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Roof collapses on Ovilla tutoring facility, leaves executive director desperate for new location
- Written by Ashley Ford Ashley Ford
- Created: 09 October 2018 09 October 2018
Ovilla, Tx - As the rain continued to pour on Sept. 22, water leaked through the ceiling onto computers and decades of curriculum. The deluge eventually collapsed the roof of Teachers who Tutor, leaving only STARR booklets salvageable.
Diana Phillips, the executive director at Teachers Who Tutor in Ovilla, was devastated when she observed the damage. For the past 10 years, she has tutored children to succeed in the classroom, and while ankle deep in water, she wondered where the business would relocate.
“I’m just blessed that there were no kids in here. Even though it was a disaster, there were no kids,” were the first words Phillips uttered.
On a weekly basis, approximately 25 students see Phillips and two other certified teachers who provide one-on-one tutorials. Desperate to get the students back in the classroom, Phillips has operated out of Ovilla B&B around its bookings. As of Thursday, Teachers Who Tutor now operates in the cafeteria at Ovilla Road Church of Nazarene.
The displacement has added stress to Phillips as she continues to tutor the kids. Due to the nomadic situation, not all of the students have been able to attend sessions as regularly as before the storm.
Midlothian student, Meredith Thomas, has utilized Teachers Who Teach for the past three years. Her father, Mike Thomas, emphasized the quality of education has pushed his daughter to accomplish more in the classroom.
Thomas explained his sixth-grade daughter’s uniqueness as “she has special education needs but is not specials needs — she falls in that crack.”
“Diana and her team really helped her stay on track, and we are starting to close that achievement gap, which we had not been doing previously, so that has been very beneficial,” Thomas explained.
He mentioned the teaching style Phillips uses is personable and individualistic as she cares for the needs of each child. For Meredith, she needs a one-on-one connection with her instructor to be able to adequately perform.
Meredith attends Teachers Who Tutor three times a week to sharpen her skills in reading, writing and arithmetic. Since the destruction, she has only gone to tutoring twice. Thomas said consistency is critical in Meredith’s learning and is hopeful the tutoring service will find a permanent facility soon.
When Thomas first heard about the damage, he was thankful students did not occupy the building. He was also concerned about the decades of learning materials and reading collections that cannot be reproduced.
Phillips is on the hunt to find a permanent location but is coming up short with nothing as affordable of what she previously rented.
“There is a place out here for me, but I don’t know where to go,” Phillips expressed.
The landlord of the damaged building, Adam, who would not disclose his last name, charged Phillips $620 a month in rent over the last decade.
“I told her, ‘I would give you a discount no matter how long you stay,’” Adam said. “She was an easy tenant and plus it was a school and a good cause.”
Adam voiced his concern about the collapsed roof and was grateful children were not in the building at the time of the heavy rain.
Danny Giron, the owner of Inca Roofing, has been in the business for five years and explained the extent of the damages and repairs. “The beams were really damaged and practically punctured in half,” Giron said.
“My initial thought was, ‘I wonder if the lady was here during the time.’ Because I was out of town and I wondered if everything was okay,” Giron recalled. “But when I actually made it out nothing really sad seemed to have happened, just the roof.”
Giron and his team raised the roof for the entire structure and added five beams across the building. The other side of the roof leaked and Giron advised if another rainstorm happened then it could have collapsed entirely. He is repairing the un-collapsed portion of the roof to prevent future damages.
ABOUT TEACHERS WHO TUTOR
Phillips moved into the Ovilla building 10 years ago and provided tutoring services under the name One-On-One Tutoring. She noticed some parents struggled with payments. The executive director has an extensive background in education services and at one point operated 18 before, during and after school programs in San Francisco, called High Gear Achievers Inc.
With the right materials and competent staff, Phillips established a vision of her own — Teachers Who Tutor.
Phillips praised her services not only for quality but also for its affordability. For two nights a week and, at a minimum, an hour to an hour and a half is $40 a session. “That’s whether they stay an hour — some of the kids are here two and a half hours, and I don’t say, ‘time’s up, go.’ Because I don’t teach to the hour.”
Maintaining a small group is essential to Phillips so she can ensure quality tutoring time and fewer teachers to manage. “Because we are so small, it made the results positive. A lot of the parents I’ve had, I’ve had for more than four years,” she elaborated.
Phillips created a GoFundMe to purchase materials and replace the four laptops and three desktops. If Phillips raises enough money, she would like to either invest the money back into Adam’s building or to preparing a new facility with supplies and furniture.
To contact Phillips about a rental opportunity or is interested in helping, email her at or call/text 214-274-2675. If interested, individuals can donate to https://www.gofundme.com/66c862o.
Source: Waxahachie Daily Light