By Ashley Mitchell
Owners: Mary and Peter Morrison
Start Date: Nov. 1, 2009
Square Footage: 1,000
Address: 159 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham
Phone: (360) 312-3495
Web site: www.advantagetutoringcenter.com
Throughout her 25 years in the education business, Mary Morrison witnessed many instances when teachers had a full classroom and couldn’t give the proper attention to struggling students.As a result, she has spent the last 10 years researching and working toward opening a tutoring center.
Now as director and owner of the new Advantage Tutoring Center, she has her chance.
Morrison taught in the Lake Washington School District in Bellevue, Wash. before moving to Bellingham with her family in 1996. Her children are home-schooled, but have finally all reached an age where Morrison not only has the time to run a tutoring center, but her children can also receive benefits from the center as well.
Some students need enrichment while others need extra attention; and Advantage Tutoring Center offers both, Morrison said. The center, which is equipped with a staff of six tutors, offers programs ranging from basic homework help to subject-specific enrichment.
Morrison said two things differentiate Advantage Tutoring Center from other tutoring centers: it accepts people of all ages and offers a program known as Expressways To Learning — the only tutoring center in the Northwest to do so.
Expressways To Learning is an individual training program developed by Dr. Jack Hoes and is designed to retrain the brain how to think. The program uses computer-based programs and offers reading, writing, math and vocabulary comprehension. The basis behind Expressways to Learning is to use audio and visual techniques to result in response learning.
The program can help struggling students catch up, average students move ahead, and can even help students with learning disabilities.
“When a student comes [to the tutoring center] struggling with something, this program helps target the cause and teach the brain new ways to learn, rather than repeat what they’re already learning in school,” Morrison said.
Morrison came across this program during her research, and said she felt it used strong and unique techniques. She traveled to the Stilwells Learning Center in Sierra Vista, Ariz., which allowed Morrison to become properly trained and licensed to guide the program on her own.
Advantage Tutoring Center is not a franchise, so it allows the center to tutor and implement any programs the staff deems appropriate and useful. Morrison said she hopes to eventually offer classes, such as children’s animation, and offer scholarship and career-finding programs.