Sylvan Learning

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Sylvan Learning, Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryEducation, Tutoring
Founded1979; 45 years ago (1979) (as Sylvan Learning Corporation)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
HeadquartersBaltimore, Maryland, U.S.
ParentFranchise Group

Sylvan Learning, Inc. (formerly Sylvan Learning Corporation) consists of franchised and corporate supplemental learning centers which provide personalized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills, homework support, and test preparation for college entrance and state exams. Some centers also offer STEM courses in robotics and coding. Sylvan provides personalized learning programs and primarily serves students in primary and secondary education.


Sylvan Learning began in Portland, Oregon in 1979 at the Sylvan Hill Medical Center Building. It was founded by former school teacher W. Berry Fowler, who had also worked with the educational company The Reading Game. By 1983, Sylvan had dozens of franchises and moved its headquarters to Bellevue, WA. In 1986, having over 500 franchises, Sylvan went public on the NASDAQ exchange and used funds to develop corporate learning centers in key cities. By July 1987, KinderCare, then based in Montgomery, AL, owned the majority of stock and moved the company to Alabama. Most of the staff did not relocate.

In 1991 the company was taken over by R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric and Douglas L. Becker. In 1997 the company had an annual revenues of $246 million, and in addition to tutoring centers, Sylvan had expanded to offer teacher training, computerized testing, distance learning, and other services.[1]

In 2003, Sylvan Learning was purchased by Apollo Management from Sylvan Learning Systems Inc., its parent company.[2][3] (Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. shifted focus to post-secondary education, and to reflect that change was renamed Laureate Education in 2004.)[3] In 2016, John McAuliffe was named as Chief Executive Officer.[4]

Over 28 franchised centers located in multiple states closed between 2008 and 2012, some very suddenly.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Sylvan worked with franchisees to open more centers and planned to open 200 non-franchise locations. [17] Most Sylvan locations utilize a digital learning system called SylvanSync, which provides lessons on tablets with instructors teaching lessons, which become more independent if the student progresses.[18] Sylvan employs standardized assessments to place and monitor students and to evaluate instructors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cavanaugh, Joanne P. (September 1998). "Sylvan's Fast Learners". Johns Hopkins Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  2. ^ Walsh, Mark (19 March 2003). "Sylvan Learning, Changing Focus, Sells K-12 Sector". Education Week. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Sylvan Learning Renamed". New York Times. 18 May 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  4. ^ Learning, Sylvan. "Sylvan Learning Franchise Opportunities | Meet Our Leadership Team". Retrieved 2016-02-12.
  5. ^ Brennan, George (10 May 2008). "Sylvan tutoring centers close". Cape Cod Times. Local Media Group, Inc. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Sylvan Learning centers suddenly close". Wisconsin State Journal. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  7. ^ Hilton, John (16 January 2009). "Dickinson Sylvan Learning Center Closes". The Sentinel The Sentinel. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  8. ^ Cassidy, CJ (20 May 2009). "Sylvan Learning Center closes in Cape Girardeau". KFVS12 News. WorldNow. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  9. ^ Braden, Jonathon (23 January 2013). "Sylvan shuts down tutoring centers". Columbia Daily Tribune. Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  10. ^ Nienaber, Dan (25 August 2009). "Sylvan closing was surprise to some". Mankato Free Press. Mankato Free Press. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Sylvan closing its doors". KTIV4. WorldNow. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Sylvan Closing Outrages Parents, Teachers". The Denver Channel. Scripps TV Station Group. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  13. ^ Flack, Eric (28 December 2011). "Customers of shuttered Sylvan Learning Center will get satisfaction". Wave 3 News. WorldNow. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Learning Center Closes Leaving Some Without Refunds". CBS Minnesota. CBS Local Media. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  15. ^ Dickinson, Christina (11 May 2011). "Sylvan Learning Center closes abruptly". 9 News Colorado. Multimedia Holdings Corporation. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Sylvan to close". Fremont Tribune. Fremont Tribune. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  17. ^ 1851franchise. "Sylvan Learning Expanding its Network Through Growth Incentives for Existing Franchisees". 1851 Franchise Magazine, Franchise News, Information, franchise opportunities. Retrieved 2017-09-28.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ ""Sylvan Learning looks to expand franchise base through new technology"". Retrieved 2017-09-28.


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