Bob Rosedale of Eagle started Idaho’s first Tutor Doctor franchise after retiring from a 26-year military career in 2011. Had he not gone into the military, Rosedale said he probably would have been an English teacher. He’s drawn to education — the highlight of his military career was training Air Force pilots. 

Holly Beech/MP

During his time as a U.S. Air Force squadron commander, Bob Rosedale of Eagle transformed young lieutenants into pilots who were ready for worldwide missions.

This was the highlight of his 26-year military career, he said.

Now Rosedale is using some of those same training concepts to help build confidence and self-discipline among local students, thanks to Tutor Doctor.

After leaving the military three years ago, Rosedale opened Idaho’s first Tutor Doctor franchise. He contracts with tutors of many different backgrounds and specialties who are then thoughtfully matched with a student.

“We really want them to look at that tutor as an academic coach, not just a homework helper,” Rosedale said. “If we get the right tutor in there to work with (students) … their confidence recovers. As their confidence recovers, their learning accelerates.”

Rosedale’s business has provided about 10,000 tutoring sessions to 500 families since opening in 2011. He recognized early on that a big reason why students struggle in school is because they don’t have the academic discipline to organize projects, plan ahead or think long-term. He designed new program called “X-Skills” to help students build these organizational and “executive” skills to help them in school and beyond. The program was recently rolled out to hundreds of Tutor Doctor franchises worldwide and is being translated into Spanish.

In military terms, X-Skills is about teaching students to think more three-dimensionally and strategically, he said, and then providing the structure to hold them accountable.

The biggest need Tutor Doctor sees is among middle school students struggling in math, followed by elementary school students behind in reading.

Rosedale said he sees several middle-school students who are having a hard time adjusting to the new Common Core math lessons. But it’s a problem that might fade as students are introduced to Common Core at an earlier age, he said.

Tutor Doctor offers help in any subject to students of all ages, even adults going back to school. Rosedale has a roster of more than 100 tutors, including active and retired school principals, teachers, engineers, business professionals, veterans and professionals with experience working with special-needs students.

“We need to have a deep bench because we do that personalized match,” Rosedale said.

Tutor Doctor also works with Veterans Affairs to match up newly returned combat veterans with tutors who can understand what they’re going through.

There are three major requirements for tutors: they must have mastered the subject matter (but don’t need a college degree); they must be able to communicate with the students in a way that builds confidence and self-esteem; and they must be passionate about the students’ success.

“If you get those three things right, then a lot of magic can happen when it comes to tutoring,” Rosedale said. “Around here, there’s lots and lots of talented folks who want to do that.”

The cost per session depends on how many sessions the family requests. But a typical student, Rosedale said, might enroll for six months of tutoring, a couple sessions a week, for about $50 an hour.

Rosedale doesn’t have a database of students’ grades or test scores to track progress, but the growth in enrollment — along with renewed enrollments — seems to suggest families are happy with the results, he said.

About 100 new families have signed up this year, giving Rosedale’s Tutor Doctor the greatest year-over-year first quarter growth rate among Tutor Doctor franchises in the western U.S.

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