper use of the school’s mailing lists. “Fairfield Prep is not hosting this program nor does it in any way endorse this or any other program which is not under the direct control of Fairfield Prep,” he said in the email.

To read the full article click here.

Filed under: Commercial Providers,Test Prep

August 3, 2011

Study Buddy paying off for teen tutor entrepreneur

by Colleen Toms, originally published in the Brant News on 6/2/11

An entrepreneurial spirit is paying off for 15-year-old Danielle Tuori. Armed with a business plan and bolstered by a generous helping of motivation, the Brantford teen applied for one of four local spots in the Ministry of Economic Development administered Summer Company program through the Brantford-Brant Resource Enterprise Centre (BRC). “I heard about the BRC program through Brant News and thought it would be a great opportunity for me to find out how to run my own business,” Tuori said.

The Summer Company helps students between the ages of 15 to 29 hone their business skills and earn money over the summer with a $1,500 start-up grant. Another $1,500 is awarded to participants if they complete the program to ministry standards.  Tuori, a Grade 10 student with an average of 95.75, developed a business plan to operate Study Buddy, a tutoring program for students up to Grade 10. “I had to create an in-depth business plan that included everything advertising-wise to why my company would be more beneficial than other tutoring businesses,” Tuori said.

When Tuori learned in mid-May that she was accepted in the program, she wasted no time putting her plan into action and officially opened Study Buddy Tutoring. “I’ve been advertising and putting posters and flyers everywhere to get the name out there,” she said. “I got right to work. I’m a very organized person.” Tuori said her business plan was developed from a love of learning and an enjoyment of helping other kids. Teachers often ask her to assist other students in class.

To read the full article click here.

Filed under: Leadership,Small Private Practices


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