At a time when routines were off-kilter and normal seemed like a concept of the past, Sara Miller found her calling.
In the early days of the pandemic, Miller, a Severna Park resident and former teacher, sensed the need some families would have to offer their school-aged kids additional support in the newfound era of the virtual classroom. Having worked with students across the academic spectrum over the course of her career, she believed she could help.
“I thought there will be kids who benefit from one-on-one instruction during these challenging times,” Miller said.
What began as a handful of individual tutoring clients has blossomed into Severna Park Tutoring and Educational Advocacy. The business’ first anniversary in its new office on Benfield Road was in March, and two additional tutors have joined the team since.
“It’s been really great. I think it’s been helpful for parents and been a great opportunity for us to help build the skills of kids,” Miller said, adding, “our local schools and our local teachers are wonderful, but all children can benefit from extra individualized instruction, and we’re really happy to be able to provide that.”
Severna Park Tutoring and Educational Advocacy serves students from pre-K, where the major focus is kindergarten readiness and literacy skills, all the way through 12th grade.
While Miller and her team offer help in all subject areas in addition to executive functioning skills such as organization and time management strategies, there’s one skill in particular that pulls at this educator’s heart strings – teaching students to read.
“I had a student this year who I worked with and when she started with me, she didn’t know letters, she didn’t know sounds, and now she can read. She’s a reader!” Miller said through misty eyes. “It’s just an amazing process to see that their skills grow, and along with their skills, their confidence. That’s the best.”
Miller, who has a master’s degree in reading, has channeled her passion for the subject into more than tutoring. This summer, she will offer a book club for students between pre-K and fourth grade. In March, she hosted a National Reading Month event in conjunction with the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council, an event she hopes to grow year after year in an effort to promote literacy and a love of reading.
As for the tutoring center, Miller feels fortunate to have been embraced by the families and the business community in Severna Park.
“We’ve definitely grown a lot, and we’re very, very happy. We would love to continue to grow and help as many students and families in the area that we can,” she said. “A lot of families prioritize education [in Severna Park] and I feel very lucky that we are able to help provide those services to this community.”
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