Photo by Luke Jackson(L-R) Clare Ryan, Cheryl Queen and Donna Stolarczyk lead a staff at Huntington Learning Center in Pasadena that is committed to helping local students succeed academically.
Huntington Learning Center Thrives In Anne Arundel County
For families throughout Anne Arundel County, academic success doesn’t have to be achieved strictly through the schools their children attend.
At Huntington Learning Center in Pasadena, an array of programming is provided for students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, though some pre-K 4-year-olds also participate. Huntington stresses individualized tutoring and attention, which creates a unique learning atmosphere for students.
“What I hear from some of the teachers is that it’s a pleasure being able to work one-on-one with students,” said center director Cheryl Queen. “They get that individualized learning, and they’re able to make an impact on those students sometimes more than in a classroom, where the ratio is about 28-to-1.”
Huntington serves eight of the 12 feeder systems in Anne Arundel County: Old Mill, Chesapeake, Severna Park, Northeast, Broadneck, North County, Annapolis and Glen Burnie high schools.
There are about 50 kids enrolled at Huntington, creating a 4-to-1 or 1-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The students are normally taught in two-hour blocks.
Huntington teaches the core academic subject areas such as math, English, writing, vocabulary, spelling and phonics in its learning center program. The program is led by assistant director Donna Stolarczyk and staffed by certified teachers, who help students grasp the academic skills necessary to success in the classroom.
“Some of these students are getting A’s and B’s for the first time in their whole lives and are so proud of themselves for that,” Queen said of the impact of the learning center program. “When students want us to make a copy of their report card [and] put it in their file, the student sees the value of coming to Huntington and, for me, it’s a really rewarding business.”
Huntington also has programs for exam prep (SAT, ACT, GED, ASVAB and HSPT) and subject tutoring (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, chemistry, physics, pre-calculus and calculus).
These programs are headed by program coordinator Clare Ryan and are staffed by professionals in their field, such as math majors.
The exam prep and subject tutoring programs are mostly attended during the school year, with subject tutors helping students with the material in high school courses as well as homework and test preparation.
Given the competitive academic landscape, exam prep is also vital. Queen said students need an 1800 or better out of 2400 on the SAT to get into a high-end four-year university.
“[Students] and their parents want to get to those goal scores, and we help them to get there so that they end up going into the school of their choice versus the school choosing them,” Queen said.
Queen and her husband, Donald, the vice president of the center, lead a staff that includes two full-time employees in Stolarczyk and Ryan. They also employ 18 part-time teachers for those programs.
“They’re all very committed,” Queen said of her teachers. “They love teaching, and it shows in terms of how they interact with the students. Our teachers are really versatile because Huntington has individualized programs; each student has a different program that teachers have to administer and manage.”
Though Queen spent 35 years in information technology before she and her husband took over Huntington in fall 2014, she has a background in teaching. She was a computer teacher at an American school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 1984 to 1990 – just one stop in her IT career.
Little did Queen know at the time that some 30 years later, she would head a team of teachers that work with students from across Anne Arundel County. “It gave me a good perspective on dealing with people and all different types of people which is … what I do with this job,” Queen said. “There are all different types of people that come in and want the best for their children, so I’m able to understand some of the cultural differences.”
Those interested in finding out more about Huntington Learning Center in Pasadena can call the center at 1-800-CAN-LEARN during office hours. The center is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00am to 8:00pm and Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm.