Category Archives: Test Prep

A Parent’s Review of Eye Level Learning Center

School is out and it is time for kids to have fun!  And Kidz Central Station recommends summer classes and camps to keep our kids engaged and recharged.   On many parents’ minds is how to keep “summer slide” at bay.  With our parents’ concerns in mind, we visited Eye Level Learning Center’s location in the East Village.

Eye Level review at Kidz Central Station

What is Eye Level?

Eye Level Learning Centers offer after-school and summer tutoring.  Eye Level follows state standards and provides Math and English instruction to supplement and enhance what our kids learn at school.  Specifically, Basic math covers Numbers, Arithmetic, Measurement, and Equations. Critical math includes Patterns and Relationships, Geometry, Measurement, Problem Solving, and Reasoning.  English focus areas include phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. Learn more at their national website.

One Parent’s Review

Both of my sons attend the Eye Level Learning Center in the East Village. They started in April/May 2018 and have continued this summer after taking June off.  My older son (3rd grader) is competitive and excels at academics and is a bit lazy.  My younger son (1st grader) has a learning delay and ADHD and is an extremely hard worker.  Both enjoy completing tasks and being rewarded for their accomplishments.  Eye Level has been wonderful for both of them!

Assessment

In our first appointment, the kids were given an assessment of both subject areas by the director of this center, Ryan Drucker.  This is a free assessment whether you continue with their services or not. Since I don’t always know what’s happening during the school day, I was happy to gain an understanding of where each one stood in comparison to their grade level and their overall strengths and weaknesses.  

Weekly Classes

We signed on for 6 months (4 tutor hours/month and ~$56/hour).  We attend weekly on Saturday morning so the boys can go together, which is a motivating factor for both of them.  My older son has an hour of English because he placed over a grade level ahead in Math.  The younger one has ½ hour of English and ½ hour of math. The older one sits with an instructor and 1 or 2 other students as the instructor rotates working individually with each student.  Due to his attention difficulty, the younger one has one-on-one instruction throughout the hour.  I has raised my concerns with Ryan and was very happy about the specialized attention.

What I really like is that each lesson is contained in a short booklet that is easily completed during the hour.  Then, homework is a booklet that follows this week’s lessons and is easily completed during the week. The younger son goes through a booklet per subject and then completes two booklets for homework.  The kids feel a real sense of accomplishment from finishing entire booklets.  You see the progress being made.

The space is small but packed with education materials and books and games.  The tutor hours are booked appropriately and we haven’t seen more than 5 kids including my two during our lessons.  Our teachers are very gentle and nice but do expect the kids to listen and work hard. The boys have worked well with them.  They give instructive feedback  at the end of every lesson.  

Most important for the kids, they are rewarded with star cards after each lesson that they can save to earn prizes or cash out immediately for small prizes.  It is amazing how cheap candies and toys can be such a motivation for kids. My boys love their star cards and “shopping” for prizes.

Results

Both of my sons have greatly benefited from Eye Level.  The older one needed the structure and feedback to stay focused.  He has worked on Reading Comprehension, Verbs (action, helping, linking, future tense, irregular) and compound sentences.  He is digging deeper into topics that are glanced over and in some cases not even broached in school. The younger one has developed his reading comprehension skills and grammar, as well as, learning to sit still for an hour. Examples of his lessons include repeating patterns and subtraction drills for Math.  Short vowels, sight words, and story elements for English. We are absolutely pleased with Eye Level!

Benefits of Gifted and Talented Programs

As a NYC parent we have all heard about the Gifted and Talented Programs. The more information we gather the more overwhelming it can be to begin the admissions process for your child. But what are some of the most attractive aspects of the G&T programs? In many cases, the amount of work it takes to get into one of these programs can make parents question if the effort is worth the value. After all, there is technically no official Gifted and Talented curriculum.

Gifted education helps provide options for advanced students and helps students meet their social needs. If you have a gifted child often, a gifted program can help them stay engaged in school. Often times a gifted child in a regular class can face the risk of becoming bored or have trouble engaging socially. After talking to families about their experiences in G&T programs, our education specialists at Bright Kids have found that there are three main incentives for parents to covet Gifted and Talented schools. Firstly, the nature of how the curriculum is presented and administered to the students is a big draw. This aspect coinciding with the peer groups students will encounter in the classroom and the level of rigor in which they are confronted with, are the leading factors in a parent’s desire to for their student to attend and continue to attend a Gifted and Talented school.

Curriculum
What makes the G&T program curriculum unique? Well, there are two different types of New York City Gifted and Talented programs — Citywide and District. As I mentioned, there is no special Gifted and Talented Curriculum in NYC. This is important to keep in mind, because it often means that the quality can vary from program to program. The key facts to remember are that Citywide programs take the standard New York Department of Education curriculum and accelerate it one year. This means that a student entering Kindergarten would begin with the standard first grade curriculum. District programs simply have “enriched” curriculum. This means that the quality of the teachers becomes very important as they are required to account for different learning speeds and styles within the standardized grade-appropriate curriculum. The benefit of this flexible classroom is that if one student is a very advanced reader, but another is not, they will both receive different assignments to accommodate for their varying levels. It also means that most of the students in the class will move at a faster pace than an average classroom. Because of this, students will progress through content much faster and get to more than the standard classroom.

Peer Groups
Another key component of Gifted and Talented programs is the peer group of each classroom. In a general education classroom, student learning levels are often a wide mix. This can cause classrooms to have a slower pace than a gifted education classroom. In some instances, student behavior becomes an issue.

In many instances, gifted children can be prone to tune out learning if they are not challenged or engaged. This increases the risk of social problems or acting out at school. By placing these students in a setting surrounded by other gifted students, they are encouraged to achieve a higher level of success academically. Furthermore, children in G&T programs don’t typically feel the need to hide their giftedness to fit in. Students in such programs often have more confidence and self esteem and have an easier time making friends and socializing. These peer groups create a fair and equal learning environment for students. This helps foster your child’s unique learning abilities to achieve their potential at school, while also helping other students reach their potential.

The process of applying to New York City Gifted and Talented schools can be daunting, but they offer so many educational and social benefits. Bright Kids is here to help you and your family find and gain a seat at the right G&T program for you and your child. Our unique and customizable approach creates a curriculum that is specific to your child’s learning needs. Eliminate added stress and let us help your child.

Learn more at a Bright Kids G&T Open House. RSVP Today.