FAA-certified instructors introduce newcomers to the majesty of flight at Golden Aero LLC with both on-the-ground training and hands-on experience behind the yoke. While learning how to navigate the skies, students can take in the stunning scenery from their lofty vantage points, gazing at the forests that look like toothpicks from overhead and discovering which mountains are balding.
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.
Leona Norman founded Marin Ballet more than 40 years ago, holding classes in her own home. As an internationally trained and acclaimed dancer, Norman hoped to bring the same high-quality teaching she experienced abroad to dancers of all ages in Northern California. At her studio, which has expanded greatly to fill a bright and spacious facility in San Rafael's historic Dominican neighborhood, the current staff pursues the same mission of high-quality dance education under the tutelage of artistic director Cynthia Lucas, who trained under Norman.
The studio now welcomes more than 600 adults and youths per year to hone their fancy footwork with a schedule of more than 100 classes per week. Ballet makes up the majority of Marin’s curriculum, with training programs that start wee ones as young as 3 years old on the path to learning advanced techniques and pointe skills into adulthood. To balance out ballet-heavy schedules, students can enlist in infusion training, which covers such styles as modern dance, Pilates, jazz, flamenco, and West African dance.
The students and their instructors also choreograph and present showcases and performances of such ballet classics as The Nutcracker, the beloved tale in which giant nuts ransack a village and are eventually destroyed by the heroic Nutcracker.
During Simmer and Sear’s themed cooking classes—which won fifth place in SFGate’s 2010 Best of the Bay—chef Anna Hadley unravels the secrets and steps to creating quality cuisine. By combining choice ingredients and time-tested methods, she demonstrates that proper technique and flavor balance can transform any ordinary dish into a culinary delight or beautiful fruit hat. Working out of professional kitchens a variety of locations, including her own home in Nob Hill, as well as nearby loft spaces, converted firehouses, and suburban mansions, classes can include everything from creating swordfish kebabs from Morocco, India, and France, to culinary competitions where students design their own meals from surprise ingredients.
Chef Anna’s work at Simmer and Sear fulfills her decades-long search for the perfect career. After working for 10 years in the highly competitive world of fashion design, she merged her creative whims with her passion for cooking, eventually opening her own business where she helps others unleash their own culinary talents. Her fun, food-focused classes have even earned attention from the New York Times for their popularity among bachelorette parties, as well as other group events such as birthday parties and loosely interpreted square dances.
Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.
To propel students feet-first into the industry, the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking has designed a project-based curriculum that combines traditional classroom study with real-world training. The school's one-year program covers the filmmaking process from start to finish, including independent filmmaking in different genres such as fiction, commercials, documentary, and straight-to-Internet shorts of cats completing three-act emotional arcs without ever leaving their boxes. At the end of the project-based program, each student comes away with more than five completed projects that include a 30-second commercial and an 8- to 12-minute thesis film, plus crewing on an additional 25 or more student films. The school also leads shorter programs and workshops designed for the active student, film enthusiast, or veteran filmmaker. Workshops include one-day, two-week, five-week, and three-month filmmaking courses, and a six-month documentary filmmaking program, though few humans can stay awake for a full six month-long movie.