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Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:16 PM

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Sylvan Learning, personal education franchise brand, plans its expansion in D.C. metro area


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Sylvan Learning plans to open more locations in the D.C. metro area. Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning, operating over 800 centers in US, Canada, Middle East, Asia, already operates six centers in D.C. metro area. Courtesy photo

Sylvan Learning plans to open more locations in the D.C. metro area. Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning, operating over 800 centers in US, Canada, Middle East, Asia, already operates six centers in D.C. metro area. Courtesy photo

Published on: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yevgeniy Trapeznikov, Special to The Sentinel

Sylvan Learning, personal education franchise brand, recently announced its expansion in D.C. metro area.

The company, a leading provider of supplemental education services for K-12 students, is planning to open at least 11 physical locations in the metro area. Territories, which are not tied to county or city boundaries, will include communities such as Northwest D.C., Southeast D.C., Bethesda, Silver Spring, District Heights and Lanham, Md. as well as Alexandria, Woodbridge, Bristol, Burke and Manassas, Va.

Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning operates over 800 centers in the U.S., Canada, Middle East, Asia and already operates six centers in D.C. metro area.

“Supplemental education services have never been more in demand and Sylvan’s proven business model, breakthrough technology and reasonable investment cost have made us the country’s top education franchise," said Scott Hurlock, vice president of franchise development, Sylvan Learning. “With school budget cuts resulting in larger class sizes and fewer resources, and with increased competition to get into colleges of choice, more families are seeking the personal learning experience that can only be found at Sylvan."

About a couple of years ago Sylvan Learning has initiated digitalization of the marketed services. The company recently converted its entire paper-based program to a digital platform named Sylvan Sync.

Beginning last year, the company has aggressively started to brand itself again. Now it is going after the markets that are undeveloped and looking for confident new franchisees who are passionate about education, have financial resolve to own a business and entrepreneurial acumen to run a business.

“With 20 years of experience in education, including several years with Sylvan’s corporate office, I thought opening my own Sylvan Learning Center made good business sense. There’s no question that in the Washington, D.C., metro area families value education and are looking for the best possible resources,” said Doug Mesecar, who opened his first Sylvan Learning Center in McLean, Va., last April.

The company employs heavily individualized approach to education resulting in tutor-student ratio equaling 1-3.  Each student is paired with one of Sylvan’s tutors and two other students. Personalized instruction as well as the ability to critically evaluate themselves, guarantees that tutoring sessions are fun, motivating and highly effective for children.

As the company goes digital it has added resiliency not only to its business model but also has begun offering more flexibility to parents. Instead of having to bring their children to one physical location, Sylvan Sync capitalizes on iPad technical capabilities which provide greater community reach.

A franchisee is awarded a protecting territory, legal boundaries and access to Sylvan’s proprietary teaching platform. Within each franchisee’s protecting territory the company mandates that the territory has at minimum, one physical location with set-up of the Sylvan Learning center. Sylvan Sync digital platform affords a franchisee the ability to take a scalable, no-fixed cost version of what is within physical learning center reach to four corners of the territory. By renting a room for an hour (in a library or a civic center), the franchisee can deliver Sylvan tutors’ expertise which is much more convenient for parents and kids.

Sylvan claims that its state-of-the-art Insight process is unparalleled and pairs a best-in-class computer-adaptive assessment with a student’s self-assessment of habits and attitudes toward academics to create a 360-degree view of each child’s needs. Every child goes through iPad digital assessment process which lasts about 1-1.5 hours. Afterwards, the child will be diagnosed immediately where his or her skill gaps are. At the end of the assessment, the director of education will take iPad content, analyze it and read the evaluation to parent.

“For example, if your child is in third grade but the assessment determined his or her reading is of a second grader, the evaluator will tell ‘here is what we are going to do about that’”, said Hurlock, describing how the process will work to identify reading shortcoming.

“At Sylvan, there’s an emphasis on 21st-century learning. It’s a modern education company that serves children in a very relevant way, whether through our assessment of a child’s needs or the lessons delivered through Sylvan Sync, a revolutionary digital teaching system,” said Mesecar.

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