Two Tosa tutoring businesses opening soon

Oct. 13, 2010

Parents looking for help with their kids' education now have two new places to turn in Wauwatosa.

Two new tutoring businesses plan to open their doors along North Avenue in the coming weeks - the Arbor Collaboration for Education and a regional Kumon Learning Center.

Arbor Collaboration for Education

Alia Ashley, whose plans to open the Arbor Collaboration for Education were approved by the Plan Commission on Monday, is a longtime public school teacher who was looking for a way to reach kids who might be struggling.

"The whole idea came from working in public school system and seeing students not getting all the help that they need," Ashley said.

Ashley started tutoring students after school when she was still a teacher and began tutoring out of her home in 2007. However, Ashley has young children now, which prompted her to find the new location since her kids "do not lend to a productive study environment," she said with a laugh.

Ashley primarily works with third- through 10th-graders, most of whom request help in math. She said her husband steps in to help older students - high school juniors and seniors - with subjects like calculus.

Ashley said she gets most of her clients by word of mouth, but the number of referrals from parents and teachers "really picked up much quicker than expected," so she decided to open a business outside her home.


Wauwatosa's Kumon Learning Center, expected to open the last week of October, will be the latest addition to the international after-school math and reading program, which already boasts locations in Brookfield, New Berlin and Menomonee Falls.

Founded in Japan in 1958, Kumon takes an individualized approach to teaching math and reading by putting a daily focus on those subjects. There are more than 26,000 Kumon centers worldwide.

Dennis Wanless, one of the three certified instructors at Wauwatosa's Kumon center, said the program is designed for any student from age 3 to high school, but typical students are anywhere from 6 to 14 years old.

The program is designed to develop college-level math and reading skills in students before they reach high school, said Wanless, who has taught at the elementary school level as well as at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

"It's a stress-free learning environment, and it's intended to share the joy of learning," he said. "They're assured of success, and they have fun doing it."

Even though students come into the center just two days a week, students set aside 15 to 20 minutes every day so they can complete worksheets or other assignments when they're not at Kumon sessions, Wanless said.

"Kids go from 'I hate school' or 'I hate math' to 'I like school. Math is fun,' " Wanless said. "The difference is because they're succeeding."

Parents interested in Kumon can attend a parent orientation meeting to learn more about the center, Wanless said.


The Arbor Collaboration for Education

ADDRESS: 6410 W. North Ave.

PHONE: (414) 630-7191

Kumon Learning Center

ADDRESS: 11520 W. North Ave.

HOURS: 3 to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday

PHONE: (414) 727-4499



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