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News Press

Waltham Daily News Tribune

StudySmart Makes the Grade

By Matt Perkins 8/8/07

Richard Enos had hoped that his at-home tutoring company would one day make a mark on the educational map, but recent expansion throughout the country has exceeded even his original ambitions.

“It's bigger now than we first imagined it would be, but there's a tremendous amount of potential still,” said Enos, 31, a Waltham resident who co-founded StudySmart, Inc. in 1999. “We had hoped, we certainly thought there was a lot of potential.”

StudySmart, which recently moved from Watertown to Stoneham, focuses on one-on-one standardized test preparation and academic tutoring for students in kindergarten through high school. Instructors of the company, all professional educators or tutors, either visit students in their homes or at school.

“There's so much pressure on kids in school today,” said Enos, who previously managed Kaplan, Inc.'s SCORE! Prep division, which focuses on SAT preparation. “They learn how to do math, but they don't learn how to study those types of things. We really try to give the kids the tools they need to start high school on day one on the right foot.”

The new location at 2 Main St. houses the company’s management team, its Boston-area program managers and adds space for local tutor training, a critical component of the StudySmart instructional approach.

“The opening of our corporate headquarters in Stoneham is an important milestone for our company,” said Enos. “We are excited to be part of the local business community and look forward to serving area students in the coming school year.”

Enos's vision to personalize tutoring for students based on their individual needs led him to start StudySmart with Greg Zumas, who has been president of the company since its inception.

Originally headquartered in Woburn, StudySmart has since expanded to offices in about 10 cities nationwide, most recently to Detroit, Mich.; Dallas, Texas; and Atlanta, Ga.

“We opened up our second office in Washington D.C. in 2000, in large part because my business partner (Zumas) was from the D.C. area,” he said. “We basically have expanded to about one city per year. We're in the process of really increasing the pace of our expansion both locally and nationwide.”

This year, Enos said StudySmart is on track to accumulate about $4.5 million in sales, but he's hoping to see an increase in the near future, with a goal of becoming a $25 to $30 million organization within five years. He's also hoping that StudySmart will eventually become the leader of the tutoring market.

Enos attributes the expansion thus far to constant positive feedback from clients.

“Really, just that we were successful with it,” he said. “We reached out. In each new market that we entered, we found that families and schools were more receptive.”

Jim Bennett of Brookline used StudySmart to help his two sons improve on their standardized test scores. His son Michael, 17, underwent 30 hours of tutoring, which drastically helped him on the PSAT's.

“It was the PSAT's, but still it was a significant improvement in knowing what to look for, knowing how to take the test,” Bennett said, adding that his older son, Albie, a sophomore at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md. this fall, also improved his SAT scores.

Bennett said having a tutor come to their home proved to be a better option than joining a study group.

“What we do is we personalize the program to exactly what the student needs the most,” Enos said.

“We're working with what the student brings home that day.”

Enos said about 50 percent of StudySmart's programs are dedicated to specific academic tutoring, while the other 50 percent focuses on preparation for such tests as the SATs and ACTs. All tutoring is customized to fit the needs of the student.

“It's not a cookie cutter approach,” he said. “Students get a lot of great stuff from school, but school often times doesn't always have the resources to help the student one-on-one.”

What's more, the connection between instructor and student is something Enos says cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

“It's amazing,” he said. “It seems like a little thing but it actually goes a long way, that connection and that rapport just makes a world of difference.”

For more on StudySmart, visit www.studypoint.com.

This article also appeared in the Stoneham Sun.

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