This year, leading supplemental education franchise Sylvan Learning hit its 40th year in business and with the opening of its Gillette, Wyoming center in February, officially has presence in all 50 states. The standout education franchise has enjoyed impressive growth and success thanks to its robust curriculum that incorporates STEM. learning, innovative technology and certified tutors. In honor of such a momentous achievement and storied career, Sylvan franchisees nationwide will be celebrating throughout 2019 with diverse events.
Amy Przywara, Chief Marketing Officer for Sylvan Learning, has been with the brand for nearly 17 years. When asked to what she attributes Sylvan’s longevity, she emphasized the brand’s commitment to innovation in the interest of students.
“Staying a leader means knowing when you need to evolve as opposed to just hanging on to what’s made you successful,” Przywara said. “We always look at how we can be better and grow, not just against the competition but against ourselves. Our model really works and we’ve helped millions of kids—we see the success stories daily—but that hasn’t precluded us from asking, ‘How can we do more?’ We always put the kids first. If it’s successful for the kids in our centers, then it’s successful for our business.”
Sylvan has taken numerous steps to expand its footprint and consistently improve its offering.
“The needs of kids are more relevant today than ever and we’ve met those needs by continuing to evolve,” Przywara explained. “So the fact that we’re expanding into more rural communities; that we’ve built technology to enrich the curriculum; that we’ve been around for 40 years—that all speaks to our continued commitment to provide the best possible supplemental education experience to our students and their families.”
Przywara highlighted the SylvanSync system, an iPad-based teaching platform that promotes student engagement thanks to an interactive design as an example of the brand’s continued innovation in the interest of its students.
“We’re using a digital instruction method to streamline the teaching and tracking processes, to keep students engaged and to keep them savvy about the latest technology so that they’re well-positioned for success as they move through school and their career,” Przywara said.
Ultimately, Przywara emphasized, it’s not about being an industry leader for the sake of competition; it’s about being authentic and deeply invested in the welfare and success of students nationwide.
“Our 40th anniversary is such an exciting time because it allows us to celebrate the real people whose dedication to student learning helped make this brand a success,” Przywara said. “We also want to make sure we provide a space for parent engagement, because parents’ commitment to their children is at the heart of our brand and in everything we do. We want a space where we can give back to those who have given so much to us.”
To that end, Sylvan rolled out the Sylvan Nation platform last fall. The platform serves as an educational resource and community forum for parents and educators and has a points program that rewards its members’ involvement in their child’s education.
It is in the spirit of celebrating the real people behind Sylvan’s success that franchisees across the system are preparing their 40th anniversary festivities. Empowered by executive leadership to develop and deploy anniversary celebrations in the way they feel is best aligned to their community, Sylvan franchisees have planned a wide variety of events. To name just a few: beginning early May, Sylvan Learning of Chino, CA will offer $40 tests and four free tutoring hours when 40 hours are purchased; Sylvan Learning of Wichita, KS will host a 40th Anniversary Open House event complete with a bounce house, raffle and treats; and Sylvan Learning of Chula Vista, CA will offer a free family event around the theme “Children’s Opportunities, Our Responsibilities” which will feature over 100 informational and interactive booths, as well as entertainment and a magic show.
Kristen Fisher is the Center Director of Sylvan Learning of Springfield, MO. She shared that her center’s 40th anniversary celebrations are especially near and dear to her, as 2019 also marks her 20th year with the supplemental education brand.
“I just bought the franchise on March 29 from the former owner. I’ve been with this center for 20 years and served as the director for 10, then last month I became the franchise owner,” Fisher said. “It’s surreal because this year is the brand’s 40th anniversary and it’s my 20th. I’m going to be doing a Grand Re-Opening party here May 20, and then hosting our 40th Anniversary Bash on July 25.”
Fisher shared that she will have a live remote from a local radio station in attendance at both the grand re-opening and the summer party. She’s in the process of sending out email campaigns and offering promotions on social media. Not only an advocate of student wellness, Fisher is also devoted to dog rescue and hopes that both of her passions will be represented at the 40th anniversary event.
“I’m hoping to support local community through hosting a local dog rescue here for at least one event, hopefully both [the re-opening and 40th anniversary events],” Fisher said, adding that her festivities will include food, giveaways, prizes and entertainment. She shared that she is excited to host the celebrations because she herself has always felt celebrated by Sylvan as a brand and franchise system.
“It’s one of those places you can always come back to. It’s like a family,” Fisher said. “It’s so nice to have that connectivity and openness.”
Celebrating students and their families while maintaining a people-focused culture? Sounds like Sylvan Learning will be around for another 40 years, and then some.