Academic support can often feel out of reach for many students and families. With the educational landscape shifting online, many students are left without the resources they need to maximize their potential.
Today’s guest, Paarvv Goel is changing that narrative by creating Benchmark Learning, a high-quality, financially accessible online tutoring for students of all ages. Paarvv is growing his vision to include online coding training, scholarships, and group pricing for students who need additional financial support, all while considering the perspective of parents and students in his offerings.
Paarvv is a great reminder that Education Evolution can be joined by change agents of all ages! He is creating educational equality, while also reminding us of the importance of fostering an environment of creative problem solving and an entrepreneurial spirit.
About Paarvv Goel:
Paarvv Goel is the founder & CEO of Benchmark Learning, an online tutoring company seeking to provide high-quality tutoring services for K through 12 and college students at an affordable price. Paarvv is a very recent college graduate who started making a difference while still in college. Seeing a need for high-quality online school support, he pioneered financially accessible online tutoring services opening the market up to countless potential students during the rapidly changing world of education.
Jump Through the Conversation
- [2:29] Create accessible tutoring services without compromising quality
- [3:45] Multiperspective building–structuring a business from all vantage points
- [6:03] Pillars of Benchmark Learning
- [8:05] Addressing the need for foundational learning in entrepreneurial coursework
- [11:56] Quality, affordable education for in-demand coding careers
- [14:51] Paarvv’s Magic Wand: Helping students to learn the art of problem-solving
- [17:44] Scholarships supporting learners having success
- [18:08] Student-driven learning and growing creative problem-solving skills
- [19:03] Entrepreneurial step-by-step development in the classroom
Links and Resources:
- Benchmark Learning
- Email Maureen
- Facebook: Follow Education Evolution
- Twitter: Follow Education Evolution
- LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution
- Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids
- Micro-school feature on Good Morning America
- The Micro-School Coalition
- Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition
Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at education evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education, evolution and the micro school coalition, where we are fiercely Committed to changing the narrative to reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast, please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?
Hi, so good to have you.
Thank you so much for having me on the show.
Great to have you and listeners. Today, I’m chatting with Park gowell. He is a very recent college graduate who started making a difference while still in college, seeing a need for high quality school support. As the pandemic took off, and determined to provide more equity. He founded benchmark learning whose experts provide tutoring for $15 an hour. He since added online computer training, the education evolution can be joined by change agents of all ages, and part of your LinkedIn profile states that you ideated bootstrapped and launched an online private and group tutoring company for students in schools K through 12. I know those are the three verbs I’d use to describe how I began my micro school. And that was crazy hard for me and took a lot of courage. So I’m really impressed and want to know, what got you started on this big undertaking?
Yeah, of course. And once more, thank you for having me on the show. It’s really a great, great honor. I’ve listened to a podcast in the past. And honestly, I think benchmark learning came about as any other business idea, there was a need. And it was very, very prevalent. You know, as you said, having been through, you know, the past 16 years of schooling and college, I realized that extra help is something that a lot of students need. But as the market is set up currently, it’s extremely expensive, like I know, so I am going to be starting my MBA soon. And I had to take some classes for the G mat and the gra that would set someone back, you know, 60 7080 bucks an hour. And, you know, private tutoring for kids is exactly the same, it’s right around $60 an hour, if you want a highly trained professional. So that’s where the idea sort of started, I just wanted to make it cheaper while keeping quality the same. So I came up with a model where we you know, recruit tutors from around the world, we make sure we have a very effective recruitment process to make sure that all of our tutors are are, you know, highly trained, highly experienced. And they can handle, you know, private tutoring sessions for kids in the United States. And I created the model around that and they launched it in July. And now we have right around 40 kids and we’re growing.
I love it that is impressive. And you know speaking about your tutors, I really appreciate the rigorous process that you have the determination to hire very qualified tutors on your site it It talks about you know that they’re experts and excellent educators and, and well trained, and also that they’re committed and loyal as full time members of the benchmark learning team that’s, that’s really hard when you’re starting out, but that means they’re not coming and going and Oh, I can’t stay I can’t do that. I’ve got my other part time job. Um, how did you get that clarity? And how is that going for you?
is going pretty well. I always knew that the project was going to be very front loaded in terms of investment in terms of effort. And exactly what you just said is what I wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to have a team but you know someone’s in and out someone’s part time someone can’t make it because they have to take their dog for a walk. I wanted people to be on it, you know, 100% and I want people to you know, wake up and and worry about their students because at the end of the day, I think as a parent, that’s all you want. You want someone if you’re you know, hiring someone for extra help you just want someone to have the same consideration for your kids education as you do. That’s why I wanted to stress the point. Time bit. And it certainly was a bit of a burden, I’ll say financially and contractually, to some extent in the beginning. But because of that, we’ve been able to grow as fast as we have, and we were able to handle it and recoup what we put into it in the beginning.
