Thursday, Sep 20, 2018

Sylvan satellite site to open in Harvard

A new Sylvan Learning Center satellite location will open soon in Harvard as the upcoming school year gets underway.

“It has been a dream of mine for many years to open a Sylvan site in Harvard,” said Pattie Bredehorst, the franchise owner of the new Sylvan satellite site. “Teaching is what I love to do.”

Bredehorst is a veteran in the education field. She has a master’s degree in early childhood, taught for 10 years at St. Joseph preschool in Harvard, was a substitute teacher at Harvard School District 50 for a few years and started tutoring at Sylvan in 2000.

Her passion for helping students achieve their potential in school is what spurred Bredehorst to open the satellite Sylvan site.

“My biggest goals are that our students will gain the confidence that they need to do really well in school,” Bredehorst said. “That they’ll gain skills that will be not only useful now but over their life, and that our high schoolers will be able to work in our ACT programs and get those scores up so they will be ready to go on to college. To build confidence, build self-esteem and let the students know that they can do this, they can do well in school, and see them accomplish that.”

Bredehorst is already involved at the Sylvan learning site in McHenry, which is comprised of students from McHenry, Woodstock and Johnsburg. She saw a need for Sylvan in the Harvard region that motivated her to launch the new satellite site.

“I want the community to know that I’ve recognized the need and that’s why I’m coming to Harvard with Sylvan – to just help our students,” Bredehorst said. “That’s my biggest goal, to see their test scores go up, their confidence, their desire to go on to higher education — that there are no obstacles standing in their way, that they can be successful, that’s most important. I don’t like when I hear students say ‘I can’t do it,’ or ‘It’s too big,’ ‘I’m the only one in the class,’ ‘They’re laughing at me’ … I’ve had students who have been so far behind and have come so far with the help of Sylvan, so that’s my goal.”

Bredehorst said she plans to partner and collaborate with local teachers and schools to help gauge students’ learning targets and facilitate the optimum avenues for their achievement.

“We do work with the teachers when they [the students] are enrolled at Sylvan,” she said. “We do communicate with the teachers in the classroom so that we build partnerships, so it gives us feet in the classroom so we know what the student is working on in school as well as what they might be working on at Sylvan. We do a lot of communicating. I work a lot with the students and teachers … I’m hoping that those kids at the District 50 schools will gain the confidence that they need.”

Students at Sylvan are anywhere from 4-½ years old through college and adult. One of the advantages students have at Sylvan is greater teacher-student interaction with the class material and homework, Bredehorst said.

“With Sylvan they’re working with three or four students and the teacher, and they’re getting a little bit more one-on-one time,” she said.

Students at the Sylvan satellite site receive iPads that provide textbooks, quizzes, tests and other study tools. Parents also can view their students’ progress and performance online.

“Right now our reading, math, study skills and soon to be ACT are all on the iPad,” Bredehorst said. “There are no books, there are no binders, there are no textbooks. They’re working on the iPad. … All of their work and their answers go right on the iPad, and then students are corrected, and their parents can log in to MySylvan and check on their progress almost instantly.”

The tutors at Sylvan are certified teachers. Bredehorst is seeking to recruit local teachers to work as part-time tutors at the satellite site, and she already has been successful in enlisting some of her previous students who have gone on to become teachers.

“I’m hoping to hire some of the teachers from the district, local retired teachers, teachers that are good in math or ACT programs,” she said. “I’ve already been scavenger-hunting around and talking to people. My husband and I have lived here for over 30 years so we know a lot of people, and a lot of my preschoolers are now teachers, so I’ll be calling some of them up to see if they’re interested.

For those interested in enrolling at Sylvan, there will be an open house at the satellite site, which is located on the second floor of the district office at 1101 N. Jefferson St. Starting at the end of September, one-hour sessions at Harvard’s Sylvan site will be offered after school between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.