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Learning Center Awaits County Approval

English Skills Center to open in New Hyde Park

Jainy Thomas wants to help village youth. The eight-year resident sees a need for additional learning, specifically English, and is looking to make the corner of Hillside Boulevard and Jericho Turnpike a stronghold for learning via a center recently approved by the village board of trustees.


“I want to try to utilize my educational background with my professional experience to start an English learning center in the Village of New Hyde Park,” says Thomas, a certified K-12 teacher. She likened her idea to Mathnaisum, which is dedicated to tutoring students in math and has nine Long Island locations, including New Hyde Park.


Delivering what Thomas calls “community-based learning,” the proposed English Skills Center at 235 Jericho Turnpike would be open exclusively to high school/college students in New Hyde Park and the surrounding area. 


“It would be a facility to help students particularly at the high school and college level,” Thomas explains. “The program would be specifically just for English for SAT preparation and college writing.”


Parent interest prompted Thomas to look into English tutoring. She said while the location is not large, she’s dreaming bigger. If the need arises, the program could branch out to older age groups. Thomas has been teaching at Nassau Community College since 2009 and previously spent eight years teaching for the City University of New York. 


“Depending on the need, we can expand. I think it would be very beneficial for the students,” says Thomas. “As a college professor, I can say some of the students I have are

weak in their writing because they are not adequately prepared. We want to facilitate more learning.”


The competition from entities like Mathnaisium or Kaplan, an SAT prep course, could prove a potential roadblock. She feels there’s an answer.


“I was going to call it an SAT bootcamp prep course,” Thomas says. “It would be a week or two weeks to help students refresh everything and prepare students who need extra help.”


Fall classes would take place on weekdays, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., with Saturday classes from 10 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. and possibly Sunday classes. Class sizes could total up to 15 students. Three to four instructors would be on staff for the center, but not at one time, according to Thomas. Pricing has not been finalized.


“These would be qualified teachers, not tutors,” she said. “Possibly my colleagues, professors would be there to help.”


The Nassau County Planning Commission is currently reviewing the plan, a move Mayor Robert Lofaro called “standard.” 


“We still need to hear from Nassau County,” he says, adding that he does not expect the county to find any problems. Thomas expects a grand opening in the fall.