Published September 21, 2010
Volume 18, Number 9

Customized Attention is Hallmark of Huntington Learning Center  

Dan Chou, managing director, in Huntington Learning Center’s
Hacienda facility.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

There are many different ways to supplement learning beyond the classroom. Huntington Learning Center, which serves children from kindergarten through senior year in high school, prides itself on delivering customized attention to each student it enrolls.

“Our market position is as a place for really high-quality assistance,” comments Dan Chou, director of Pleasanton's Huntington Learning Center, which has been in operation for 23 years and is located at 4855 Hopyard Road in Hacienda’s Gateway Square. Although not a requirement for tutoring centers, Huntington is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and its faculty is comprised of credentialed classroom teachers, demonstrating its commitment to professional standards.

Abundant resources, such as a total of more than 1,000 pieces of curricula, allow Huntington teachers to create a plan tailored to the needs and learning style of each individual student. This is one of the reasons why Chou finds it difficult to stipulate specific criteria for how often and for how long tutoring is necessary. “We currently have a high school student who is here for two hours, four days a week. Another student, going into eighth grade, only comes once a week. The frequency and duration depend on the learning needs and how many areas the student needs help in. It's not a classroom situation with a fixed lesson plan. We consistently modify programs based on a student’s learning curve.”

The Center's SAT and ACT programs offer a perfect example of the degree of customization available. Students take a real-world test, one that has been administered in the past, and then every single question is analyzed to determine what produced the individual score. “We start digging into the answers. One person might have a poor vocabulary base but good critical thinking skills. Another could be strong in circle geometry but weak in exponents,” Chou explains. That information enables Huntington to zero in on student weaknesses and develop appropriate lesson plans.

“We apply the same philosophy with younger students, through a different battery of education assessments. We can find what's causing them difficulty in school, and then address those issues,” he continues, adding, “We experience very good results.”

As for concerns about a student’s attention span after a full day of school, Chou remarks. “A lot of people undersell a child’s ability to learn.” There is a big difference, he points out, between a classroom of 30 and Huntington’s one-on-one and small-group settings. “Parents are often surprised at how much their child can learn when all the levers are set correctly.” Some of the techniques are proprietary, but in general terms Chou emphasizes that the key is Huntington's individualized attention. “We make sure that the learning environment is productive, and that we provide a positive atmosphere.”

During the school year the Center is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (925) 463-8800 or visit the website at Pleasanton.huntingtonlearning.com.


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