Access Great Teachers to Pair High School Students with Twin Cities’ Top Teachers

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Local teacher launches new tutoring service with affordable small group approach

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We know the opportunity students have to learn from each other...

As Minnesota marks the highest average composite ACT scores* in the country, one of the state’s top teachers today unveiled Access Great Teachers--a powerful two-pronged approach in tutoring to help more students succeed. Owner Tom Connell, an Advanced Placement teacher at Edina High School, says the idea behind his company is simple: “Access Great Teachers is designed to match students with outstanding teachers who are experts at teaching their subjects.”

He says the teaching team he is assembling is not only experienced (an average of 15 years teaching experience) but they have advanced degrees and have been recognized by colleagues and parents as innovators. “We’ve got people who are very talented, very experienced and accomplished who are willing to put themselves out there for some time to meet with students who we know will benefit from this experience,” Connell said.

But what also makes Access Great Teachers’ tutoring services unique—and affordable—for families Connell says, is its use of small groups of up to 5 students. “We understand the power of that small group learning experience which research shows is extremely effective and promotes good learning,” Connell said. “Sometimes one-on-one tutoring can be intimidating for students. We know the opportunity students have to learn from each other creates a non-threatening learning atmosphere and they thrive on it. We do offer tutoring for individuals, too, for families that prefer that approach.”

How Access Great Teachers works
Parents and students can go online to Access Great Teachers website and search for the academic discipline their child needs help with, view biographies and availability of the teachers, and book as many sessions as needed. To avoid any potential conflict of interest and confidentiality issues related to student data, Access Great Teachers matches its teachers only with students outside the teachers’ school or district.

Last spring, Rachel, now a college freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, organized small-group study sessions through Access Great Teachers in preparation for the Advanced Placement Physics test. “The small groups were very helpful,” she said. “I felt so much more prepared.” The former Minnetonka High School student says her tutor was not only knowledgeable and introduced topics in an “easy to understand way,” but “offered great alternative explanations to topics that our teachers had given us.” She said, “I don’t think I would have passed the exam if it wasn’t for him!”

Michelle Swenson, a teacher at Orono High School who tutors for Access Great Teachers, says her students appreciate a responsive approach to each session. “Rather than following a certain prescribed program, I can talk about whatever topic the students want to talk about that day,” she said. “It’s whatever they need.” Connell says the flexibility of this tutoring business model means families can find teachers easily and connect online, and these sought-after teachers can engage and motivate students in a more relaxed setting and at times that easily fit into their busy schedules.

Connell says Access Great Teachers is really for any student—“a student who may be struggling in a class or the student who wants to excel.”

*According to the Minnesota Governor’s Office, the state’s high school seniors were top in the nation on the ACT for the ninth year in a row, posting an average score of 22.9 compared to the nationwide average of 21.

About Access Great Teachers
Access Great Teachers is the brainchild of Tom Connell, a Twin Cities high school teacher, who wants to offer students exceptional learning experiences by connecting them with accomplished teachers. He is in his 30th year of teaching, holds a Master’s Degree in Education, and was nominated for Education Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 2010.

Access Great Teachers has been booking individual and small-group tutoring sessions since the beginning of September with a special emphasis on Math and Science tutoring. It is continually expanding its offerings based on the interests of its customers.

For more information, go to or call (952) 406-0702.

For interviews, please contact media liaison Robb Leer at (612) 701-0608 or by email at: robbl(at)leercommunication(dot)com.


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