Closed doors at local tutoring center leaves families looking for answers elsewhere

By: Ashley Prchal Email
By: Ashley Prchal Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Students behind in school used to have the option of turning to Sylvan Learning Center for help with their studies, but that's no longer an option now that the local tutoring center has closed its doors.

"Our son was one of the kids that was kind of pushed through the system and he just kept getting further and further behind," says Tamela Spelts, mother of former Sylvan student.

Tamela and her husband Brad were concerned their now 13-year-old son, Layden, would never catch up in school.

"And we were always told well, he'll catch up, we'll get him there and he never did," says Tamela.

So the Spelts decided to call Sylvan Learning Center. That was two years ago. "It's just made him happy to be able to go there and get that one on one support he needed," Tamela says.

But in December, the learning center that had helped their son closed, and he suffered from it.

"The math teacher in particular had said that he had noticed a difference when Sylvan had closed and he wasn't paying attention to his work as much," says Brad.

David Durham and his wife opened the learning center 16 years ago. "We started the business for our son, because he needed the help Sylvan could provide," says Durham.

Durham says the Sylvan system is the reason his son graduated from college and why hundreds of kids have excelled in school. But while it was a business the Durham's loved, it wasn't profitable.

"We just couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel," says Durham.

Now that the only learning center in the Grand Valley has shut down, parents and students are wondering where to go for help.

"Sylvan was a valuable partner for the District. It was a place we could refer parents to, to receive some additional instructional help. And so we have to look for creative ways to support that even more," says Jeff Kirtland, District 51 spokesperson.

Kirtland says if your child needs extra help in school, talk to their teachers and principal first. He says every school in the District has learning centers or intervention programs that can help.

'It's part of the day. It's designed around the curriculum and it's really there to support students," says Kirtland.

For the Spelts, they think it's unfortunate Sylvan had to close. "It's very disappointing. A lot of kids need their help," says Tamela.

But they hope Layden will pull through with the help from his teachers and a tutor.

Durham says his center isn't the only one that's closed. Sylvan's across the nation are being shut down because of the economy.

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