I am Ellen Nicholas and I am the CEO and owner of Nicholas Learning Associates, Inc., as well as being the main tutor. I retired fairly recently from a school district in Michigan with 18 years of experience in special education classrooms. Working primarily with special needs students, I’ve worked with a wide range of cognitively, emotionally, and physically challenged students, ages 2 to 26. I’ve worked in general education classrooms, self-contained classrooms, and work site based vocational training.
When I moved to California one of the things I noticed is the number of tutoring businesses that will take large amounts of money to guarantee students a better score on their SATs. And the number of students in full-time Special Education classes.
What I didn’t see were people helping those students in between – the learners who struggle with general education, regardless of their “label.” The ones who are trying to just get to the next grade. The students in the gap between high success and special education. Students with Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, Language Processing Disorders…
We started calling that “gap tutoring.” Most of my first students were young people with I.E.P.s (Individualized Education Program) who were also in general education classrooms. Working within the I.E.P, the student, parents, teachers, and tutor can form an association that sets the student up for success. These are the students I love working with.
The more students I worked with, a learning challenge I had not worked with came into my tutoring business…Dyslexia. About one out of five students struggle with some sort of reading and/or spelling issue, and the requests came in…Barton Reading & Spelling System (c). I took on some students who benefit from Barton tutoring and added people with Dyslexia to the list of people I love working with.
I have (and can) also offer the services of a “Junior Associate” – a young person who is great with kids and can work with them on homework help. These students don’t need immediate or formal academic intervention – they just need a little push in the right direction. At a discounted rate, these Junior Associates can help students master classroom objectives.
I opened the doors to Nicholas Learning Associates in September of 2015, and it’s been a great year! I am looking forward to new students, new schedules, new locations…and new friends.