Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Last April Megan and Jake Stroup bought a Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services franchise that serves Carmel, Westfield and Zionsville. Club Z!, an affordable company that has been around for 23 years, has kept up with innovative trends in education by offering online, on-demand homework help as well as 3.5-hour Saturday SAT and ACT boot camps.
At Club Z! tutors come to the students’ home (only when parents are present), which saves moms and dads from having to drive their children to a tutoring center.
“My husband and I are a fun little duo in terms of the backgrounds we bring to the table,” says Megan, noting that Jake is a serial entrepreneur with an incredible business mind, while she has 13 years of social work experience.
“We don’t just look at the educational issues or the health issues but rather the holistic person,” Megan says.
For instance, instead of saying to a student, “Oh, you’re doing poorly in math,” they dig deeper to determine why the struggle exists.
“We’re not there to be therapists, but we want to get to the underlying issue if there is one so that we can advocate for these students,” Megan says.
The Stroups have four children of their own, ranging in age from 3 to 17, so they can relate to the parents of the students they tutor, who are in preschool through college. For example, they know what it’s like to have a child who struggles with executive functioning skills.
“Our daughter is incredibly smart, but her organizational skills are terrible,” Megan says. “She forgets to do homework or does it but neglects to turn it in.”
Fortunately, Club Z! has a proprietary program called “Learning Built to Last” that gives parents tools to help their students improve tasks related to executive functioning and responsibility.
“When we started putting more responsibility on our daughter, that’s when the train fell off the tracks,” Megan says.
The “Learning Built to Last” program not only identifies the type of time management systems the student employs but also determines the student’s learning style.
“This is key because if a child is in a class where their teacher only presents information verbally and they are a visual learner, that could be a block for them,” Megan says. “In that instance, a tutor could back up what the instructor is teaching using the student’s preferred learning style.”
Typically, two different types of parents seek tutoring for their child. The first is the parent who wants their son or daughter to participate in enrichment activities to give them a competitive edge.
“In Hamilton and Boone Counties, that edge is a big deal as students compete for college admission and college scholarships,” Megan says.
Then there are the parents who worry because their child is performing poorly in school. For those children, the first thing Megan’s team does is try to pinpoint the underlying issue. Is it a good teacher fit? Are there peer problems or hormonal changes? Has there been an emotional trauma of some sort?
“It’s much more than an academic conversation,” Megan says.
The amount of time a student is tutored at Club Z! depends on the end goal.
“If a child is failing a subject and you want them to be at an A in a month, we might need to be in your home 12 hours a week to create such magic,” Megan says.
More realistically, to go from a C to an A over the course of a semester would likely require two 1.5-hour sessions a week. For middle school or above, Megan recommends a minimum of a 1.5-hour session for each meeting.
“That’s what it takes to look at current homework and also address any past concepts that may have been missed,” Megan says.
As Club Z! creates a name in the educational world in Hamilton and Boone Counties, they are working with students who want to be there and whose parents see value in what they are doing.
“Plus, we’re seeing lots of success stories,” Megan adds.
For more information, visit clubztutoring.com.