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Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. is continuing its push into public education. The Columbia, Md.-based company has formed agreements with two more school districts to provide in-school tutoring.

Sylvan received approval last month from the Pasadena, Tex., and Dorchester County, Md., districts to provide supplemental education services in a total of five schools.

In Pasadena, Sylvan began providing mathematics and reading tutoring this month to about 300 students at two middle schools. In Dorchester County, the company is aiding 180 students in three schools.

Sylvan is best known for its 500 company-owned and franchised learning centers in shopping centers and office buildings, which provide private tutoring to children whose parents can afford it.

Last year, the company signed a contract with the Baltimore school district to build learning centers in six public schools to serve students eligible for the federal Chapter 1 program.

Last spring, the District of Columbia public schools hired Sylvan to tutor some 600 high school students who were reading far below grade level.

And in June, the company hired the superintendent of a New York City community school district to become its vice president for public education services.

Felton M. Johnson, the former superintendent of Community School District 9 in the Bronx, is leading Sylvan's effort to form more partnerships with districts.

The Walt Disney Company has also been stepping up its involvement in education, with new curriculum products and plans to help run a new public school near Walt Disney World in Florida. (See Education Week, June 22, 1994.)

Now the company has come up with a new way to push its massive catalogue of educational films and videos. Disney Educational Productions has been making classroom films for more than 40 years, with titles such as "Get It Right: Following Directions With Goofy" and "Mickey's Field Trips Series."

The trouble is, many of the films and videos have a purchase price of $200 or more. Disney's new Video Leasing Library makes 150 to 300 titles available to schools for lease payments of $499 to $899 a year. Also, lease payments can be credited toward the purchase of any portion of the video library.

More information on the program is available by calling (800) 295-5010.

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