One-to-one school: Individual instruction helps students succeed

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- One of the things many parents worry about in Arizona is the class size at their kids' schools. They often wonder if their children are really getting the attention they need.

But as we found out, class size is not a problem at one Valley school. That's because this school offers one-to-one, individual instruction.

When you first look down the hall at Brightmont Academy, it looks like any other school with lots of classrooms. But when you look inside those rooms, you see something different.

“So we have a classroom, but as you can see, the learning room is a smaller size," says school founder Ruth Wilson. "It is designed to accommodate one student and one teacher.”

Wilson says Brightmont focuses on one-to-one instruction. “We can customize everything about that student's learning program and really help them achieve success," says Wilson.

Mom Heather Ormsby says that customization has made all the difference for her son Luke, an aspiring hockey star. “He was getting invited to camps,” she says of his soccer. “And so at that point, we felt like he was missing too much school and wasn't able to keep up.

“At one point I was out, like, 14 days, and I was definitely very behind in class," says Luke.

The one-to-one model means Luke can now work around his hockey schedule. But Wilson assures us, it is still work. "We work on a rigorous curriculum," she says. "We offer honors and advanced placement courses.”

Luke agrees. “Probably the first week here, I definitely noticed I was getting more than the first quarter at my old school," he says.

Carol Shapiro says that rigor was just what she was looking for, for her daughter. “We wanted her writing up to a certain par. And we wanted the gamut of her education to cover many things.“

In fact, Scottsdale campus director Mary Gillespie says she gets a variety of students, all with different needs. ”I have students who have accelerated and move through classes quickly because they are gifted, and I have kids who struggle and need more time," she says. “And sometimes we have students with health issues who, again, need a very customized program because their attendance might be interrupted.”

And Luke says, for him, one-to-one has meant less stress and more learning. “And it’s not one of those things where if you don't get the information, you are left behind," he says. "You are definitely comprehending and getting the information down."

“It has been a huge blessing, I think, for us, because he is engaged so much into the education part, says Heather.

Brightmont is a private school, so parents do bear the cost. However, there are some scholarship programs available. And some students attend only part time, or for selected classes.

For more information: Visit or call 480-948-2800