• 23 September 2019
How Activ8 Learning Center Creates the Best Student Outcomes

How Activ8 Learning Center Creates the Best Student Outcomes

Jun 28, 2019

Winner: Activ8 Learning Center
Runner-up {AC-A-D’AM’IC} K-12 Tutoring

Founded in 2014 by Anna Laboon and joined by Megan Becker in 2018, Activ8 Learning Center has 8 tutors, has served over 387 students and completed 5,600 sessions. They focus on subjects including Language Arts, Math, Science, Executive Functioning, and Spanish.

A special education teacher herself, Anna founded Activ8 because she has two children with special needs and identified a real opportunity to create a center where children could get support while still staying in the mainstream public school setting. Tutors collaborate with teachers and specialists to meet each child’s unique learning needs, employing innovative, whole-brain methods and multi-sensory teaching techniques specifically tailored to children with learning differences.

When it comes to student outcomes, this whole-child approach ensures success. Tutors are trained to recognize when a student might have struggles in addition to their learning differences, like anxiety. As educational advocates, Activ8 can help families secure services available to them through their school district or other resource channels, whether that’s seeking funding for in-home academic services or developing a comprehensive IEP.

Read on to learn more about what set Megan, Anna, and Activ8 Learning Center apart in the minds of our judges!

Why did you start a tutoring business?

I begin Activ8 because I have two children with special needs and I am a special education teacher. I saw a huge need for a center where children like my own could receive support while still keeping them mainstreamed in a public school setting.

What makes your tutoring business unique?

We collaborate with teachers and specialists to ensure that each child's unique learning needs are being met.

Do you use any special or notable tactics or methods when it comes to teaching students?

Depending on the student's needs, we use orton-gillingham and zoophonics, developed to make children strong readers and spellers using “phono” (hearing), “oral” (speaking), “visual” (seeing), “kinesthetic” (moving), and tactile (touching) whole-brain approach. Multi-sensory teaching techniques, wiggle chairs, fidget toys, and body breaks for all students who need a "reset" for their nervous system let them return relaxed and ready to learn.

What role do you think tutoring should play in education?

As tutors, we can offer individualized teaching to support our students' unique learning needs. We are able to offer our students tools that they can take with them to improve learning in the classroom and at home. Tutoring helps build a child's confidence inside and outside of the classroom.

How has your business made an impact on your local community?

We have sponsored events at local schools and for a non-profit Autism by the Sea. We are the only tutoring center in our community that offers a whole child approach to academic support for children with learning differences. We have also helped families secure grants from local non-profit organizations such as TACA and A B Sea who will pay for tutoring services.

Tell us about your student outcomes.

A student of mine came to me about a year ago with an extreme case of dyslexia. I worked with her for an hour per day several days a week and now she can read and is mainstreamed in public school. We use a whole-child approach. Sometimes a child has more than just a learning difference. For example, a child with dyslexia came to us, and we sent her to a therapist who diagnosed her with anxiety. She was treated for her anxiety, which allowed her to come into the center more confident, relaxed, and able to learn. She has made huge strides as a result and is excelling at school.

As an educational advocate, I also work with families to secure services that are available to them through FAPE. I worked with a family who has a child with schizophrenia who was not able to attend school as it was not safe for him or other students. After several meetings with the district, we were able to secure the family hundreds of thousands of dollars of private services in the safety of his own home, paid for by the district.

What are some stories that showcase how you’ve improved test scores or grades among students?

A second grade boy was coming in for writing help starting in January 2019. He was averaging 60% on his Wonders writing tests. After working just once a week for the past four months, he has brought his weekly assessment tests up to an 85% average, which covers reading comprehension and writing. His scores in just the writing portion are averaging 95%.

A sophomore began coming in to Activ8 in January failing nearly all of his classes. He wasn't attending class or completing his homework, causing his grades to be in the 40s. He began coming in 5-7 days a week for 1-1.5 hours a time to stay current on his studies and to go back and complete past due assignments. His confidence has grown exponentially. His attitude and willingness to learn has completely turned around. He has become empowered to make changes and has taken it upon himself to come more frequently and for longer sessions. His grades are starting to turn around. He is no longer failing his classes, and he has potential to turn them around even more before the end of the year.

An un-diagnosed student with autism began attending our center a few years ago. We walked the family through the entire process of having their child assessed, creating goals for an IEP, getting him into social skills groups, pairing him with various therapists for speech, ABA, and OT. At the center, we support him with his academic needs and he looks forward to coming twice a week. This whole-child approach has enabled the child to attend public school and he is thriving both socially and academically.


Congratulations to the team at Activ8 on your accomplishment!