We have been very busy this year. It’s almost too exhausting to keep up. I apologize to many that have been calling for details but you have to understand that I am one person and cannot possibly make hundreds of calls a day to answer every question. It is always best to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
The results are in and we had an outstanding group of teachers this year. I applaud them all and wish to thank them as many parents have called and written emails to thank them too! Over 98% of our clients scored above 90 and about 94% scored 98 or higher. The teachers engaged the children and made it fun with our games; we refined the curriculum and made it second to none – the curriculum is the main point I want to emphasize because you can have the best teacher in the world and she/he can have administered 100’s of OLSAT tests but without the right curriculum and the experience in explaining it to the child in the correct manner, then it does not matter how many hours you spend practicing it or practice tests.
CURRICULUM: I contacted a few providers of materials this last year, like the woman who makes KTSS and another group, Junior Test Prep (started by a woman, Ms. Lata Sasson, that used to be an ad sales person for the jewelry market) to see about a collaboration on their materials. I offered to improve the materials to make them more like the test – adding my own BSRA test prep booklet – and then to promote them. You see, Darwin once said the species that learns to collaborate is usually the most successful. Both groups responded positively at first but then KTSS did not want to make the improved materials exclusive to Manhattan Edge clients, but wanted to allow other tutoring companies to use them. I am not in the habit of giving away years of knowledge to unknown entities. The “Junior Test” group dropped out when I said I would actually have to look their materials over to be able to determine how we might improve them. I eventually saw the materials from a few parents that asked our teachers to use them for practice. I can now understand their hesitance to let me take a peek. I make reference to this because so many groups have put materials on the market for K test prep, parents must understand they all cannot be entirely accurate . Some of them are very inventive, but are not like the tests. If their website cannot even mention the names (who they are) or why they “think” they have any knowledge about the testing, then why would anyone buy from them? Some advertise they have a board of advisors that are educational experts and teachers but none of them wants to put his name to it. I also have to say that I am appalled by their audacity. Charging $299 to $500 for ERB test prep materials looks like price gouging to me. Sure, parents with means will think nothing of it but if you are on a budget you are paying 5 – 10 times the true value for what you are getting. I will be honest, I am looking into publishing my own materials and the only reason I haven’t already is because these and other groups are sure to copy me.
The others have average results at best.
Which brings me to the Otterman article in the New York Times on April 30, 2010 (see link below ) … and the average results published there by one group … clearly having 200 clients, if that is even true, works against you. We do not carry more than 70 – 100. Experience has taught us it does not work if you cannot control the quality. Every November we get over 200 requests and we have to apologize to over half of them for not being able to meet their request. This business is not scalable to make a profit on large numbers. It cannot be done, its impossible – you have to do it because you enjoy working with children, not to make money. Anyone getting involved because they think the numbers can add up are sorely wrong! I even wonder sometimes how long I can last.
Be sure to read the comments of that link, especially # 57 … I wish I had the money to blow on a publicist, it clearly gets your name in the newspaper and maybe on CNN too. But clearly all the money spent on a publicist does not make you even better than average.
INTERNET : You cannot believe everything you read on Urban Baby. I would wholeheartedly welcome the requirement of adding your name to every posting. We cannot believe some of the comments attributed to our organization as SPAM or even the occasional parent claiming to have used us and bashing us. I know every parent complaint and deal with them personally. When you have 100 clients, one or two problems are bound to emerge and it usually involves scheduling conflicts. I am reminded of a friend who moved last year with local movers that charged three times the estimate, damaged almost everything and held their flat screen TV on the truck ransom until they paid the jacked-up fees. The fees by the way were by the hour and the movers deliberately took their time, including a 2 hour dinner break when they disappeared entirely. The reason I bring them up as an example is when I asked my friend how they found this mover I was told, “through the internet.” I was told they looked this company up on the internet and there were a hundred positive comments about them, in fact almost one comment every day. I had to laugh, customers do not go out of their way to write positive things about movers or any other company. Who has time when you are busy unpacking or doing whatever? My friend made it a point to go back to the same internet and put his experience online – the only negative comment out of 101.
I have more to share on the New York Times articles about OLSAT testing from November but will leave it to some other time.
Stay Motivated and I hope you and your family enjoy the Summer Weather!