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Education center provides chance to hone academic skills


Students seeking tutoring now have another option

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - VERN UYETAKE Math instructor Ryan Hsu works with a pupil.An educational enrichment opportunity just cropped up in Lake Oswego for students who want to improve their grades, boost their college placement test scores or push themselves to their academic utmost.

The Best in Class Education Center opened last month in 1,000 square feet of rented space in a shopping center on 16318 Bryant Road, across from Zupan’s Market. The education center offers mathematics and English classes for preschool to 12th grade as well as private tutoring on topics including SAT prep. There also are test prep programs for tutees who want to qualify for programs for gifted students.

The education center is a chapter of a national education institution. The owners of two Portland locations, the only sites in Oregon, had been considering adding a third location in Lake Oswego for years, and space happened to become available, said Ethan Mei, co-owner of the Lake Oswego location. There already are several students from Lake Oswego who commute to the education center’s Northwest Portland site, one of many reasons Best in Class came to town, Mei said.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The staff includes, from left, manager Ethan Mei, owner Dr. Ming Hsu, and English tutor Alan Hsu.

“Lake Oswego definitely has very high-rated schools, so that is definitely part of it,” he said. “We cater to all types of students, from students who need extra space to grow and develop beyond what’s offered in school and also students who are maybe struggling or a little behind and need extra help to catch up.”

The demand for tutoring is on the rise as budget cuts at public schools lead to the elimination of academic programs, Mei said.

The local Best in Class Education Center has 10 students and two tutors so far. The Southeast Portland location has about 70 students, and the Northwest Portland site has several hundred students. The latter site has grown by about 25 to 50 students annually for the last couple of years, Mei said.

High school students looking for volunteer opportunities also help teach at the education centers, he added.

Best in Class Education Center, formerly called BrainChild Education Center, debuted in Washington in 1995. It now has more than 20 locales spread throughout Oregon, California, Washington and Maryland, Mei said.

Most programs offer a summer camp, and he said that could be coming next year to the Lake Oswego locale.

“Right now, we’re still trying to expand our student base, but we do definitely plan on having that there,” he said.