One reason Advantage Learning Center, founded in 2001, stands out is that both my husband, Stan Schwartz and I are Penn Ph.D.'s, with decades of experience teaching middle school, high school, college-level students/adults and/or working in industry. We know the kind of math, reading, and critical thinking skills most colleges and employers seek. We're passionate about helping students achieve their potential and tailor our teaching to each student's individual needs.
I enjoy the challenge of assessing new students and helping make their learning easier and less stressful. I'll never forget the surprise and gratitude of one parent when I realized that her 9th-grade daughter, whom I was helping with math, was reading at a fourth or fifth-grade level. Her school discipline issues, as well as her grades, were symptoms of deeper underlying issues. With focused reading lessons, both her grades and her attitude started to improve. I love making a difference in students' lives!
Lisa was a fantastic choice for us for tutoring (and some added mentoring of) our neuro-atypcial 16 yo daughter who was struggling with Geometry and French during her sophomore year. Lisa didn't judge (our parenting or my daughter's behaviors), she did not allow herself to get frustrated by my daughter's diversions, and she didn't throw up her hands or give up when things got tough, as they sometimes did. Lisa is experienced enough to know when a quick break from the subject matter was truly necessary and when it was time to buckle down and keep plugging away at a concept. She was able to motivate my daughter to focus on subjects that my daughter clearly did not enjoy. There are two things that struck me most. First was Lisa's ability to meet my daughter at her level and get her to focus on the task at hand, no matter what avoidance strategies my daughter was employing on that given day. The second was the level of preparedness with which Lisa came into my home for each session. Lisa clearly spent hours at her home (on her own time) preparing for each tutoring session with my daughter. She came prepared with quizlettes, flash cards, and a variety of study tip sheets and additional resources for my daughter to utilize during the tutoring sessions. Lisa also allowed my daughter to keep or access these resources so that she could use them on her own study time. We definitely got more than our money's worth when hiring Lisa to help my daughter with two subjects she clearly had no interest in...and we had the added benefit that Lisa was able to act as a non-judgmental, supportive, and positive role model for our daughter who has always struggled with forming positive relationships.
Depending on the situation, I usually start by looking at the student's previous work: homework, quizzes, papers, etc. If I'm doing SAT/ACT, SSAT, or other test prep, I might give the parent a diagnostic test to administer. While the parent always alerts me to the academic problem, there is no substitute for a face-to-face conversation with the target student
BA, High honors, political science, Smith College, minor Italian. Member Phi Beta Kappa. also coursework in French, American & World history, art history, English, psychology, economics. Junior year in Italy with all courses there, including history, taken in Italian.
MA, Italian studies, Smith College, in Italy. all courses in history, politics & literature, taken in Italian. Thesis on a political topic written in Italian.
Ph.D. International Relations/Political Science. Courses in European & Middle East politics & history as well as Arabic, French. Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Politics, World Politics, American Foreign Policy. Dissertation topic on Italian oil and gas trade with the Soviet Union and Algeria. Research conducted in English, Italian & French.
Other relevant education & Training:
Morocco field work for Penn education project on literacy, communicating in French & Moroccan Arabic, 5 months
Alliance Francaise, 6 months
Montgomery County Community College, Introductory Spanish
Six courses in secondary and middle school education & educational psychology
Orton-Gillingham training in Literacy
Generally, our prices range from $45-$70/hour, depending on the distance and the difficulty levels of the material. (more for AP, college or graduate level, adult learning, or emergency tutoring; some discount for two students taking the same lesson at the same time)
I started teaching college political science in grad school at Penn. I taught parttime and full time for 15 years at Penn, Ursinus, Rosemont, Lasalle, and other area schools.
I started teaching SAT's parttime for Kaplan and another agency, then opened my own business in 2001, working with high school and middle school students teaching the SAT, SSAT, IEEE, and many MS & HS courses, including college prep, honors & AP political science, history, English, & Italian. I have tutored MS and HS math many times, including upper elementary math, preAlgebra, Algebra 1 & 2, and geometry. I have done quite a bit of ESL (English as a second language) both online and in person, mainly with Chinese students. I also tutor MS & HS French.
We've worked with students from 5th grade through adult and graduate school, gifted, honors, college prep and to some extent special ed. I especially like working with middle and high school students honing their math and English skills, especially grammar. Of course, I love teaching Italian and have two students, both adults, right now.
I'm especially fond of the time I was hired to give French lessons to someone's mother, a widow in her early 70s. She had a "bucket list" which included learning French. The daughter gave me a decorated bucket with a French flag and goodies, and I showed up at the mother's door, complete with flashcards, pictures, and lots of conversation. We had a blast that time and in subsequent lessons!
Then there were the 3 semesters I taught kiddie Italian to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders...But that's another story!
To get an accurate picture of a student's assignments due and grades, it's important that the parent and tutor have access to the text (online if possible) and/or any teacher portal such as websites or Naviance. If you're considering hiring a tutor, look at references, but there's no substitute for listening to how the tutor interacts with the child!
Students or their parents should think about motivation and commitment. Why do they want or need a high SAT or SSAT score and what are they willing to do to achieve it? If they don't want to do the math problems or aren't reading outside of school at least 2 hours a week, they might have a hard time getting above a 500 in either part of the new SAT or above a 22 on the ACT.
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