Published January 18, 2005
Volume 13, Number 1

Huntington Learning Center Helps Students Achieve Scholastic Goals

Caitlin McLens, right, works with Huntington instructor Wendy Fuh in
preparation for college admissions tests.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

Whether a child has a learning disability or simply wants to improve their performance in school, it’s sometimes necessary to go beyond the bounds of day-to-day educational institutions to get them the help they need. Here in Hacienda, that help might be found at Huntington Learning Center, which offers children enrolled in kindergarten through high school supplemental instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills, phonics, and related areas.

“Huntington is actually the oldest supplemental learning company in the country,” says Tom Ferguson, center director for Huntington Learning Center. Huntington was founded in New Jersey in 1977 and currently has hundreds of locations nationwide. The Pleasanton branch was established in 1988 and moved to its current 2,523-square-foot location at 4855 Hopyard Road in Gateway Square in October of 2002.

“We provide a couple of different services,” Ferguson says. “We help kids who are behind in school and need educational enrichment, we help kids with subject matter tutoring if they need help in particular subjects, and we help kids with SAT and ACT exam preparation.” The first step Huntington takes in determining what areas a child needs help with is to perform a diagnostic assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses, followed by customized programs to build basic skills. The student then receives tutoring a few times a week focusing on the skills they need to improve. Taking students back to a level of study at which they understand the subject matter allows them to be successful and gives them a starting point on which to build skills. If students don’t complete at least 80% of their work correctly, Huntington lowers the difficulty of the work to a level at which the child feels comfortable. That way, students can prove to themselves that they can make progress, building the confidence necessary to achieve their goals.

“Another big component of our program is that we have a conference with the parents after every 25 hours of tutoring,” Ferguson says. “Keeping the parents up-to-date on what we’re doing and responding to their concerns is important. We also contact the students’ teachers to let them know that the child is enrolled in here. We need to know what the kids are doing in the classroom and we want the teacher in the classroom to know that the child is getting extra help.”

“The kids come here to work on fundamental skills such as reading, writing, and math, starting at the levels that they are comfortable with,” Ferguson says. “Step-by-step, we help them build their skill set to where they are at or beyond their appropriate grade level.” All of the instructors at Huntington are certified teachers and all of the instruction is done in either very small groups or one-on-one. The Center has three full-time staffers and 20 tutors, and enrollment varies between 80 to 100 children. Huntington Learning Center is open until 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 6:00 p.m. Friday as well as offering tutoring on weekends. “The motto of Huntington is ‘Your Child Can Learn,’” Ferguson says. “We feel that we can help just about every child who is struggling in school.”


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