GradePower Learning

Grade Power

GradePower Learning wants to activate the minds of children to help them succeed.

By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media

When a tutor visits a child at their home, they may learn new skills, but they do not do it in a setting similar to a classroom. “When children are in their own environment, that is an advantage to the child, but not necessarily an advantage to their learning,” Lenka Whitehead says.

Whitehead, who is the president of GradePower Learning, says in home sessions do not always transfer well to the classroom, which is a busy, noisy environment with a lot of distractions. “Our goal is to teach skills to our students that will allow them to learn, concentrate and pay attention in the classroom.”

GradePower Learning HQ, based in London, Ontario, Canada, help students of all ages improve their cognitive skills, along with academics, with customized learning programs in environments that are similar to the classroom. Whitehead’s husband, Nick, founded the company 34 years ago as Oxford Learning Centres, the largest supplemental education provider in Canada, helping thousands of students each year develop their learning potential and confidence.

Nick Whitehead, as a young student realized that not every student learns the same way. He was very frustrated with how he was taught and saw shortfalls in public education with overloaded classrooms, lack of available learning material and felt the frustration of his teachers, who clearly did not have the time to help each and every student. Nick wanted to create a system that would allow children with different learning styles succeed.  “He realized that teaching kids thinking and learning skills was essential to school success and to life,” Lenka Whitehead recalls.

After the company experienced success in Canada, the natural progress and desire to help students succeed took the GradePower name and its locations stateside. Today, “Both Oxford and GradePower utilize the same backbone in terms of our curriculum,” Director of Franchise Sales and Development Richard Luna says.

Unlike some of its competitors, he notes, “GradePower offers a full curriculum, which gives its franchisees the advantage of multiple revenue streams. GPL looks for those who are interested in building an asset; franchisees that do care and want to give back. Franchisees that want to make a difference in their community,” he says.

The Basis of Success

In GradePower’s system, students are assessed and then put on individualized programs that are taught in center locations.  Students work in small groups or individually with a coach. GPL uses interactive coaching methods proprietary to the franchise. “We’re communicating with them, we’re verbalizing with them and we’re getting them to think,” Whitehead says.

“Naturally, they also are learning from one another, because every child is at a different level,” she continues, adding that the system teaches learning confidence to kids who struggle in various areas, including math and reading comprehension but is not limited to remedial needs. “We also work with many enrichment students who are focused on getting higher marks and or SAT/ACT scores to get into colleges or universities of their choice.” 

GradePower also conducts individual assessments of a child’s capacity to learn. When parents call the company, they often know that there is an issue with their children, but do not know what exactly it is.

The company helps them determine that. “We look at so many things when we test them,” Whitehead says, explaining that GradePower will examine the child’s auditory and visual strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they process information and pay attention. “Our teachers teach them skills to overcome those weaknesses.”

One approach that GradePower uses to teach children is metacognition, which helps them learn to remember new information and apply it in a classroom setting. “Most kids don’t listen effectively, so we teach them listening skills,” she says.

“There is a difference between remembering and memorizing,” Whitehead asserts. “We teach them how to remember information and how to organize that information in a sequence that makes sense.”

Another important area of focus for GradePower is language. “If you have a good command of the language, you can think better and as a result of that, you can communicate better,” she says. “But if you are using words such as ‘like’ all the time, they are fillers for the actual word. We work on improving vocabulary with our students.”

The programs, she adds, can be taught to children from preschool all the way to college students. For example, “We have a program that teaches little ones from the age of three to read, write and even math skills,” she says, noting that some can even learn a second language at that age. 

“We help our students build a strong foundation in the basics and really strong thinking and learning skills,” Whitehead says. “Our little readers do very well as they move on to the elementary learning programs.”

But GradePower’s services do not end with the students. “Our franchisees work with teachers within their communities to help them better understand the students needs,” Luna adds

Strong Support

GradePower backs its franchisees with its support team that includes associates who have previously worked in its centers. “They understand what franchisees are going through, and they understand what needs to be done,” Whitehead says.

The company also gives them such tools as its award-winning marketing system and a digital platform. “It’s a fully developed system that allows them to focus on what their passion is – [which is usually] help kids achieve the best result they can,” she says.

Building a Base

Today, GradePower has 30 locations in the United States, with the largest concentration in Texas and Florida. Going forward, Whitehead says, the company is focused on growing in the areas where it already has a presence, as well as educating the public on what is available for their children.

“We teach our students better thinking and learning skills. The results speak for themselves; students get better marks in all subject areas. Our goal is to activate their minds to succeed,” Whitehead says. “Currently we are concentrated in certain states, which will allow us to build a significant base and name recognition. This growth strategy allows us to both help the kids in those communities and grow successful franchises,” Luna says.

 

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