Making the Grade 7

Huntington Learning Center Helps Local Students Achieve

Put to the Test

Jaylin Pendleton was in the third grade when his mother Brandy decided it was time to get him some help. For two years, Brandy worked with teachers and school personnel to correct and manage some unwanted behaviors. However, the stakes were a little higher once Jaylin entered third grade, when state achievement tests begin. Jaylin was in danger of falling behind.

“Jaylin didn’t want to read because he struggled at it. He wasn’t confident in his skills, so he found other things to focus on,” Brandy says.

Dan Mathis, Owner and Executive Director of Huntington Learning Center, finds this experience is common. He has countless stories of frustrated kids and parents, everything from problems sounding out words to a mother who wept because her son would hide under his bed when she asked him to read to her.

“So many students come in discouraged. They think, ‘Why can’t I figure this out?’ They have such low academic self-confidence and that’s why they act out. Their teachers work with them every day, and they do a wonderful job. But despite their best efforts, some students need more. That’s where Huntington is able to help,” he says.

Mathis and the trained staff at Huntington go to great lengths to create a custom plan for each student. Jaylin was first given an academic assessment to capture his baseline skills. Once they had a snapshot of where he was, Jaylin’s tutors put together a plan tailored to his needs. The goal was to improve his reading score from 386—insufficient for advancing to fourth grade—to a passing mark in only five months. Brandy Pendleton felt confident in Huntington beginning with his first tutoring session.

“They gave Jaylin independence from the start. They asked me not to walk him in, so I dropped him off outside and he walked in alone and signed himself in. He knew the expectations and he met them on his own,” Brandy says.

Jaylin tutored at Huntington three times per week for two hours at a time. His teachers saw an immediate impact, as his behavior changed for the better and his reluctance to complete reading-related tasks dissipated. But the true measure of his success would come in the spring when he sat for the state test.

Wise Investment for Older Students

Huntington’s college entrance exam prep programs are popular with high school students and their parents. “Barbara,” who spoke on condition of anonymity, enrolled her two children at Huntington to help them improve their ACT scores. The investment has had a major impact on the cost of college tuition.

Her son scored a 24 on the ACT in his first try and improved his score to a 32 after tutoring at Huntington. That mark, which puts him in the 98th percentile, saved his family thousands of dollars.

“His earlier score resulted in about $8,000 in scholarships, but with a 32 he’s eligible for $24,000 to $40,000 in scholarships,” Barbara says.

In her daughter’s case, Barbara noted an improvement in her testing strategy.

“Huntington taught her how to evaluate the amount of time she should invest in a question so she could complete the test,” she says. Barbara’s daughter’s ACT score jumped from a 25 to a 29 after tutoring at Huntington. The higher score helped her earn admission into her preferred nursing school.

Mathis sees these results again and again.

“When parents bring their kids here, they’re making an investment in their child’s education, and we don’t want to let the parents down. When a kid gets it, when his grades get better and he feels more academic self-confidence, the payoff on that investment is huge,” he says.

Making the Grade

After months of preparation, Jaylin took the state reading test. His advancement to fourth grade was on the line, and his parents bet on his ability and his tutoring at Huntington Learning Center to get him to a passing score. Their faith in him and his efforts were rewarded: Jaylin scored a 436, a number squarely in the Advanced category. The positive impact of his time at Huntington Learning Center reaches well beyond one test. His skills, confidence and behavior have all improved. Jaylin is a whole new student.

“It felt like I knew how to do better,” Jaylin says of his time at Huntington. “I could read words that I always thought were too hard and I paid attention better. I would go again. I really think Huntington helped me a lot.”