Business

Kingston Learning Center taps into your inner scholar

Kingston Middle School seventh-grader Raelynn Sheridan studies math under the tutoring of Stephanie Stebbing. The Kingston Learning Center is in the back of the Country Pet Shoppe building and is available by appointment.  - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Kingston Middle School seventh-grader Raelynn Sheridan studies math under the tutoring of Stephanie Stebbing. The Kingston Learning Center is in the back of the Country Pet Shoppe building and is available by appointment.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

KINGSTON — Animals and arithmetic now come together in the back of Kingston’s Country Pet Shoppe.

Stephanie Stebbing, owner of the pet shop, and her husband Mark Stebbing, a seventh grade science teacher at Kingston Middle School, decided to help local students by opening the Kingston Learning Center in the back room of the pet store.

The learning center offers small group tutoring sessions for students of all ages, from elementary school age to those a bit older who are looking to go back to college.

The timing for opening the center couldn’t be more suitable either. “Report cards just came out,” Stebbing said.

Even out-of-practice students who haven’t seen a report card or classroom in decades but want to go back to school and take college courses can acquire guidance and preparatory work at the center.

“It’s perfect for those who are thinking about doing the nursing program at Olympic College and need to go back to school,” she said. “It’s fine if they haven’t opened up a textbook in years or need help with math. Math is the most intimidating.”

Stephanie, who used to tutor about 10 years ago and was a professional educator for four years at Wolfle Elementary, said math is her specialty.

In the learning center room, she holds up a three-dimensional cone and cylinder, explaining mathematical concepts of the shapes’ volumes.

“This way students can actually see and feel what they are learning about,” she said. “What we do here is a basic skills assessment to see where their learning gaps are. Then we target the areas and assess which approach is best for them.”

Stephanie, who remembers what the school days are like, said she looks forward to tutoring again, especially in the math field. “That’s where so many students have a need,” she said.

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Web site, students have the most difficulty passing the math and science portions of statewide tests.

For 10th-graders taking the 2007-2008 school year Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), more than 50 percent of the students failed the math portion of the test and more than 60 percent failed science.

The Kingston Learning Center will also help those looking for help preparing for WASL, SAT or GED tests, offer homeschool support and tips and relaxation classes for those dealing with test anxiety.

“At home, people are very distracted but here students are brought into a learning environment and are able to focus more on the work at hand,” she said.

The Kingston Learning Center, located inside the Country Pet Shoppe building, is located just off Highway 104, just above the downtown core.

Tutors work with groups of two to three students for $25 an hour. Math assessments, which cost $100, are half-price if purchased by the end of December.

For more information contact Stephanie at (360) 536-5689.

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