Tutoring center celebrates first year
By Pat Kumpan
Celebrating its first year of operation, the Brainy Learning Center in Bernardo Heights is earning high marks from students who enjoy improving their academic knowledge in math and English.
During the past year, company owner and tutor Gideon Shuster has devoted Tuesdays and Thursdays to as many as 80 students who want one-on-one assistance in having a better understanding of subjects they don’t completely comprehend.
“Sometimes they tell me ‘I just don’t get it,’” Shuster said. “We really customize what we do.”
By talking directly to the students, their parents and finding out about homework and test scores from the school, Shuster said he can get an overall idea about what he can focus on with each student.
“A lot of kids need a customized approach, so they can build their confidence,” he said.
He asks students to organize their folders, so finding assignments is a snap, just one of the ways to get a great start.
Oakkar Aung, a seventh-grader at Oak Valley Middle School in 4S Ranch, who once had a writing block when it came to composing a story, says he “now writes up a storm.”
“I didn’t grasp the concept of writing, but I learned more about grammar at the learning center,” he said. “I learned how to do an outline, which helped me a lot.”
Meanwhile Tyler Whittaker, an eighth-grader at St. Michael’s School in Poway, has improved in vocabulary and reading comprehension, while Noah Lerner, a ninth-grader at Rancho Bernardo High, is now in honors literature, an accomplishment he said he would not have experienced without his learning center sessions.
For Dakota Nank, a ninth-grader at Rancho Bernardo High School, last week was the first time she got an “A” in her algebra class.
“When I was younger I was sick a lot and missed lots of school,” she said. “I didn’t learn some of the math fundamentals.”
Now, she has more confidence and better understands her algebra assignments.
Also, she adds, “I can ask (for) help when I need it at the tutoring center.”
Josh Cardno, another Oak Valley student, is taking seventh-grade algebra and finds the tutoring help a great way to advance in math, he said.
“He (Shuster) can help me specifically,” Cardno added.
Some students might be embarrassed to ask for help in class, or feel their teacher may not have time to help, Shuster said.
Shuster has a master’s degree in education and has taught in a private school and public schools in the state. The main reason he opened his learning center at 15721 Bernardo Heights Parkway, Suite J was based on hearing students and parents complain about not enough one-on-one help in class when students show signs of not understanding the subject.
Shuster can define a short- or long-term lesson plan during the year for each student, typically after he has met with the student, their parents and reviewed their school work and spoken to teachers. The fee varies but works out to about $50 an hour, but with a year’s contract the fees are typically reduced by 5 percent.
From kindergarten through high school, Shuster has worked with almost all grade levels to help students get more enjoyment out of learning, he said.
He also offers SAT preparation classes, typically once a month. For more details about learning center sessions and other activities, contact Shuster at 858-435-0205.
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