PREPWORKS sees education like GPS. Each student is at a different, highly specific location along the path to knowledge. Rather than applying a blanket lesson plan to all students, PREPWORKS —the 2013 Best Educational Software Award winner for "best adaptive test preparation website worldwide" —gives unique directions to each individual that will guide them from their current location to their destination. This is accomplished using hundreds of data points culled from students' responses on quizzes. The software evaluates where an individual's strengths and weaknesses lie, then tailors lessons to the relevant information that will help the student reach the next level.
There are plenty of ways to learn—reading a book, listening to an audio tape, or watching an instructional video, to name a few. Effective as those methods are for some, for others, they are too impersonal. That's where Face to Face Cooking Club comes in. Here, teachers lead enriching cooking classes, sharing with budding chefs the skills needed to cook the cuisine of many international cultures. The club also offers intensive Spanish programs that cover all four language-related skills—writing, speaking, reading, and listening—but focus especially on speaking, which enables students to communicate quickly instead of etching hieroglyphics into the wall.
Facebook is a platform for personal profiles, but at Doral Chamber of Commerce, the team views it as a platform for something else entirely: marketing potential. Dedicated to boosting area business’s profiles—especially via web tools—the center hosts a wide variety of educational programs. Their course on social media, for example, helps business owners keenly navigate Facebook, along with sites such as Twitter and YouTube. Other courses touch on topics such as book marketing and public speaking, an art that requires poise and pyro techniques.
We spoke with Jack Macaluso—Regional Social Media and Web Coordinator at Beauty Schools of America—about how the academies prepare students for careers in the real world and why it's important for the schools to give back to their communities.
On the schools' mission
Above all else, Jack says that the schools "try to focus and harness the students' creativity," while giving them all of the experience and practical skills they need not simply to be prepared to enter the work force, but to succeed and thrive. The relatively lengthy training programs ensure that aspiring stylists, cosmetologists, makeup artists, barbers, and massage therapists fully understand the intricacies of their chosen specialty, as well as what they need to do to continue advancing their future career according to Jack.
On the role of the instructors
With a roster of instructors that includes industry professionals with international spa and salon experience, Beauty Schools of America strives to give attendees a broad view of the numerous options open to them. Jack is also clear that the teachers' guidance isn't limited to classroom environments. When the advanced-level students are allowed hone their talents by performing treatments for actual clients, "an instructor or two will always be there to assist and answer questions," he says.
On the products that the students use during treatments
Students use brand name products like Moroccanoil, Sojourn, Nioxin, and others. Working alongside their instructors at modern service stations, these stylists use these products to craft en vogue cuts, color, styling and therapeutic practices.
On the schools' charitable involvement
Beauty Schools of America embraces opportunities to give back to its communities while providing real-world experience for students at the same time. Jack goes on to describe events where the schools' aspiring barbers and cosmetologists performed complimentary services for underprivileged residents, and he mentions one specific occasion when massage students provided free treatments for community members who participated in a bike ride dedicated to raising awareness about multiple sclerosis.
Education is a highly personalized experience, with children learning at different speeds as they grow. Sometimes, a child needs a little extra attention or help to master a concept, or simply to be successful at completing their homework. Sylvan Learning Center is a personalized tutoring center that creates customized learning programs to help students reach their fullest educational potential, offering settings conducive to one-on-one teaching. Each student is evaluated on their academic abilities, then set on a specialized tutoring program that strives to improve their performance. In addition to assisting school-aged children with building a strong academic foundation, the Center offers a variety of college prep classes and programs.
Florida Nursing Review was created with a single mission: to help nursing students pass the state-mandated NCLEX examination. To accomplish this lofty goal, the organization hired a dedicated team of instructors—all with real-world experience in the field—to zero in on each student's strengths and weaknesses and to share helpful tips for acing the exam. They use a variety of approaches, including one-on-one tutoring, practice exams, and mandatory screenings of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, to help any student make the grade, whether they're taking the test for the first time or the fourth.