Ahead of the Curve is a part of our series to help students stay up to date with important news, resources, and tips to propel their educational success.
As a part of this first broadcast, founder Ralston Medouze will be introducing the company and what we do, the resources and services we currently provide (and some information about an upcoming service), and the current news revolving around schools and COVID-19. Read the transcript below:
Hey everyone, Ralston from Strive Academics here. I’m trying something a little bit new with streaming. So for a while I’ve been thinking about doing live streams as a way to help students, parents, families, to help them stay ahead of the curve, which is what we’re calling the segment. And for the longest while I’ve always been passionate about providing resources to students: not just the people that are our clients, but to students at large and keeping them up to date with the tons of different resources out there. So, as that’s been something pretty important to me, I wanted to start this segment. It’s something that’s always been a plan but didn’t quite know exactly how I wanted to do it: either as a podcast or a live stream or something like that. But seeing as there’s constantly information changing in the education space right now, I wanted to just go ahead and dive straight in.
So this is something that I am considering as maybe doing as a weekly, maybe bimonthly segment, but obviously there still a lot of things that I’m tinkering with. So first I just kinda wanted to introduce myself and the business to let you learn a little bit more about who we are as a company. And so my name is Ralston Medouze. I started this company back in 2016 because I saw a need for more private, one-on-one instruction for a lot of students out there. Before that. I tutored for about five years before starting the company and around 2011 and I worked for years as a private tutor, but decided I’ve always been passionate about business and decided to open up my strategies and way of doing things to more of our tutors in our company.
So as Strive Academics, we provide a one on one private in home and online tutoring. Though, obviously as COVID-19 spreads, we’ve been doing a lot more online tutoring. And so if anyone’s checked our blog lately, we’ve advised our tutors and clients alike to instead shift their in person tutoring to online. But once things normalize, again, we do offer private in home sessions as well. So we do both services, and, coming up, were going to be adding on some additional services too, which I’m very excited to tell you a little bit more about, but I’ll get to that a little bit later once I get into more about our resources and the things that I’m planning to introduce in the future as things go on. So, to tell you a little bit more about us, we operate – at least for in-person tutoring – mostly in the Metro Atlanta area.
We have a radius stemming from Midtown out until about as far as Alpharetta, Douglasville, Conyers, and maybe as far down as College Park park or, um, maybe around Morrow if you’re familiar with the area. For online tutoring we can work with anyone in the nation or really anyone around the world if you’re looking for any core subject instruction such as your math, English, science, or if you’re looking for a test prep for things like the ACT and SAT. Outside of that, we can perhaps help you with some things like college prep or so on. But really our sweet spot is helping students who are in middle school and high school. Sometimes we work out side of that range. We’ve had students as young as five years old – around that age – and as old as in their 50s or 60s.
So sometimes we can assist you with (that) instruction, especially if you’re just trying to brush up on a couple of subjects, but that’s really just kind of case by case basis. So the tutors that we bring on are experts in their fields. We do a very rigorous interview process and our tutors go through about four different interviews. First, I have a conversation with them on the phone, see if they’re kind of a good fit looking at the basics: are they able to communicate well with potential clients, what their general resume looks like and background, and then we have a little bit more of an in depth interview. And from that point, if they jump through all the stages of our interview, we’d make sure to run a comprehensive nationwide background check – of course, as I think should be standard procedure for any kind of tutoring company that goes the same for any of our tutors, whether they’re doing in person tutoring, or online as things are right now.
And so we’re pretty rigorous about the people that we bring onto our team and I want to make sure that all of our tutors are really meeting the highest degree of knowledge as well as just customer service in the way that they’re able to work with our clients. You can learn a little bit more about what kind of tutoring subjects we provide. As I mentioned before, it stems from mostly anything from the basics up until high school level for sure in all of the core subjects: things such as your science or chemistry, biology; your math up to pre calculus and calculus of course; English and writing up until the college level and many more subjects in addition to test prep as well. So, as you can see on the bottom here: our website, striveacademics.com/academic-tutoring. You can learn a little bit more about those services of ours.
As I mentioned, kind of at the top. We also provide many educational resources. We’re constantly expanding that list. And one of the big reasons why I started this [company] is because this counts as one of those resources where – in addition to our newsletter, we’re constantly sending out tips to clients and anyone who’s on that newsletter – to help them stay ahead of things. So staying ahead of any news that’s coming up, any important updates regarding tests, anything regarding tips for study habits, for staying up to date on how to approach certain concepts in a variety of subjects to try to really help students in any possible way that they can, whether they’re paying us or not. And so one of those resources, something that we’re constantly building out, is our worksheet database. So this particular database, you do have to pay for it unless you are one of our clients, in which case it’s available to you for free. But we have worksheets ranging from free for some, going all the way up to a few bucks. But for the most part, a lot of our worksheets are one or two dollars. Helps you really stay on top of a variety of concepts, ranging from math to Latin and helps you stay ahead really master those skills that students have been working on in class, further and beyond so that they can do better in the future. And for the clients that work with us, we work with clients in many ways, but usually it’s a one on one basis and which we’re usually either traveling to the house or doing kind of a zoom meeting or some sort of virtual session. Of course, all of our sessions are backed by our guarantee, which you can learn more at the link below.
Our guarantee: basically, we want to make sure that you have a great fit with our tutor. And so the way it basically works with that when a new client comes to us, we have a conversation with them about all of the important details: what kind of help they’re needing, what kind of challenges they’ve seen in their past, what availability they have as well as, you know, even if it comes down to personality fit – who might be a good fit for them in particular. And so we take all of those factors into consideration when we’re matching one of our clients with our tutors, and I’d say probably in the past three years or so, we’ve only gotten requests to change a tutor maybe three times. So it’s very rare that once we make that match that a client’s wants to change out and work with someone differently.
