By Villeneuve, Melissa on December 19, 2017.
What began with a love for educating youth has evolved into ownership of her own Sylvan Learning franchise. Polly Fisher is the new owner of the Lethbridge location at #110, 104 13 St. N.
Fisher moved to Lethbridge in 1996, after working with the Edmonton Public School Board. She began working with Sylvan as a part-time instructor in 1998 and, nearly two decades later, became the Lethbridge franchisee in November.
Fisher credits the mentorship from the former owner with helping her to grow. It’s a continual learning process, she says.
“The former owner did a fabulous job. I’m just following in her footsteps,” she said. “It’s a big undertaking … I’m learning new things all the time.”
The greatest reward of her career is working with the kids and “feeling like they’re making some progress,” she said. “Definitely when the kids feel more confident and positive and upbeat, and the parents see it, it’s such a nice reward for all of us.”
Sylvan provides personal learning opportunities for students in grades K-12. They have students as young as four and even some college students and adults seeking their GED.
They have structured beginner reading programs for non-readers up to high school with assistance in English, social studies, science and math. There are about 120 students enrolled in various programs.
The core program has been essential for kids “that just need that extra little boost,” she said. They also help prepare older students for college entrance exams, including the SATs.
Fisher says they collaborate with some of the Lethbridge area schools, as well as those who home school their children.
“The teachers have been really tremendous in communicating with us and also making sure that our program is beneficial to what the child needs.”
Their instructors are teachers as well – some work as substitutes or have part-time contracts with their school, some are retired teachers looking to continue making an impact.
Fisher is looking forward to Sylvan’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about things such as robotics, coding and animation. She said it will help students apply their knowledge of math and science to troubleshoot problems.
For example, they could build a robot out of Lego and then program the Lego to move using coding on the computer. They can use their own logic in applying angles and degrees to characters.
“It’s really neat to see because we really encourage the troubleshooting and if you’re wrong, it’s OK, let’s find another avenue,” said Fisher. “I think that’s so essential for these young kids nowadays because so many of them learn the math and the science, but then applying it to troubleshooting in the play format … They have to know what those concepts mean and then apply it. That part of the application is really neat and it would be great for kids to do more of it.”
For more information, visit http://www.SylvanLearning.com.
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