Precision tutoring with concrete results
High school students from all over northern Utah, including places like Bingham, Alta, Morgan, Lone Peak, Park City, Spanish Fork, and even parts of Wyoming, come to the Huntington Learning Center in Draper year round for the excellent ACT exam prep they offer. It may seem extreme to make a daily trek from Morgan, a town that is an hour away, every day for weeks on end, but that is what students are willing to do to raise their test scores an average of five to seven points. It is one of the many outstanding things that is happening at Huntington Learning Center in Draper.
Jon and Jen Erickson, the owners of Huntington Learning Center since 2012, are passionate proponents of education. Jon is an entrepreneur who is grateful to have found a business model that makes a true difference in society.
“It’s a feel good business. It matters. Education is the way you change the world. It is the only way I know that you can make a difference in a child’s life.”
That is exactly what he is doing on a daily basis. When he and his wife began investigating possible business ventures, they were drawn to the education sector. The parents to five boys, the Erickson’s were able to immediately put their soon-to-be new business to the test when they had their second child Jaxon evaluated. Huntington offers an in-depth assessment for students of all grade levels in order to expose what the true weaknesses are in their education. Their son was a third grader who was really struggling, and even after arduous and consistent homework help, Jon Erickson and his wife felt that he needed more intervention. Plus, what Jaxon had worked so hard to master during the school year would get lost during summer break.
The Huntington Learning Center evaluation precisely diagnosed what Jaxon’s weaknesses were. Jon Erickson was impressed that the learning center pinpointed Jaxon’s vulnerabilities and had a concrete plan to help him overcome them and get him back on track at school. Although Erickson knew the areas that were a struggle for his son, he was not able to articulate what they were.
Immediately after Jaxon’s assessment, the Erickson’s bought the franchise and then started bringing Jaxon in for one-on-one tutoring. Their son came to the center for about a year. The main area that they worked on was reading comprehension. Due to the accuracy of the assessment, Huntington Learning Center went to the heart of the problem immediately and helped Jaxon build the skills he needed to dramatically improve reading comprehension. In addition, his math skills saw a marked improvement. Now Jaxon’s reading comprehension has gone from horrible to above average and his math skills are top of the class.
The Huntington Learning Center provides three main areas of educational services for K-12. The first is the learning center, which is what helped Jaxon, and which caters mainly to elementary and middle school aged kids, providing assistance for children struggling in school. The center tutors one-on-one for younger elementary students, and puts upper elementary and middle school kids into groups of four with an experienced tutor. The tutor will rotate through to each child, working with them individually and then giving them time to do independent work. The small group setting is very effective. One concerned parent, Kathy, from Draper, brought her second grade son into the center and when he was assessed the results were frightening.
“When the results came back, I just bawled. Here was my eight year old, whose math skills could not even reach the testing mark and his phonics and reading levels were about pre-school to Kindergarten level.”
Within a few weeks of work, Kathy noticed an immediate improvement in his academics. Her son was enthusiastic about going to Huntington and responded well to the innovative tools and techniques the center used.
The center also does subject tutoring, their second area of focus. Students in middle school and high school can get help in subjects like calculus, biology, physics and English, to name just a few. When a student comes to the center, they are paired up with a knowledgeable tutor in a one-on-one setting.
As Jon Erickson notes, “Every kid is unique. We try to figure out what a child actually needs. It is not a bunch of worksheets. It’s methodical and diagnosed, with a prescribed solution.”
The third main focus of Huntington is also the place where the results are measured and quite impressive. The ACT exam prep is averaging a five to seven point gain for students at the center. This is huge when it comes to college admissions. For in-state schools, there is an admissions matrix and with GPA and ACT test scores, students know if they will get admitted or get scholarships. For example, if a student wanted to attend Utah State and had a 3.8 GPA, there is a marked difference in what kind of scholarship they could earn. If their ACT was a 25, it would mean a 50% scholarship to USU. A seven point increase would take that scholarship from 50% to 100%. That is a big deal.
“There are no group classes at Huntington. I haven’t found that that is effective for big score increases. Standard tips and tricks are ok, but it won’t get a huge increase. We start with an assessment and the approach is very analytical. It is not cookie cutter,” Jon Erickson says.
A typical prep session can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Typically, students will come to the center for one to two months to get ready and are tutored in the specific areas that need the most help in order to get the score up. Huntington is helping these kids get into their dream schools or helping them reach benchmarks so they can avoid remedial college courses that offer no credit, but still cost money.
For Kris Komarnitsky, he highly recommends Huntington’s ACT prep course for the highly motivated student. “My daughter scored a 31 on her first practice ACT, administered by Huntington, before any tutoring, reflecting the hard work she had always put into school. Her real ACT was only one week away. Over the next six days, she received 11 hours of Huntington prep and did four more practice ACT tests, which came free while tutoring. The result of this intense one week effort was a 35 on her real ACT. As a parent, my biggest relief was that she will never have to retake this test again and she will have the option to go to almost any college that fits her aspirations.”
Since Huntington Learning Center is the only tutoring center in northern Utah that offers such an effective ACT prep course, it is no wonder that high schoolers are coming from all over to get this valuable service. From Kindergarteners to seniors, the Erickson’s educational business venture is paying huge dividends in students’ lives and making the community a better place.