The Times
  • Two New Hartford mothers taking on education business

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  • New Hartford mothers Jennifer Nelson and Beth Soggs are taking education into their own hands.
    In August, the two purchased the local Sylvan Learning Center franchise in Utica and they’ve been working nonstop since.
    “It’s been challenging … but we love it,” said Soggs, center director.
    The center, located at 1 Notre Dame Lane in Utica, offers tutoring and enrichment services for all ages on topics ranging from math to reading skills, SAT to Regents exam preparation.
    Soggs, a local business owner, heard in May that the center was for sale from by longtime owners, Edie and Burt Danovitz, and she contacted Nelson, an English teacher at Rome Free Academy.
    Their takeover came at a time when many students need extra help with the implementation of the new Common Core Curriculum and Regents reform agenda.
    “We’re seeing a huge influx of students who are really struggling with Common Core,” said Soggs, who also is on the New Hartford Central School District school board.
    Students starting at the center are assessed and then a program is built around them, said Nelson, center director of education.
    Those in the beginning reading programs have a two-to-one environment with tutors, while those in other subjects have a maximum of three students to one tutor.
    “There’s just not enough time in the classroom,” Nelson said. “We’re able to fill those gaps. We’re here to support teachers, administrators and school districts.”
    The center also will now use SylvanSync, which uses tablets as a teaching tool not only in the center, but at other locations make tutoring more available to families. The software is specifically geared toward the Common Core.
    The duo has big plans for the center and eventually a satellite location in Rome, said Sylvan Learning Vice President of Franchise Development Scott Hurlock.
    “There’s a new perspective,” he said. “If I had to go out into the marketplace and find two people, of the highest of quality to run a location, I would have found them; they’re phenomenal.”
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