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Tutoring in Birmingham

In May of 2013,Tony Mauro and his wife, Michelle, made Birmingham home to one of the first GradePower Learning centers in the United States. Now families in Jefferson, Shelby and St. Clair County can discover that GradePower is way beyond tutoring. “When evaluating the various options for supplemental learning, we asked ourselves, ‘which model would we be most comfortable with enrolling our own kids?’” said Mr. Mauro, ”It was clear to us that basic academic tutoring, simply doesn’t work. The GradePower model was the only one that truly made a lasting difference in how children learn. Its methods are well aligned with the family values of our community.”

Active vs. passive thinking: Learning to fish vs. giving the fish

As the only learning center of its kind in America, GradePower knows that learning is not a standardized process that can be approached passively; it’s a dynamic process that is best fulfilled when students are able to actively engage their entire cognitive potential.

Rather than treat the brain like a database for storing information, we recognize it for what it truly is; a vital organ that needs nurturing, exercise and care. GradePower coaches students on “how to fish” for knowledge, versus simply “giving them the fish” through memorization.

GradePower vs. “tutoring”: Whole learning vs. partial memorization

“Tutoring” simply focuses on helping students memorize academic information for purposes of passing a test. GradePower’s unique curriculum and cognitive approach offers families much more value than a typical tutoring experience. GradePower helps learners of all ages access their complete array of cognitive resources to retain and apply what they learn.

Our students build the skills and awareness to learn, regardless of who’s teaching, where they’re learning, or how the subject is being taught. We value the idea of building an active mind that is self-sufficient enough to catch up, get ahead, and stay ahead in any learning environment, GradePower is the only place where you can make this happen!

Our values

Our mission is to help our students achieve their highest potential. Likewise, we extend that philosophy to our role as a corporate citizen.

We help our community achieve its highest potential by supporting its education system.

We help our staff achieve their highest potential through fostering a quality work environment, continuous improvement and full engagement in the GradePower process.

Our process

1. Dynamic Learning Assessments

Learning cannot be standardized. Learning assessments shouldn’t be, either. Our assessments uniquely evaluate eight cognitive components (including visual processing, auditory processing and critical thinking skills) along with nine core academic skills.

2. Customized curriculum

Once a student’s current skill base is established, GradePower builds an individualized curriculum that reinforces the student’s foundational knowledge in reading, writing and math. This ensures they are prepared to receive more advanced material. Tutors are simply not equipped to do this and, instead, attempt to force the advanced material before the foundational skills are fluent.

Our approach ensures that the learning lasts by refining the skills our students need to connect to more advanced concepts. This is the only way to accelerate sustainable progress.

3. Reading, writing and math

A student’s ability to learn anything, especially math, is dependent on their ability to comprehend, act and think critically about what they read. Through coaching critical reading strategies that help them process, retain and actively think about what they read, we accelerate our students’ reading skills.

If they can master the skill of comprehending and actively thinking about what they’re reading in school, they can accelerate their learning in any subject.

Lasting improvement in math begins with recognizing that root cause of most math struggles is a reading comprehension deficit. Tutoring methods that ignore this reality are at best temporary and, at worst, futile. Our math curriculum is extensive, thorough and rooted in active learning methods. From simple addition to calculus, your student will learn math the right way, the first time.

4. ACT and SAT prep

These tests measure academic preparedness for college. However, the college dropout rate is over 50% because students haven’t learned the values of planning vs. cramming. In turn, they don’t develop the critical thinking and preparation skills to handle the day-to-day rigor of college.

So help your college-bound student learn how to plan vs. cram. Enroll them in a test prep program that truly prepares them for college. In just 2-4 hours a week, your student will not only have time to deepen their understanding of the academic material on the exam, but will realize the value of planning ahead prepare the right way.

Plus, they’ll still have time to meet other obligations (homework, extracurricular activities, etc.) without becoming overwhelmed.

5. Progress reviews

We conduct periodic reviews with parents and school administrators to assess progress made and set milestones for continued success. We’ve met with many schools in the area, who are excited to work with us. We strive to strengthen the family/school partnership through supporting our families and supplementing the great work of our school teachers.

We support all of the schools in our area as proud sponsors of fundraisers and events throughout the year. The following are just some of the schools we actively support: Inverness Elementary, Mt. Laurel Elementary, Oak Mountain Middle School, Oak Mountain High School, Spain Park High School.

If you’d like our help with supporting an education initiative, please email us: or give us a call today at 205-980-5745.

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