Delaware Business Spotlight

Beverly Stewart

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics | Founder and Director | Visit Website

This gorgeous gal is truly inspiring. Beverly is a selfless woman that works hard to
better the lives of her students and help them thrive in their schooling.
She had a dream of reaching every student that she taught;
this led Beverly to found her own 1-on-1 tutoring service.

Tell us how it all started. Why? What’s the story?

Although 1-on-1 tutoring is a widely accepted concept today, this wasn’t true in 1985. I set out to change all that.

As a teacher with a dream of reaching every student, I started a fledlging tutoring service from the kitchen table of my one-bedroom apartment. Careful matching of each student and tutor, combined with 1-on-1 instruction, was completely unique at the time. But, it has been widely imitated since I pioneered this concept as a viable business model.

Since those early days at my kitchen table, I have learned a great deal about education and business. One thing, however, has never changed: my passion for providing a quality education for all students.

What is your biggest success so far?

At Back to Basics, we measure success one student at a time and their successes are ours… from GPA boosts, to dream college acceptances, to successful career changes. We have over 16,500 unique stories!

Throughout the life of our business, however, we have also successfully faced several major challenges, which literally threatened the continuation of the company.

For example, from the very beginning back in 1985, founding Back to Basics meant that I had to leave a stable, already successful career and life. And, although I left the security of full time employment, benefits and housing at Sanford School for the complete unknown, I knew that I had to follow my vision of educating students 1-on-1.

Today, that vision is a reality. Back to Basics offers the largest selection of educational options in the area, employs over 100 tutors, teachers, translators, and interpreters, and provides much-needed educational services to thousands of students each year, from pre-K through adult.

What is the biggest challenge in your industry? What are you doing to deal with that?

As the Recession of 2008/2009 changed the economic landscape for all businesses, the Back to Basics management team understood that to succeed in the new economy, significant changes would have to be made in the business model. The old way of doing business and the existing company culture simply did not work in the new economic reality.

So, when many companies were cutting back on expenditures drastically, we actually opened a second Education Center, which is located on the Independence School campus in Newark, Delaware.

Next, although Back to Basics already worked with individual schools and districts for daytime tutoring and after-school programs, we sought additional, larger-scale contracts. These became a major focus for the company, which continues today.

Plus, Back to Basics increased the number of foreign languages offered (now surpassing 20) and quadrupled the contracts for the translating and interpreting division.

Finally, Back to Basics K-12 Private School took on greater importance. The K-12 Private School offers a completely unique school experience and is Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School, a fact which had long been one of Delaware’s “best kept secrets.”

Today, the culture of change and growth continues. In fact, in recent months, we have added even more new services, such as Professional Development for Educators. By bringing a sincere commitment to quality education to an ever-widening circle of students, we are ensuring a successful future.

What advice would you give to a business owner starting out in your industry that you wish you would have known going in?

Be passionate about your mission and be ready to work more than you’ve ever worked, for the most fulfilling career of your life!

What don't most people realize about you or your company?

Back to Basics K-12 Private School is Delaware’s only Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 private school. The school provides students 1-on-1 instruction and self-esteem building through personal, customized instruction. Students who are not achieving success in other environments, or who have had social difficulties, typically thrive in this setting.

The experienced instructors work as a team to customize and tailor an integrated curriculum to meet the unique needs and abilities of each child. The teaching staff is dedicated to the growth and development of each student academically, socially, mentally and emotionally.

Students remain for one to three consecutive years and then either merge into a traditional school, graduate with a high school diploma, enroll in college, or enter the workforce.

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