December 2016 | Business View Magazine

16 17 “O ne thing we’ve seen with a lot of schools, today, is class spaces getting so large – there are 20 to 30 students in a classroom and many children really need extra help,” says Sharon Peterson, Franchise Director for Best in Class, a Seattle-based franchisor of specialized and remedial learning centers.“Whether they’re extremely gifted and have very lofty educational goals, or they’re very far behind and need help, we want to prepare them for a lifetime of learning. So, our mission is to help children across the United States by providing supplemental education, primarily focusing on mathematics and English.” Originally founded in 1995, by Hao and Lisa Lam, who fled Vietnam’s communist government in the late 1980s, today, there are over 40 Best in Class franchises across the country– ten of which are owned by the Lams, with another 30 owned by other franchisees –60 percent of whom are multiple owners.“Our franchisees come from diverse backgrounds,” says Peterson.“A lot of them come from the corporate world– information technology, marketing, and even sales. But all have a passion for educa- Best in Class Education Center beSt iN cLASS educAtiON ceNter Preparing students for a lifetime of learning tion. They want to help children and make a difference in their communities. About 70 percent are husband and wife teams.” Best in Class children also come from different backgrounds, Peterson explains, and with different educational needs.“When a child first comes to a Best in Class center,we give them an assessment to see where they’re at within our math and English enrichment classes. If they’re gifted and bored in school,we want to challenge them; if they’re really behind–maybe they have a learning disability–that’s when we would probably recom- mend private tutoring.We take every child’s needs into consideration.” The company’s current client base is about 50 percent elementary school students; about 30 percent from middle school; and the remaining 20 percent are high school students.“We get to work with children from the time they’re four years old to the time they’re getting into their dream university,” Peterson states. Peterson believes that the success of the Best in Class model can be attribut- ed mostly to its curriculum.“That’s the reason that we’ve grown across the United States,” she claims.“A lot of our competitors have great marketing campaigns.We want to focus on the curriculum.We have a designated team that is constantly