But that’s all kind of backed by our guarantee. And so when ever you’re matched with one of our tutors, if you say it’s not a good fit for whatever reason, maybe if the personalities just don’t mesh all that well, you can just reach back out to us and we’ll ask a couple more follow ups so that we can create a better match for you, and it’s really seamless. Typically takes about a day to match or rematch you with one of our tutors and you just get in contact with them and from there just reschedule and figure out what works for you. But our tutors are all really flexible. We typically work with anyone from college students up into professionals and a lot of our tutors have PhDs or their teaching certificates. So they’re really well versed. And what’s even more important to us is their ability to communicate the subjects in the most effective way possible.
And so for the tutors that we bring onto our team, they’re really good at taking those minute details and compressing it into a format that makes sense to most students instead of hitting you with a bunch of jargon. We really tried to simplify things, you know, as, as you work through sessions. And so we’ve really made sure not only that our tutors are very knowledgeable, but they’re able to communicate the information effectively to your student and able to really get down to the details. You can learn a little bit more about our tutors on the link on the screen: that’s striveacademics.com/atlanta-tutors. Currently, we have about eight or nine tutors around the Metro Atlanta area and beyond: some that can work with you in person and some who will be able to work with you online in a variety of areas.
But I wanted to go into that second reason that I started this live broadcast, and that’s to give you some updates. What’s going on since COVID-19 has been spreading; a lot of things have changed. At first, the schools were kind of waiting and seeing until they got a further directive from governor Brian Kemp, at least here in Georgia. But as we’ve seen, a lot of schools in many states have taken the initiative to close down for the short time and some even further beyond that. So at least for Georgia schools, I believe it was yesterday, the governor just declared that at least for the public schools, they will be closed until April 24th and, beyond that, many private schools are opting to switch to closing during this time. Some schools are still figuring it out – perhaps they didn’t have a online solution in place at the time when things started getting really bad. Most schools, at least around the Metro Atlanta area, have figured out some sort of solution.
And so many students are still doing some kind of instruction whether their teacher is assigning them work virtually through a digital classroom, some students are having to hop on Zoom or Google Hangouts or some other platform for actual (scheduled) classes and they’re doing the instruction that way. Regardless of the way that students are receiving their education, we’re really concerned about students falling behind. Especially as things get pushed out further and further, hopefully we won’t have to deal with the spreading virus for much longer, but as things stand, the dates still are getting pushed out. So it’s very important to at least be maintaining what knowledge that we have because we know it’s a common issue, especially over the summer. When there’s not consistent instruction, students tend to just lose some of the information that they learn in classes. So, that’s something that I’ve been worried about, especially as the postponement goes on longer, especially for those students that don’t have the regular online instruction online, whether it’s tutoring or working with a teacher or if parents aren’t able to do some sort of homeschooling. Whatever it is.
We’ve got to get the instruction in there some way. For many students, a lot of our clients have been reaching out and trying to increase sessions. So we’ve been taking over some of that roles where it hasn’t exactly been possible to stay on top of all of the additional work and adjust to everything as students are switching online. So we definitely can help with that in some ways: helping students adjust to whatever online platform that they’re doing, adjust to having to really be more autonomous than being able to have that more one on one attention or at least the in-person attention that they would usually get from a teacher because not every student is able to get that now that things have switched online depending on however the teacher or however their school is approaching that. And so that’s something that we definitely want to keep aware of in the future.
I’ll be posting some resources for the next video as to how students can really continue their instruction. I’m currently working on a list of educational resources that is either offered for free or for, you know, a very low cost, and I’ll want to share that with you in the next video. But, just before I wrap things up, I wanted to share a couple of updates about test prep. So a lot of our clients see us for ACT and SAT. So just a few updates about that: as of right now, the ACT just rescheduled their April 4th test to June 13th. So as far as we know, the tests for June haven’t been postponed or canceled. ACT has moved their April test out to the June date. For the SAT, they have canceled their May test as well and the March makeup exams, which were scheduled to happen tomorrow, which would be March 28th, those have been canceled. There’s no current update about that, but the closest date coming up is June 6th for the SAT. So far that is not yet canceled. Both of the organizations are keeping their eye on that and so are we as well. So as things update, I’ll make sure to keep you informed of that.
And just before we go, I wanted to share a resource. This is something that I plan to do pretty much with every video and every stream that we do. Every time, as I’ve been kind of looking around for all of these resources, every now and then I come across things like scholarships, tools and so on that can be really helpful for students. So I’m going to share my screen real quick. As I was looking for updates from the ACT, I ran across this cool little gem kind of halfway down their site.
The ACT has a scholarship giveaway and it’s really cool. From the looks of it, they’re giving away a $15,000 scholarship with a $5,000 technology package to 14 students during the school year. It’s eligible to sophomores, juniors and seniors who register for the ACT test and between…it looks like September of last year up until the June date, which is still happening as far as we know. So when you schedule for those, you’re automatically entered to win I believe. You can see more information on their website at act.org. This is just the homepage and just grow halfway down and click on the scholarship give away or register for the test to learn a little bit more information. So that’s it for today. We’re going to wrap things up there and for next time, like I said, we will talk a little bit more about the educational resources that are available out there for students to use, not only during this time but into the future as well.
But a lot of educational organizations are offering some of their resources for free and offering classes online during the interim for all sorts of things, not only just the core subjects but for test prep as well like AP exams. I know the ACT and College Board are doing something with that as well. So stay tuned for next time if you’re interested to learn more about our company or the resources that we provide when starting to are in the description below. So feel free to get in touch with us. We’d also love to do Q and As as I run this on a weekly or bimonthly basis. So feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] We’d love to hear from you. Stay tuned for the next time.