Academic Success for Life
By Michelle Martin
Every child can learn; the key to academic success is in understanding that each child learns differently. At Huntington Learning Center in Woodstock, the team of professional tutors is experienced in helping students achieve academic success at any level.
New owners Ramana Panchumarthy and his wife, Vasudha Edara, executive director, along with partners Shreyas and Jignasa Desai, marketing and community relations, are excited to continue Huntington Learning Center’s 12-year history serving Woodstock and surrounding communities. As local business owners for the past 10 years and with two sons in middle school, Ramana and Vasudha are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Woodstock community in a new way. “We recognize the important role that Huntington Learning Center plays in helping students learn outside of the classroom so that they can be more successful in school,” Ramana says. Jignasa, whose husband, Shreyas, has a master’s degree in mathematics and teaches at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, says he sees firsthand how a lack of fundamentals affects students. “So many students are failing because they lack a basic understanding of fundamentals in mathematics. That deficiency will follow them later in life and in business,” she says. “But with the proper foundation in fundamentals, students can continue to learn and be more successful.”
Huntington Learning Center, established in 1977, provides professional academic tutoring and learning resources based on curriculum that is aligned with current national educational standards. Programs include academic skills (reading, writing, math, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, study skills, and critical thinking); subject tutoring (algebra, pre-algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics); and exam prep (ACT, SAT, PSAT, AP, and other entrance exams). Huntington Learning Center customizes learning programs to students’ individual needs based on standardized test results. “Traditional tutoring is like a band-aid to help students improve in their current areas of study. Many times, students rely on memorization rather than mastery of skills,” says Diane Alred, director of the Woodstock Huntington Learning Center for five years. “The Huntington Learning Center approach is more like surgery, designed to build the basic fundamentals necessary for long-term academic success.”
Based on students’ individual academic assessment, Huntington Learning Center tutors will meet with parents to discuss areas of strengths and weaknesses, and customize a program to help fill in specific learning gaps. All instruction is done at Huntington Learning Center by certified, experienced instructors. Students are tested at different phases in the program to gauge their academic progress; adjustments can be made at any time if students are learning faster than expected or if they require additional focus in a specific study area. As Diane explains, learning programs begin at students’ individual comfort levels and progress in difficulty so that they can see their own success firsthand. “Students want to learn. As they become more successful and more confident, they are more motivated to study and work hard to achieve their academic goals.”
The instructors at Huntington Learning Center work closely with teachers to monitor students’ progress at the center and in the classroom. In addition, instructors meet with parents every few weeks to keep them updated as well. “Huntington instructors, students, parents, school teachers — we all are partners working together to help students succeed academically,” says Jignasa. “It is especially important for parents to understand that good grades in school do not necessarily reflect skills.”
Huntington Learning Center’s subject tutoring also involves helping students develop better organizational skills and homework habits. “In many cases, it’s just a matter of focus. And for some students, that might mean seeking the help from someone other than their parents and teachers,” Ramana says. Once students develop good organizational skills, study skills and homework habits, they are better prepared to tackle studying on their own.
In addition to individual subject tutoring and a focus on fundamentals, Huntington Learning Center also offers an exam prep program for standardized tests, entrance exams, and the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Huntington instructors can help students determine which test is best suited to their strengths and offer tips to maximize their scoring potential. Then, based on the results of practice tests, instructors work with students to improve in specific test areas. The exam prep program is also beneficial to students hoping to earn a certain score required for certain scholarships and more selective schools. As Ramana explains, “On average, students who go through Huntington’s ACT prep program score three to six points higher than they would without any specialized exam prep. The difference between a 20 and a 24, for example, could be significant for students hoping to get into a specific school or applying for scholarships.”
This is also a critical time for students as they approach the end of the current school year. Diane encourages parents to address their children’s learning gaps as soon as possible. “Unfortunately, by the time students come to Huntington Learning Center for help, they have been struggling for three to four years,” she says. “But, it’s never too late to learn.” Adds Ramana, “At Huntington Learning Center, we believe confidence builds success in students. We are proud to be a part of a program that helps students achieve academic success so that they can be more successful not only in school but also in life.”
6244 Old Hwy. 5, Woodstock