Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning’s numerous study centers design custom lesson programs. Based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews, the staff works with students to help them firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chests. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids feel more comfortable in the classroom. Afterschool or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college-admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
At South Chicago Flying Lessons, aspiring aces start the journey towards becoming fully licensed pilots. The process beings with a Discovery Flight, wherein an FAA-certified instructor guides the student on a flight lasting up to 30 minutes. Pupils will take control of the aircraft and 3 minutes and 27 seconds where they get to sing an a cappella version of "Leaving On A Jet Plane." Should the experience spark a desire for status as a serious pilot, the student can enroll in flight school and begin logging hours toward earning their private pilot's license.
The tutors at Lynwood Educational Services Center stick to a set of core beliefs: that education is most possible in an atmosphere of trust and respect, and that an optimistic outlook helps students meet their highest expectations. With this positive attitude in mind, the instructors aid students from third grade through adulthood, imparting their knowledge through one-on-one and small-group sessions. The center chooses its staff from a qualified pool of honor students and licensed teachers.
Located a mere robin's hop from Chicago, Griffith Aviation flight school invites sky-goers to take the controls of a Piper Warrior and soar through the wide open skies of northern Indiana. The Discovery flight kicks off with a preflight inspection, during which pupil and certified flight instructor alike go through a startup checklist to make sure the craft is ready to be airborne without having to ask a cloud for a piggyback ride. After takeoff, students will spend 30–45 minutes in the air slicing through the big blue, taking in aerial views of Crown Point and Cedar Lake, and learning maneuvers including turning, climbing, and descending. The experienced instructor will safely return the plane to the runway, and then host a Q&A session in which students gather answers to such questions as “How long does it take to get an airplane license?” or “How many living sparrows can you fit into the pockets of your pants?"
The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.