Huntsville's Sylvan Learning center adds its voice to the more than 900 local learning centers across the country while staying true to its Alabama roots. Led by Cathy Parrill, the tutors work one-on-one with students of all ages and skill levels on homework and test prep. They offer a variety of programs that are customized to suit each individual student's learning needs and skills.
At more than 900 learning centers across the world, Sylvan offers kids a leg up through personalized, one-on-one programs prescribed by an in-depth skills assessment. Students build on past lessons to learn progressively, and sessions may hone in on different disciplines, granting kids the confidence to interpret literature and the rhetorical skills needed to negotiate a later bedtime. The positive mindset of personable, invested instructors helps to inspire kids to greater academic feats, as does a prize program that rewards hard work with CDs and gift cards.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
The Renaissance Center's Gaslight Dinner Theatre, located on the basement level of the Renaissance Center, has been bringing together mouthwatering theatrical productions and first-rate dining for nine years, especially during the steak tartare's triumphant 2003 performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. A ticket ($35) to the Gaslight Dinner Theatre scores you access to the sprawling and savory dinner buffet, which opens at 6:30 p.m. and includes a drink and dessert, as well as intimate seating for the night's performance at 7:30 p.m. All Gaslight Dinner Theatre productions boast a cast of professional actors culled from regional auditions and international hang-gliding tournaments.
AllPencilsDown's classroom and online curriculums are the product of more than 10 years of ACT- and SAT-preparation experience. Founders Laura McDanal and George Mizzell, both graduates of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, created the program after spending years tutoring students in college-exam level writing, grammar, reading, vocabulary, math, and science. Laura, a state-certified teacher with experience working with 11th and 12th graders, knows first hand the difficulties students face when preparing for important tests, and constructs the program's English curriculum to help ease their concerns. George, meanwhile, draws upon his experience as an electrical engineer and teacher to construct science and math courses that bolster students' confidence when approaching complex formulas or plotting the optimal trajectory for a thrown graduation cap.