I really like that. And I know like, when I start my microscope, people were, can my kid come just for math is like, no, we’re a community kids are in all day, every day. And that’s made a huge difference. We’re not a revolving door, and people know each other and care and, and can help each other out. So your front loading is not only impressive, and and I can see the benefits already. I’m, I’m also, it’s just really cool to hear you say that you were thinking about it from the parents perspective, from the stakeholders perspective, I, I’m not sure all business owners think about it as carefully from the customer’s perspective. And did you get some of that training in a class or, or what led you to really think from so many angles?
Honestly. So nothing that I’ve used for benchmark was something that I learned in a class I just wanted, I just put basically put myself in the customer shoes. So I was like, you know, if I was going to use the service, what would I want. And when it came down to it, when you just list the things out, you just want someone who is available from a customer support perspective, someone who’s flexible, and you know, someone who is going to put in the effort and care about the service as much as you need it, right. So those are all the pillars upon which I built the the processes of benchmark, it’s, it’s what I built our entire, you know, the way that our community functions, that’s exactly how I built it. So, you know, customer service support is number one, we have a very laxed policy when it comes to, you know, informing teachers, if you can’t make it to a session, or when it comes to changing the number of hours you need per week, what services you need. We’re not like, there’s no hard and fast legal structure that you know, these are our terms of service, you have to follow these, of course, that’s in place. But at the end of the day, what’s more important for us is that the parent is getting the service that they want for their kid, I just created this based on what I would look for. And I also talked to my parents and other parents in the community, focusing solely on what they want not necessarily what would be profitable, or what would be, you know, beneficial as a business to begin with.
That’s brilliant, and good customer service is always the right way to go. And I hope that it’s financially super rewarding, because you deserve it for putting others first. I mean, that’s the golden rule that most of our world religions are based on, so good for you for thinking about what are others gonna want? And how can I meet that I want to live back around as somebody as a high school educator, and and hearing you say they’re really not allowed in school, kind of launched what you’re doing now? What do you wish you had experienced in high school or college to help you on your entrepreneurial path?
Of course .So I’ve taken a lot of entrepreneurship courses throughout high school and in college. And when I started benchmark, I thought, you know, like, I’m good, I’ve taken all these courses, I have at least some of the knowledge down. But, you know, throughout the entire process, I don’t think I could have been more wrong about anything. I think, if they’re if there’s one thing that entrepreneurship courses lack right now, it’s probably the more technical aspects of entrepreneurship, because you know, so in these courses, and learn how to make presentations, and learn how to make, you know, fun looking infographics, but you know, I couldn’t open a bank account, or I didn’t know how the finances or the taxes would work, I didn’t know how structuring an entity would work. So I think if these are all the foundational aspects of starting a business, and that’s where entrepreneurship courses to start, as well. Also things like, you know, traditional marketing and being able to grab the customer having a hook that works. Again, as you mentioned, being able to think from a customer’s perspective, I think all of these technical things are things that need to be focused on more from an entrepreneurship class point of view. Because those are the things that I needed the most, when I started benchmark.
You know, that totally resonates with my experience. And as I coach, other people in starting micro schools, we’re all knowledgeable about education and know what we want the classroom to look like. But even when I opened a second campus, it’s like, oh, there’s different city taxes, I have to apply for a different license to be in Seattle than to be in Kirkland. It’s like, how do you figure these things out? And luckily, like the Small Business Association, and some networking groups can help, but wouldn’t that be nice if you had walked into this with less surprises?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I agree. And in fact, The first I think two or three weeks, when I just came up with the idea was literally just, you know, the heavy legal taxation type of stuff, figuring out, you know, how we would bill how we accept payments, how we would pay taxes. So I think I know like, these are things that are tough to cover, in school or in college, but I think, to some extent, it would have helped definitely, I think, if I were to change something about the entire process, that would be nice.
And yeah, and even if they can’t say, here’s how you do it, hey, whatever state you’re in, or whatever country you’re in, be sure to look at business licensing, be sure to look at the local and state or federal taxes, be sure to talk to an accountant or Yeah, so I hear what you’re saying completely. And I just have a lot of guardian angels along the way, and continue to and especially like, I have a parent that does a ton of our marketing and, and just sees things so differently than I do. So very helpful. I hope entrepreneur, educators out there hearing this and thinking Hi, I can do more than that. Because Yeah, your suggestions are spot on. So, go ahead.
No, no, I was just gonna say that I was also very lucky, I had people around me who had been through this process as well, both my parents and, you know, my grandparents, my, a lot of friends had also been through this. So so they were there to sort of guide me through this whole process.
Nice. And I really see it as a pay it forward. There’s so many people that helped me along my life journey. And all I can do is help the next person along so that more people are having success, so good for you for building that important network. So I know in this week’s newsletter to my students, that I am going to get out the information that you are now launching your coding programs, for schools, I just think that there’s so much interest and need and and some of our kids are already dabbling in parts of it. So would you tell us more about this expansion of benchmark learning?
