A tenant space on Madison Street may soon be home to students of Sylvan Learning, a tutoring service that offers personalized lesson plans for kids in grades K-12. While most Forest Park schools offer their own after-school programs, village officials are working to make way for the business to help provide additional learning resources.
The facility will be located at 7217 Madison St. Contractors are currently working to make the space more suitable for its needs. A plumbing permit was recently issued, and other code requirements may include new ceilings, flooring, and wall partitions.
It was not clear when the private tutoring center might open. Attempts to reach the real estate agent for the property were not successful.
“Any resource we can bring to bear to improve our students’ learning is worth pursuing,” Field-Stevenson Principal Bob Giovannoni said.
Schools like Field-Stevenson and Garfield Elementary both value the importance of such resources, according to district officials, and both offer their own tutoring services free of charge. Students who miss more than 10 days of school qualify for Field-Stevenson’s homebound tutoring service, which sends teachers directly to the homes of students. And Garfield Elementary offers an after-school program that focuses on reading and study skills.
Though neither school has plans to work with Sylvan, educators said it’s not out of the question.
“I am in favor of any coalition we can form that might benefit the students,” Giovannoni said.
However, for Garfield Elementary Principal Jamie Stauder, the additional cost of outside services is, at least for the moment, unnecessary.
“Those kind of services are hefty in price,” Stauder said. “Our tutoring services offer children small group activity time. They reinforce the skills the students have been learning in the classroom.”
Mike Boyle, who heads the Department of Public Health and Safety, said he hopes to see an increase in business as well as academic achievement with the addition of Sylvan.
“It’s a good use of business,” Boyle said. “When parents bring their children to tutoring sessions, it should keep them on Madison for shopping.”
Sylvan currently has more than 1,100 locations nationwide. The closest one to Forest Park is in Oak Park, located at the Rush Behavioral Health Center. According to Bill Tsihlopoulos, who is the director of education at the Oak Park location, tutors who work for Sylvan are certified by the state of Illinois, and are trained by staff members within the company.
In the last year, Sylvan has made several changes to its facilities and curriculum. In addition to updating their look with a more modern interior design, the center now offers online tutoring services. Tsihlopoulos is optimistic about the opening of the new location in Forest Park.
“Right now, because we’re located in a hospital, we don’t have much visibility,” Tsihlopoulos said. “The opening in Forest Park, where there’s more foot traffic, will help put us out there more.”