Beyond Summer School


The Best Time to Improve Your Grades is When School is Not in Session

by Liza Long, photos by Mark Dyrud

While most students can’t wait for the final bell that signals the start of summer vacation, many parents worry about how to keep their children’s minds active during the long break. That concern can be based on real-life consequences. According to the National Summer Learning Association, students tend to score worse on standardized tests after summer vacation than they do at the beginning of the summer. In fact, most students lose the equivalent of two months of math knowledge over summer break and may lose reading ability as well.

Fortunately, there’s a solution for parents who want their children to keep learning all year long. Huntington Learning Center, conveniently located at Bown Crossing in East Boise, offers individually tailored tutoring to meet every student’s academic needs.

“Summer is actually one of our busiest times of year,” Huffington Learning Center director Jennifer Hovey told me when I visited the center, a welcoming, spacious room with private tutoring areas.

When Hovey had the opportunity to take over operations at the Bown Crossing Huntington location three years ago, she didn’t hesitate—she knew it was the right thing to do.

Huntington offers test-prep courses for the ACT and SAT standardized tests that high school students need for college admission. Many colleges also use these tests to determine eligibility for academic scholarships. Hovey’s oldest daughter, a 4.0 student and track athlete who wanted to attend Emory University, earned a solid score on her ACT, but it wasn’t high enough to translate into admission to her chosen school.

“I didn’t realize how high-stakes those tests were until it affected my daughter,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help students reach their goals, because it was personal for our family.”

Now, Hovey has also come to appreciate the individualized tutoring her center provides to students from kindergarten through college prep. “Our learning center kids have really captured my heart,” she said as she shared some achievements students had made.

With 40 years of experience in education, Huntington has developed a four-step approach that builds student confidence, while improving study habits and organizational skills, often translating into improved grades and test scores. They even have strategies to help students diagnosed with learning disabilities, including ADHD and executive functioning deficits, students who might fall behind in the more rigid public school climate.

“Think of it as having a personal academic trainer,” Hovey told me.

The process starts with a comprehensive academic evaluation to identify your child’s strengths and areas of opportunity. Each plan is personalized to the individual student. Students work one on one with tutors to improve their math, reading, and study skills. Some students have seen their abilities increase by two or more grade levels in as little as three months. Huntington tutors all have a minimum of a four-year college degree and are certified and accredited to work with students from elementary school through high school. Many of them also teach in public and private school classrooms. And yes, they know all about Common Core.

This year, while the other kids are lounging at the pool or playing video games or making crafts at summer camp, your child can say, “I learned all summer long—and I loved every minute of it.”

For more information: Bown Crossing Huntington Learning Center (208) 331-9021 or