The Online Learning World Expands

Local Sylvan Learning Center gets an “A” in making the online transition
By EDDIE RIVERA, Weekdnr Editor
Published on Apr 4, 2020
Image Courtesy Sylvan Learning Website

While it remains to be seen how long it will last, the current world of communication and education no longer exists within hallowed halls. It lives in your phone,  or your laptop or iPad. Everything from the classroom to the lab is down the virtual hallway. 

As this new world grows, so do related educational opportunities like after-school learning centers.

Former marine Todd Crabtree , an educator since 1998, knows that growth curve well. He recently opened his seventh local Sylvan Learning Center franchise, in Pasadena at Lake and California, expanding from his nearby San Marino location. 

Crabtree opened his first Sylvan “campus” in 2006, after working for a number of other educational companies.

I decided to find my own franchise and chose Sylvan because it really is the most comprehensive and longest lasting brand,” he told Pasadena Now recently. 

Crabtree continued, “We offer programs like reading and mathematics and writing skills, as well as things like college preparation and homework support. That’s what really attracted me.”

Added Crabtree, “There’s an emphasis on teaching and teachers. So teachers are at the center of everything we do. We’re not just a technology company or just a company that puts worksheets in front of kids.”

His San Marino location recently just filled with over 300 students, 

“We really wanted to expand because our location is just too full.” 

Crabtree notes that the San Marino community is particularly education-driven, but says, “The reason why that location was so successful is because we draw from every type of constituency, from San Gabriel, Alhambra, Temple City, Arcadia, and Pasadena.

As Crabtree recalls, the Sylvan company was founded by “a frustrated middle school math teacher,” who wanted to teach a more personalized curriculum. 

“As you can imagine,  as a middle school teacher, you’re inheriting a lot of baggage from elementary school,” said Crabtree. “You have students that show up in your classroom who are not necessarily prepared. So that can be frustrating and overwhelming for a teacher. But, we’re founded by teachers and teaching is at the center of what we do.”

Crabtree continued, “I like to think of it as the teacher is the race car driver and the Sylvan curriculum is the race car and you really can’t have one without the other.” 

The school also has a wide range of students over and above middle and high school students, says Crabtree. Students can range from community college attendees, working on transfers to business executives working on writing and communication.

According to Crabtree, the transition to digital and online learning has come swiftly and smoothly, with students already completing their classwork on an iPad. The curriculum is always being updated by Sylvan’s curriculum, team, based in Baltimore.

“What really differentiates us is research-based curriculum and guaranteed results when it comes to personalized reading and math programs, Crabtree added, saying, “Kids like coming to Sylvan. We have a motivation program that the kids really enjoy. While there are a lot of students out there who kind of fear tutoring, especially if they’ve been struggling, a lot of parents are suddenly and pleasantly surprised that their kids actually liked coming to Sylvan.”

Sylvan Learning Center Pasadena is at 527 S Lake Avenue

#160, Pasadena, CA. (626)689-4214.

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