Today for Small Business Saturday, we are featuring a woman and mama owned business that will be such a great resource to us moms – Sylvan Learning of Fulshear. Amanda Cockrum is the owner and local mom of 3 boys. Amanda is a former school teacher whose own children struggled in school, and they attended a Sylvan Learning center and she fell in love. It was instrumental in helping her own children and she knew she wanted to offer that to the Katy community. Sylvan prides themselves on being the best in personalized learning plans. They offer services catered to Pre-K early reading programs, math, reading, writing, ACT/SAT college prep, free DIAG tests, free notary services, as well as STEM Clubs and camps. Her director of education is also a mom and a former teacher of 30 years in Lamar, Katy, and Fort Bend ISD, and brings a wealth of knowledge to Sylvan of Fulshear.
We sat down with Amanda to learn more about her business, how they can help students and parents, what we should do when our child is struggling in school, and she gave a discount code and is offering FREE assessments right now!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
Born and raised in AR along with my husband and moved to Texas 4.5 years ago. I went to the University of Arkansas where I received by Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences
You are a mom! How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have 3 boys, twin boys 15 and a 12 year old boy
When did you open your Sylvan Learning center and what was the inspiration opening this franchise?
I started my company in December 2019, and officially opened my doors in mid August after the exhaustive COVID delays in the new shopping center on the south side of Cross Creek Ranch on FM-1093. I am a former School teacher whose own children struggled in school. We went to Sylvan and fell in love. Started in AR and then attended in Texas. My children felt more comfortable attending Sylvan than they did regular school because there wasn’t as much pressure to perform in front of peers and they could work at their own skill level to fill in learning gaps.
Tell us all about the services your offer Sylvan Learning?
We offer services catered to Pre-K early reading programs, math, reading, writing, ACT/SAT college prep, free DIAG tests, free notary services, as well as STEM Clubs and camps. We pride ourselves on being very best. The data we collect over the child’s length of stay is incredible and we can actually show parents what skills your child is working on and what skills they have mastered or upcoming in their individual learning plan.
Have you always been in education? What did you do before starting your business?
I have not always been in education, upon moving to Texas I received my Teaching Licensure and worked at Huggins Elementary in Fulshear, as well as Arizona Fleming Title 1 school in Fort Bend ISD and then moving to James C. Neill Elementary in 2017.
What makes Sylvan Learning of Fulshear unique in comparison to others supplemental learning centers out there?
Sylvan prides itself on being the best in personalized learning plans. We don’t do worksheets, we use our proprietary SylvanSync program to test and generate a report that lets us know where to start our education lesson instruction for each and every student. We provide ongoing conferences with parents to show what we are learning during instruction and then after every 24 hours of instruction, we do a full assessment again. Our staff hires only certified teachers to work with the students and we also reach out to teachers (given a signed parental waiver) to discuss what they are seeing in the classroom to see how we can best support them and the student in regards to areas of weakness. We have prices that fit into every budget.
What is your favorite part about tutoring youth and helping them advance their education?
Children never stop learning and therefore every child could benefit from some type of tutoring to hone their skills. Whether they are behind or want that extra boost of confidence in their advanced classes there is nothing greater than the feeling knowing you have directly impacted a child’s educational success. The smiles on their faces when they score great on their work here gives them the confidence they need to feel great walking into their school. We never want to see a child struggle.
What is your advice to moms that have kids that are struggling in school?
We suggest coming in for the free assessment the month of November, or at least scheduling for a December test in the month of November so we can offer it for FREE. This assessment gives the parents so much insight into how their child stacks up against other students their age, and grade level from across the nation. There is no obligation to purchase a program but parents can take the data from the assessment and really focus on the skill they have are struggling the most with.
Does being a mom yourself impact how you work with the families/kids that come into your learning center? Have your kids had their own challenges in school or needed extra help?
Being a mother of former Sylvan students I cant tell you how many times my husband and I have agreed that investing in our sons’ education has paid off. I know how overwhelming it can be to reach out for support and I work with anyone and everyone when it comes to being able to afford a program for their child.
Who is your Director of Learning?
Melody McClean is an integral part of Sylvan Learning of Fulshear, she oversees the educational integrity of our programs, as well as manages and trains our team of tutors. Melody is a former teacher of 30 years in Lamar, Katy, and Fort Bend ISD, and brings a wealth of knowledge to Sylvan of Fulshear.
How do you balance being a business owner and mama?
It can be very tough balancing life and work but it is a very rewarding feeling knowing the impact I have left on children and young adults.
Do you experience the dreaded Mom Guilt? If so, how do you handle it?
Of course I do but with my children being a little older it seems more bearable. I am very attached to my boys and although they are only in 9th grade the feeling of knowing they will one day leave my home gets me a little overwhelmed. It makes me sad but at the same time I feel like I have given them the space they need to become successful, respectful, and Godly young men. They may not always make the right choices but my prayer is that they will always know when to make a wrong a right and to always step up and say I was wrong.
Advice for anyone wanting to start their own business.
I believe that anyone wanting to start their own business should definitely do their research and make sure that they have 6 months of savings in the bank. It can sometimes take a business 3 years to really take off and start making a profit. I believe there are so many people out there who are currently and former business owners willing to share their own experiences. My door is always open
Future plans and dreams for your business?
I would like to expand my business in my territory to reach more students and families in rural areas. I am also trying to get AceIT! program for low income families off the ground and into the schools.
Any special, sales, or deals our Katy Moms can look out for?
We are offering 15% off a tutoring program with Code: KATY MOMS free assessments if booked in November and that can be scheduled for either November or December
To learn more about Sylvan Learning of Fulshear:
Contact: 6619 W Cross Creek Bend Ln #100, Fulshear, TX 77441, (832) 685-4046