The Freeman Center opened in June of 2001 as a “retirement project” for Steve Freeman. In 2003, having outgrown the family room of his home, Freeman hired two more retired teachers to work for him and opened a second classroom in Chehalis. In 2007, he bought a home in Centralia’s historic Edison District and moved all of his staff to one location. Today, The Freeman Center has a staff of teachers with many years of experience and a broad background of teaching expertise. The common denominator with all of them is a love of teaching and seeing students succeed.
Things we have heard from those who know us best
January – A Former Student and her Granddaughter
“You Are More Than a Teacher!”
“I was going to send you an email but I really want you to hear this from me. This is important to me.”
The lady on the phone was a former student who was in one of my classes of fifth graders at Edison School when I first started teaching in 1970. She is now the grandmother of one of my current students and is raising her granddaughter. We talked for about fifteen minutes, or she talked and I listened mostly.
“You know that she has had some issues. When we brought her to you she was in third grade and struggling with second grade math and reading. I wanted to enroll her in a local private school but she could not meet their entrance requirements. We had you work with her twice a week and she began making progress. By the end of that summer, she was ready for that private school. She has continued improving and is now in the fifth grade. She is serving as Captain of the Knowledge Bowl Team, a position usually reserved for sixth graders! I believe we owe this all to you!”
“She has been abandoned by many of the important people in her life. Her father died three years ago. Her mother is not involved much. She knows she can count on you though. You are so much more than a teacher to her. You have changed her life. I know you were supposed to be a teacher and I’m thankful you are still teaching. She will probably be your student as long as you will have her.”
March: The mother of a new student:
“I don’t want to wait until Monday! She caught sight of hope!”
On a Friday, I met with the parents of 4 new students. One of the students was not happy to be there though. She came in with a scowl and it stayed there for at least the first 20 minutes. Apparently, it is pretty disappointing to learn that things are not going as well at school as the folks would like! As I worked with her to assess her current reading level, I caught just a hint of a smile at times. By the time we finished, she was smiling and talking easily. The big moment came when her mom and I got her on the schedule to start on Monday. The girl cried out,
“I want to start tomorrow!”
Mom reminded her that tomorrow was Saturday, to which she replied,
“I don’t care, I don’t want to wait until Monday!”
May: It was the last class today. I was working with two little girls (1st & 2nd graders) from Napavine. It was nearing 6:30 when the mom of one of the girls came through the door. The daughter took a quick glance at mom then turned back to me with
“Is our time up already?”
Mom got a soft smile on her face and said, “I love being greeted with that kind of comment from her after an hour here.
” What a great way to end my work day!”
August: I tested a new, middle-school aged boy. When he first came into The Freeman Center, I recognized his countenance as that of a young man who had not known much success in school and felt that being brought to “a tutoring place” was just another jab at his self-esteem. As we walked around the classrooms, we examined some of the odd artifacts I’ve collected. It wasn’t long before he was smiling and interacting. Before he left for the night, he told me that it was a lot different than he thought it was going to be and that he was hopeful it might actually help him. The next day he came for his first class and it was hard to believe it was the same boy. A big smile lit up his face. At the end of the hour he had to check the time for himself because the time seemed too short to have been an hour!
May: It’s party time!
“One of the grades was only an A-“
Both parents came in to pick up their daughter. After a few minutes of visiting, the mom asked,
“Did she tell you about her report card?”
I said, “no”. Mom cast a “why not?” look at her daughter. Then the dad said,
“We had a ‘Straight A Report Card’ party for her Saturday night!“.
The daughter smiled shyly and said that she was disappointed because one of the A’s was really an A-! I am proud of this girl. Her grades were no where near this high a year ago.
March: “They wanted to retain her!’
The mom of one of our girls said,
“I don’t know if I ever told you, but the school has wanted to retain [daughter] for the last two years. I didn’t let them but brought her here instead. Her GPA is now just below a 4.0. She has one B+. She was chosen by the teachers to serve on a leadership team at school. We have told her that she can go to The Freeman Center for as long as she wants. It is worth whatever we have to do to make that happen.”
March: Worst part of being sick:
‘Her whole attitude has changed!’
I received a call from the mother of one of our students letting me know that her daughter was sick and would not be in class. She went on,
”She is disappointed she can’t go. She loves it. What your staff is doing there has made a huge difference for [daughter]. Her whole attitude has changed about school!”
February: You are the best!’
Mom is a local teacher.
Email from a local teacher, whose son came to us for reading help:
“Hi Mr. Freeman! Just want to let you know [son] is very excited about his report card and would like to send you a copy. He is now reading fluently…he read the book Holes and took an AR test with 100% correct.”
“You are the BEST…according to [son] and me.”
December: Tutoring just doesn’t cover it!
A very happy mother.
A mother shared that she had tried to explain what her daughter does at The Freeman Center to a friend but that she had some trouble because
“Tutoring just doesn’t cover it.”
She went on,
“Yes, you tutor but you do so much more. You challenge [daughter] to think and she loves it.”
November: Sharing special news
A proud mother
One mother quietly told me that her daughter had some news to share with me. When I asked her daughter about the news she said she had received
“some awards at school”.
One was for being on the Honor Roll with a 3.84. The other was because she was named as
“Student of the Quarter!”
Mom said she and her husband are elated and that her daughter is no longer in remedial classes!
November: Darn tootin’!
A local school superintendent who came to visit us!
“Darn tooting that we are on the same team. I know you have always had a passion to help kids learn and operate with strong integrity. I would not hesitate to endorse your work. Glad to see you are still at it.”
December: After only a month!
A happy mother!
“Thank you so much for all your hard work! After only a month of tutoring, my son picked up a book to read tonight. Without being told. I can’t tell you how incredibly happy this has made me. Thank you again.”
October: Well, that explains it!
A pleased parent!
We received an email from a parent which read in part,
“I told the teacher about (son) attending The Freeman Center and he said to me, “‘well, that explains it!.'”
June: Stop that smiling!
Today, as I was starting class with a brother and sister team, they were all smiles. I don’t get to work with them often so this was special for me and I guess it was for them too. They just could not wipe the big smiles off their faces. With a straight face, I said,
“Stop that smiling. You are here to learn, not to have fun!”
They smiled all the bigger. I glared at them. The girl said,
“It’s so much fun here I can’t stop smiling but I am learning a lot too!”
A Happy Teacher!
Tutoring is a big committment for many families. There are many more families with students who need the additional help but they simply cannot afford it. Maybe this will help: When a current student or their parents refer a new student they will earn a free session. The new student will also save fifty dollars on the assessment fees and will also get a free session when they pay for their first four sessions. Spread the word. Tell your friends to mention that you sent them so you get your free session too!
June: Highest scores on cumulative math test!
Email from a pleased paren-
“(Son’s) teacher gave me great news today that (son) got the highest score in the class on a huge cumulative math test today. She and he were so shocked, she sent him right to the treasure box for a reward. This is surprising, considering he has been one of the students that really struggles in his class with math. He is so proud and so are we! Thank you!”