Driven by her desire to teach children, Brenda Said-Wright started a tutoring company in her mother’s basement during her senior year of college. Her background in special education inspired her to model her business like a school’s resource room in which students receive academic support specific to their needs. Her company, based in Saline, MI, quickly outgrew the basement as word spread and her director of services, Lauree, excelled at helping kids learn to read.
Since its inception in 2000, Great Lakes Education Group has always promoted a positive and nurturing relationship between the tutor and the student in order to treat every child’s specific needs with personalized, multi-faceted one-on-one instruction. Goal setting, reports to parents, and highly detailed notes written after each tutoring session comprise Great Lakes Education Group’s practice. About her approach to leading her company, Brenda explains, “I want to impact positively as many kids as possible. And I have always asked, ‘How can I reach more?’”
This question led her to seek specialized help of her own, and a parent of one of her students helped grow her business to eventually occupy a 3400 square foot facility. Great Lakes Educational Group has since won awards such as ‘Best Tutoring Center for Detroit and Ann Arbor’, and has expanded their offerings to include ACT prep, SAT prep, as well as more academic subjects. Brenda asked the question again, ‘How can I reach more students?’ and ultimately decided to pilot an online program using Trilogy Mentors’ online learning platform.
On March 12th, 2020, when COVID-19 closed everything down in Michigan, Great Lakes Educational Group had been mentoring more than 120 kids in their center several times a week and their transition to using Trilogy’s software allowed them to continue serving those students in a way that aligned with their mission: teaching in a manner best suited to each individual student. Because Great Lakes Educational Group has no fixed program, each child receives a personalized educational plan and the Trilogy Mentors platform allows the tutors to integrate digital resources specific to their students’ needs. Tutors upload their instructional materials to Trilogy’s portfolio feature before a session and can easily utilize those materials during the lesson. Another important consideration is that the platform, being dedicated and secure, only allows the tutor and the student to converse, negating potential problems of outside influences or hackers.
Most importantly for Brenda, using the Trilogy Mentors platform allows her tutors to support and sustain the social and emotional health of every student. Brenda’s team, before jumping into academics, starts each session with a conversation, a student “well-being “check-in.” COVID-19 has interrupted so many routines resulting in so much stress; therefore, as Brenda says, their students’ “desire for normalcy is huge,” and the tutors, in many cases some who’ve worked for years with the same child, can provide a stable routine to mitigate the stress. For the Great Lakes Educational Group’s students, consistency “feels good.” Finally, because the previous in-person tutoring sessions focused on building a closely connected relationship, the jump to online learning using the Trilogy Mentors’ video feature has most closely replicated the superb service Great Lakes Educational Group has always provided.
At some point in the future, normalcy and routine will return for the students of Michigan, and due to the care and concern Brenda and the entire staff of Great Lakes Educational Group have provided for their clients during the pandemic, these children will undoubtedly prosper.