Published July 20, 2010
Volume 18, Number 7

Summit Tutoring Center Bolsters Student Performance   

Maggie Liou, director of Summit Tutoring Center, left, with
daughter and teacher’s aide Megan; instructor Shannon
Hancock teaches geometry to her class at right.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

It might be summertime, but the students attending Summit Tutoring Center (STC) arrive at the spacious facility at 4430 Willow Road ready to work. Elementary-age students have the opportunity to refresh and advance their reading and writing skills. Middle-schoolers take English composition and comprehension classes, supplemented by Book Club three times a week. Later in the morning they might participate in one of the math preview courses, designed to get them ready for the pre-algebra or algebra they will be studying when school starts up again. Meanwhile, their high school counterparts are preparing for the Advanced Placement or Honors courses in challenging subjects, like calculus, biology, and chemistry, on their class schedule for fall.

There are many other courses available, from art to Mandarin Chinese to SAT prep, at the center, which also offers one-on-one tutoring and a special Homework Center when school is in session. STC opened in January with the goal of improving the academic performance of students from third grade to high school. Given today’s elevated level of competition for college admission, its offerings have been very well received.

“Parents know that AP classes are really hard, and taking a preview course is one way to make sure their students are more successful,” says STC founder Maggie Liou, herself a teacher of Chinese. The center is the outgrowth of the experiences she had getting additional academic help for her own children. “I hired a teacher to do some tutoring in my home, and the parents in the neighborhood wanted to join in,” Liou relates.

After a short time she realized the undertaking had great potential as a business, and in Hacienda she found the perfect location: just across the street from Thomas Hart Middle School. It is also just a 15-minute drive from Windemere Ranch Middle School in San Ramon, her own neighborhood school. 

After a few months of upgrades and renovations, STC expanded into the space next door, bringing the facility to a total of 3,500 square feet. The addition allows the Homework Center to operate in a special area reserved for middle school and high school students, separated from the younger charges. “These kids are too old for day care,” Liou points out, but they can still benefit from a structured environment to keep their focus. The center is equipped with copies of the school textbooks and rows of computers. Assistance comes from the straight-A students from high school and college Liou has hired to provide immediate help and check that work has been completed before the students leave for the day. “This way, the family at home can relax and have a good dinner together,” she says. “Parents after work are tired, and no one wants to deal with incomplete home work.

“Budget cuts in schools have made parents worried,” Liou continues. “They know we are very proactive about learning. Summit Tutoring Center can help their children get a better education and master the subjects they need to know.”

For more information, visit www.summittutoringcenter.com or call (925) 251-9888.


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