OSSINING, N.Y. -- Gayle Marchica learned during her 30 years of work in education that most school districts squeezed students into a “one size fits all” approach. Her Ossining business, Eduscape Associates, takes learning down a far different path.
Marchica, the president of the Ossining Chamber of Commerce, started her business 10 years ago. A former high school principal, she felt encumbered by regulations, inflexibility and the lack of creativity in teaching. She felt it could be particularly hard in reaching special-needs students.
Eduscape Associates provides help with college planning, college essay, test prep, tutoring and other educational services. Its focus, however, is individualized. Marchica and her team create and implement programs and academic solutions tailored to the needs of the students and their families.
“Our agenda is educating students. I’ve always come from the thought that it’s purpose over politics. If we let that blur our vision, we don’t get to that end product.” -- Gayle Marchica, owner of Eduscape Associates
“As time went on, I started to realize we were not reaching all the students we’d like to reach,’’ Marchica said. “This was my way of reaching students and meeting them where they are in a creative and educational way. We do follow a curriculum, but we can be prescriptive. We can see areas where students need support. It’s hard to do that in general education.”
Marchica’s approach also allows her creativity. While much of academia takes a by-the-book approach, Marchica unleashes a creative side that is rare in education.
“I’ve always had a creative mind,’’ Marchica said. “At times it was squelched because I had to follow a certain regiment or do things a certain way. Now I can create and fulfill the vision I had to help kids. It’s really a blessing. When you see the looks on their faces when a connection is made, they’re left with an expression that is amazing.”
Marchica saw it for herself for herself just recently. She taught an 8-hour college essay boot camp for rising high school seniors. The students left the camp with their essays ready to send with their college applications. Most of the students had barely begun thinking about their essay. With Marchica, the students generated the idea, wrote the essay and crossed a to-do item off their long list before the first day of their senior year. “They could not believe what they did it in two days,’’ Marchica said.
Marchica enjoys the flexibility and creativity that comes with being an independent educator. She also enjoys being unconfined by political agendas. “We don’t have to be concerned with having to vote on something or dealing with people who are trying to follow a certain agenda,’’ she said. “Our agenda is educating students. I’ve always come from the thought that it’s purpose over politics. If we let that blur our vision, we don’t get to that end product.”
When Marchica steps away from Eduscape, it is frequently to work with the Ossining Chamber of Commerce, where she has been President for six years. She joined the Chamber shortly after starting her business and quickly elevated to leadership positions.
Marchica has helped the Chamber grow in size, but also in establishing relationships within the business community.
“It’s not about doing business with businesses,’’ Marchica said. “You do business with other people. If they trust you and know you, they’ll do business with you initially and ongoing. It becomes a culture change. I think people understand now that they need each other to be successful.”
Marchica helped the Chamber develop a new website, and the town now has an integrated approach in bringing in commerce, rather than having each business work independently.
“There is a surge of people and businesses who want to be in Ossining,’’ she said. “It’s more affordable than a lot of areas. Our town is opening doors and making it easier for business to come in. There’s a level of open-mindedness that didn’t exist before.”
It’s particularly gratifying for Marchica as a town resident and business owner to see that growth and change. “I love to see it be successful and be a part of that success,’’ she said. “I’m proud to be a member of the Chamber with like-minded people. I haven’t met anybody yet who doesn’t want our businesses to succeed.”