By Deborah Bostock-Kelley

All tutors are not created equal. While some are content helping their students achieve short-term homework goals, KnowledgePoints is all about meeting long-term successes.

A family-owned tutoring business started by businessman Rocky Contreras and wife Monica, elementary school teacher, KnowledgePoints is celebrating 13 years in Land O’Lakes and six years in Trinity, FL.

Catering to all ages of students enrolled in public school, Florida Virtual School, private or charter school, the knowledgeable tutors’ goal is to build a child’s confidence and skills and, by doing so, help him succeed.

Rocky explained that many people think all tutors do the same thing, “homework help” to improve, short-term, and increase a grade in the classroom. 

“We look at that as a Band-Aid long-term. The way they teach in the school system is building skill on skill, one on top of the other, building on what they already know. When you see a child who struggles year after year in the same subject, especially, the issue is not what’s going on in the classroom today. The issue is that the child is missing fundamentals that the teacher is building on with the lesson. When you have these learning gaps, that’s when kids start running into trouble and when you have enough learning gaps, it becomes hard to keep up with what’s coming to them in the classroom daily. They start to slide further and further behind.”

Add in an unprecedented year and a half, and even the most accelerated student may have fallen behind. Educators teaching a hybrid model are overburdened, simultaneously trying to give a sense of normalcy to their students in the classroom and their students learning in a virtual setting. 

“I feel for those teachers. They have a nearly impossible task, and they are working so hard to deliver. What happened last year and this with Covid only exacerbated the issue for struggling students. We’ve got so many kids dealing with this very difficult year. When you look at school stopping and then returning online, or kids in quarantine. The class hasn’t stopped, and they come back and try to catch up. More kids are struggling now than ever before. For the majority of kids, it has been a challenge.”

A floundering student can easily fall in between the cracks. Studies have shown that students have lost six months to a year of math and reading skills during the pandemic on average. 

“Though there needs to be a recharge in the summer, for a lot of kids, this can be a critical time to help them catch up, get back on track, and experience more success next year and beyond.”

Called the Summer Slide, a child loses the achievements, generally two months, he gained during the previous year. When the previous school year has been as unpredictable as 2020-2021, tutoring helps the student to catch up where he has fallen behind. 

During the pandemic, the centers have followed CDC guidelines, including tutoring stations spaced out and separated by plexiglass dividers, regular sanitizing, and sanitizer stations. With the new guidelines announced, masks worn by students and tutors may become optional. 

KnowledgePoints offers tutoring year-round and recommends your child continue tutoring through the summer to keep the information fresh, get ahead of the curve, and prepare your child for the next school year when most, if not all, will be returning to the classroom.  During summer, the student can focus on building up those fundamental skills needed to make the next year a better school year. 

KnowledgePoints addresses the underlying issue that is causing the student’s struggle.

“We use a diagnostic approach to tutoring. Instead of being focused on ‘homework help,’ we start with a diagnostic assessment that uncovers his learning gaps and where his weaknesses are. We design a plan to address those, individual to each student, for what he needs. It’s really attacking those learning gaps and building up a foundation that not only helps the student achieve today but long-term and develop the skills to succeed on their own.” 

The center makes recommendations as to what areas of tutoring would benefit him, and the amount of tutoring depends solely on the child’s individual needs. Unlike many other tutoring services, where it is the same process for everyone, at KnowledgePoints, a plan is custom-developed specifically for your child to address those skill deficits.

The center also provides ACT and SAT preparation services. Now that testing is available during the summer, students can prep and not wait for months to take the exam, risking forgetting everything they studied. 

At KnowledgePoints, learning is stress-free, fun, and rewarding. Students earn success points for giving their best effort, which translates into shopping at Success Central for toys for the younger ones and gift cards for teens.

“Skills and confidence go in hand. Our system is designed to build both. When the kids feel confident and believe in themselves, it just fuels the effort needed to continue building and growing,” said Rocky. “We understand the impact that self-confidence makes, and of course, as parents, we love to see our child’s self-confidence and self-esteem rise. KnowledgePoints equips each student with the tools needed to be successful on his own.”

KnowledgePoints is located at 2201 Collier Parkway, Land of Lakes. Hours of operation for the summer are 9:30 am-7:30 pm Monday through Thursday and 9:30 am to 1:30 pm Friday. For information, call (813) 909-0781 or visit  landolakes.knowledgepoints.com. Rocky has a second KnowledgePoints location in Trinity. For information about KnowledgePoints in Trinity, located at 10720 State Road 54, Suite 110, call (727) 484-6178 or visit trinity.knowledgepoints.com. Affordable payment options are available at both locations.