Staying Sharp Over the Summer Break

Writer / Janelle Morrison
Photographer / JJ Kaplan

The Huntington Learning Center in Carmel offers several top-notch programs that keep students’ skills sharp over the summer break. Whether they are working on subjects that may need some additional instruction, wanting to get a head start before the next school year or are practicing for the ACT and SAT, Huntington has the longest track record of helping students achieve academic success and boost their confidence.

Both the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredit Huntington. Huntington’s teachers are highly trained in subject areas and test-taking strategies on the ACT and SAT.

Huntington’s advanced study skills tutoring program is a one-on-one program, tailored to students at the eighth grade level or higher. The program focuses on executive functioning organization, time management and planning/preparation to help students effectively acquire, retrieve, analyze and communicate information.

Huntington’s approach is based on the notion that study skills must be learned and executed. Huntington helps the students find study methods and habits that work best for them, which builds their confidence and motivation to reach their fullest potential.

Lindsay Cameron, center director for Huntington, spoke about the structure of the programs and the personalized services that it provides to the students. “We work with kindergarteners through 12th graders, and we focus on a wide range of programs here,” Cameron explained. “We work on reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, writing and math skills. We also have our study skills program. We work with our juniors and seniors who are preparing for the ACT and SAT.

“Something else that we do is work with our eighth graders who are going into private or parochial school their freshman year. We prep them for the HSPT and the ISEE, the local private high school entrance exams for the state of Indiana. We focus on skills that will go beyond just helping a student get through their next text which is a common request, but we provide the student with skills that will last a lifetime and help them to prepare for exams in high school, college and beyond.

“Summer is our busiest time of the year. We offer mini programs like our study skills program and writing workshops for students who are looking to do something this summer to keep their skills fresh and maintain what they have learned the previous years.

“A lot of our programs are in a 4-to-1 ratio, meaning there are no more than four students to one teacher. It’s all individualized instruction. We also have one-on-one programs where the student works privately with a tutor on whatever subject they need to work on. Math is a big point for us in the summertime, getting kids ready for the next level of math before the next school year.

“When the student goes two months without practicing facts or their skills, it’s a very easy area to lose what they have retained over the school year. Most students come in two to three days a week; some students more. The average session is about two hours per student.”

“We meet with our parents face-to-face and conference with them usually every three to four weeks in a child’s program. We give them ideas on how to help create the right environment for their child to study and how to eliminate any distractions. They need a dedicated study area where there aren’t any distractions – no music, no TV and they need to put their phone away. It is understandable that they may need their tablets or computers to complete their work, but they should use them in a central part of the house where the parents can monitor without helicoptering and make sure that they are studying, focused and working.”

Huntington is one of the few companies in the area that offers one-on-one tutoring for the ACT and SAT preparation. That offering has been evolving and expanding with all the changes that the College Board has produced.

“The SAT just recently launched their new form of the test this past March,” Cameron said. “It has provided a lot of changes. The new SAT has proven to be much more challenging than the former SAT, and it has a lot of students and parents confused on what the best path for them will be. We feel confident in being able to guide them into the right direction and giving them that college preparation advice that they need to make the best decisions for their students.”

Huntington has been pushing the ACT programs with its high school juniors because of the SAT changes. The SAT used to focus on reading, math and writing skills. Now, math is 50 percent of the test score. If a student is not strong in math, the SAT may not be the best test for them.

The SAT also goes through upper level math skills whereas it only went through Algebra II before. It is now covering pre-calculus and trigonometry. The SAT also eliminated the use of a calculator in one of the sections, increasing its level of difficulty.

“I really reinforce to our middle school kids that they have to know how to divide decimals and multiply fractions without being dependent on a calculator,” Cameron elaborated. “We have really been steering our students towards the ACT prep program because it is a known fact of what they need to get into schools. The universities have listed on their websites what their expectations are for the ACT and SAT scores, but the SAT results are based on the old SAT expectations in the scoring. They don’t know what a good score for the new SAT is because there hasn’t been enough data collected to figure out those averages.

Celebrating her 10th year with Huntington, Cameron is passionate about education. “I have been in education for over 11 years,” she said. “I enjoy the personalization that we provide. When a child walks in the door, they are not just another sixth grader or just another eighth grader. They are somebody that has specific learning styles and needs, and we work with them to their learning style and method. We personalize it to build their confidence. We strengthen their skills which ultimately makes them more motivated and produces successful results.”

For more information about Huntington’s learning programs and summer programs, visit huntingtonhelps.com.