Scituate natives Adam and Erin Culbert are passionate about teaching, enjoy working with young people, and believe in giving back to their community.
In establishing the South Shore Learning Lab (SSLL), they are able to encompass it all.
Adam said the goal of the SSLL is to provide a broad range of exceptional quality and affordable tutoring services personally tailored to the individual needs of its clients.
“Unlike other educational companies, South Shore Learning Lab is not limited in its scope of service or restricted by a franchised curriculum,” he said. “Rather, as a dedicated tutoring center comprised of experienced professional educators, the learning lab is able to offer specialized instruction in a multitude of areas.”
Adam, a math teacher at the Gates Intermediate School in Scituate, and Erin, an intensive special needs teacher at the early childhood program in the Scituate School District, opened the SSLL in Norwell last summer.
“Since last July, SSLL has provided services to over 100 students in one capacity or another,” Adam said.
He said the learning lab came about “as a natural progression of our teaching.”
“We knew that, aside from ourselves, many teachers were tutoring students beyond the school day and during the summer,” he said. “Most tutoring normally takes place either in a public library or in the student’s home. We wanted to create a dedicated center and professional environment for teachers to work with students without any distractions. We also realized that almost all teachers were tutoring based on word-of-mouth recommendations. Our hope has been that in creating this learning center we have been better able to share these experts with the wider community on the South Shore.”
What differentiates SSLL from other tutoring organizations, Adam said, is the fact that all of their tutors are certified teachers in their respective fields.
“As they are accustomed to doing each day in school, their goal is to tailor their services to the unique needs of each individual student and their family,” he said. “As part of that goal, we believe that the best services are provided through experts: if you need help in Latin, you will be seen by a Latin teacher, physics – a physics teacher, etc.”
Moreover, he said that throughout the year, and especially during the summertime, the expertise provided by these teachers allows them to layout a program for their students and create lessons designed to meet the specific needs of their students.
The concept of SSLL – that there are very few limits to what could be offered from an enrichment standpoint – is what Adam said he likes best.
“Our goal is to provide exceptional enrichment opportunities for all ages, learning levels, grades, etc.,” he said. “We not only offer a full range of academic support including all classes K-12 (and some college level courses), but we also offer specialized sessions for reading and writing, foreign languages, speech and language therapy, social skills classes, study skills and organization, test prep (ISEE, SSAT, SAT, ACT, etc.), and the college essay.”
He said the learning lab has also offered such classes as music and movement, yoga, art adventures, readers theater, literature labs, discovery science and are looking to add more all the time, including adult education and enrichment.
“We have seen students as young as a few months old to students in college,” he said of SSLL clients.
Aside from working with the students himself, Adam said his role is to find the best match between a student and teacher.
“This year, many students have sought tutoring in mathematics and test prep (ISEE, SAT, etc.), although more recently we have been fielding requests for essay writing and history,” he said.
One of his biggest challenges is coordinating everything that goes on at the learning lab, and he points out that he and Erin handle all phone calls and emails themselves.
“It’s a challenge that I enjoy, however, since it allows me to personally connect with each teacher and student, and help facilitate their relationship,” he said.
Adam said he “fell into teaching after college.”
“Amidst following a dream of being a professional musician, I grew to love working as an aide and substitute in my school system while I was also tutoring on the side,” he said. “I really enjoyed being around young people and having an impact on their development, and made the decision that I wanted to pursue a career in education.”
One of his most difficult subjects in school, surprisingly, was math.
“I was always curious about the ‘why’ behind a concept, which sometimes got in the way of me just sticking to the basic algorithms and facts and using them to solve the problem,” he said. “That has helped influence how I approach teaching math today in that I try to teach students as much of the ‘why’ as I can.
The South Shore Learning Lab strives to provide exceptional educational and enriching experiences to students, Adam said.
“While at the same time giving professional educators a dedicated center in which to do what they do best: teach.”
The South Shore Learning Lab is located at 683 Main St., 2nd floor, in Norwell. For more information call 781-659-1555 or visitwww.southshorelearninglab.com. They can also be found on Facebook under South Shore Learning Lab.