That’s brilliant in terms of customer service, again, to let kids dabbling. I know some adolescents, once they dive in, they are all in and some after a couple weeks are like okay, yeah, what’s next. So giving the parents the option to not have to commit to a long chunk of time. And also, I know that your prices are super just like your tutoring prices. You’re not trying to gouge families, you’re offering a service at a great price. I’ll be sure to put your website and details in the show notes because I want people to find this out. And I’m also going to share it out with my network of small schools in the in the northwest and with my microscope coalition, because it’s a great service. And in this remote time, it’s really sweet that we can be doing things like this and we don’t all have to be in the same location.
Absolutely. And thank you so much for that. I know, this is something that a lot of kids can really benefit from, and it’s a it’s a great skill to have. So I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Yes. So part of I have one final question. If you had a magic wand, what would you want our schools to do better to prepare our students to be entrepreneurial and build on their skills And dream new dreams for us.
Very interesting questions a little tough as well. So I’m going to take my time now. I think one thing that schools I think need to do a better job of is, is helping kids learn the art of problem solving. Because I think at the end of the day, entrepreneurship is all about problem solving, right? Like, you like you’re solving a problem for your micro school, I’m trying to solve a problem to benchmark learning. For any problem solving exercise, the first thing that you need to do is learn to identify problem, which is something that’s largely neglected in schools, we give kids problems, and then we teach them how to solve it, rather than giving kids situations, ask them to find the problem, and then take it from there. So I think just, you know, backing up a bit and the whole problem solving process and actually helping kids understand real life issues, and arming them with the creativity to come up with solutions for those.
You know, I really appreciate that that thoughtful answer, and it makes so much sense. I see kids getting overwhelmed. And whether it’s like they’re applying for their first job, or whether it’s a class project. And I think it could be in large part because we aren’t training them to step back and say, Hey, what’s going on here? What’s the situation? What’s the problem? So yeah, when we hand them a problem, and we’ve already identified it, then yeah, they can start tackling it. But how do you tackle a situation that that subtlety is nuanced, but it’s really important. Very cool answer. And thank you so much for joining us today. Parvin Best wishes on your impressive journey and future endeavors.
Thank you so much. And thank you again for having me. And it’s really a cool experience this because I love what you’re doing your podcast. And and it’s great to be a part of this. Thank you so much.
How fun, what a delight, to see somebody who has really engaged in his learning process and his life and created something so amazing. I love that part of his playing to his strengths, and to his experience that he’s been on the receiving end of tutoring, and he identified that need that it doesn’t need to be so expensive. And even though that might seem expensive, $15 an hour might still be prohibitive. He’s also talked to me offline, about scholarships, that he really wants to be supporting learners having success. And the big piece he and I talked again, offline, is parents educators, what are we doing to step even further back? And let the students drive the learning? You know, are we letting them go with their interests? and ponder and look at Whole situations? and figure out? Hmm, what’s going on here? What might be a need here? What might be a problem here? How could I attack this? I really appreciate that nuanced answer on his magic wand question that we need to let people figure out, let our students figure out, what is the problem here? And how might I go about solving it instead of here’s a list of problems, fix it, you know, and here’s the formula for how to fix it. Oftentimes, we even give them a set formula. And entrepreneurs know that it’s that out of the box thinking, it’s not a set formula, if you’re trying to create something new and better. Sometimes you need to look at it from a whole different perspective. So it was very refreshing to hear part of talk about what helped and what didn’t. And to talk about too sometimes. We focus on, you know, the Polish and the presentation. And we need to focus on the nitty gritty, what all goes in to starting a new project, a new endeavor, a new business. And thank goodness for the Small Business Association and some places out there that help us figure that out. But how could we be doing that in our projects at home and in school to help kids start to think about what all do I need to be thinking about and I know sometimes that leads to overwhelm. So we also need to help kids break it down. Cool, this is a huge problem. What would be a first step you might be able to take? Don’t worry about the huge problem. Let’s think about the first step. So we can provide some supports where the kids are doing the thinking and the heavy lifting. But we’re making it manageable, and we’re guiding them. And then they get to follow their passions. They have a purpose and a goal. And they have a lot of mentorship. And I’m sure hoping and I know lead PrEP is working on this right now that we can be shifting our learning experiences for kids to more authentic learning where they’re in the driver’s seat, and their interests, take a front seat, and they get to go with their passions, and that we’re, as adults sliding into mentor, and ponderer and Yoda roles, instead of the ones that are saying do x now dou y now dou z. And we’re doing the thinking and the organizing, and the kids are just robotically doing the producing. We want the thinking to be on the kids. And carve is an amazing example of how that can turn out when we get it right.
If you’re finding yourself thinking, I need to do this in my school, let’s talk about it. I consult with schools to help them find new innovative solutions to reaching every student. Let’s put together an action plan. Visit education evolution.org backslash consult to book a call and let’s get started.
Education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. I’d be so grateful if you’d head over to your podcast app to give a great rating and review if you found this episode valuable. Don’t wait. Please do it right now before you forget. I really appreciate it. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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