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Elite Edge offers tutoring based around individual student's learning style.

Featured Article

Barrington Native Gives Students “Elite Edge” Through Virtual Tutoring

Remote Learning is Hard. A New Tutoring Service With a Local Connection Provides Answers.

Looking to give your kids an edge in some of their toughest classes? Read on.

Barrington native Dr. Sara Bourne always pictured herself teaching chemistry in a big lecture hall at a university.

Bourne earned her B.S. in Chemistry and Psychology at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and her M.S. in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education at UC Berkeley. After working a year as a chemist, she decided teaching was her true expertise, as long as she could work out spending enough time with her family. Her solution: she founded Elite Edge Tutoring last January, an online service providing one-on-one and group tutoring. 

Bourne’s education in psychology helps her teach science more effectively. 

“I love learning an individual student’s learning style, what they’re struggling with, and helping them bond with chemistry, for example, in whatever way suits them,” Bourne said. “Tutoring is a great way to do that, both one-to-one and with small groups.”

Now based in Oakland, CA, Bourne started her company small, offering in-person sessions for her students. When Covid-19 hit she moved to a virtual platform, expanding her services throughout the country. “It’s been awesome to serve different student populations, and even help families in Illinois where I grew up.”

Bourne believes it’s important for students to earn an “edge” in education, inspiring her business’s name: “Students need to feel they have ownership over their learning, ownership over the subject. I wanted people to envision having an edge…a high level edge or an elite edge.” 

Bourne has developed her own teaching philosophy. She thinks it's best to learn through talking instead of memorization, and tries to individualize each lesson to the student’s background. “I like to always combine the science with the human side of things,” Bourne said. “I don’t believe that chemistry should be taught in a way where you feel like you just have to memorize a set of rules and spit them back out. I think that turns people away more than it attracts people to science. As an instructor, I need to acknowledge the student’s own experience and background, and realize that everybody’s going to bring something different, but everything is applicable. We should always find a connection.”

Elite Edge Tutoring offers discounted packages (10 or 20 hours) for one-on-one and group tutoring. Group packages receive a 20% discount; one-on-one packages are discounted 10%. Individual sessions are available at $100 per hour. Bourne also offers a chemistry prep session for those interested in getting a head start.

Bourne is working to expand her client base and gain more student relationships. She would also like to get more people involved in her chemistry prep class, to help those who are nervous about starting this new topic this fall. Long-term, she envisions growing an expanding group of tutors to create an increasingly holistic service to all students. “You could come to Elite Edge Tutoring and say, ‘I need help with chemistry, but can you also help me write my college entrance essays? Or, ‘I need help with biology,’ and we have somebody who can help you with that,” Bourne said.

With so many students experiencing distanced virtual learning during the pandemic, Bourne wants to offer students any extra help they need.

“With everything going on, it’s just the perfect opportunity to get a little bit of extra support so that you have an edge in whatever you’re doing and you just feel a little bit more confident moving into the year,” Bourne said.

For more information on Elite Edge Tutoring, visit or contact Dr. Sara Bourne for a consultation at

  • Dr. Sara Bourne (L) with SWL's Marissa Plescia, via Zoom.
  • Elite Edge offers tutoring based around individual student's learning style.