PTC at Khan's Tutorial

Jackson Heights: A World in Itself

Stores within Jackson Heights

They say that in Jackson Heights, Queens, you will find one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in New York City. With the many cultural happenings that take place within New York City, there must be something special about this section of the city to give it such cultural acclaim. Having grown up in this neighborhood, I had not acknowledged its enriching qualities until I noticed a relative lack of cultural fusion outside Jackson Heights.

Foods found in Jackson Heights

In this corner of the city, I witnessed a blend of cultures that I had not seen anywhere else. Every time I emerged from the underground R train at the Roosevelt Avenue- Jackson Heights train station, my nostrils would flare wide open at the new fragrances that were unique to only Jackson Heights. Nowhere else would I immediately build up a craving for Crispy Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Mango Chutney upon getting out of a simple NYC train station. Nowhere else would my ears spring up as alertly as they would than when listening to the Modern Bhangra songs from the latest Bollywood that amateurs outside the Roosevelt Ave subway entrance would perform. Nowhere else would I find bedazzled body-length dresses in the shop windows that stole my watchful and greedy stares as I would in the storefronts of the Bengali Dress stores in Jackson Heights.

The Levels Behind the Heights

With more than half of its residents being immigrants, Jackson Heights is seen as one of the most diverse neighborhoods in all of New York. According to 2016 census records, this land surrounding Khans is home to nearly 42% Asians, 45% Caucasians, and approximately 13% are made up of Blacks, Hispanics, and Mixed races. The percentage of Blacks and Hispanics gets higher as one moves from 73rd St. (census tract 289) to 82nd St. (the other end of Jackson Heights). On the East side of Jackson Heights, it is common to see Latino food carts and pineapple drinks being sold underneath Spanish signs. In the West side of Jackson Heights lies a bustling fusion of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi enclaves with colorful shop windows lined with embroidered saris.

Such diversity attracts new people striving to culture themselves and indulge in different experiences. Jackson Heights is only a 30-minute subway ride away from Manhattan and the housing prices in the Heights are much cheaper than those in Manhattan. As a result of this, Jackson Heights is slowly getting more gentrified and certain areas of living in this city are going up.

The view along the 7 train on Roosevelt Ave.

The Changes That Have Occurred

While its population has increased vastly over the years, Jackson Heights has not always been the conglomerate of cultures and businesses that it is today. Prior to the construction of the Queensboro Bridge in the 1900s, Jackson Heights had been an enormous parallelogram-shaped piece of farmland. In addition, the area was approximately 82% Caucasian in the 1800s. According to census records, this percentage continually increased with its highest percentage hitting 99.7% in the 1940s. The numbers only started dwindling down once immigrants from South Asia and America started immigrating and settling in Jackson Heights. Today, this city’s people come from all parts of the world. The residents of Jackson Heights today speak more than 30 different languages (including Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish).

The Khan’s Exterior

In this neighborhood, on 37-17 73rd St., lies a K-12 teaching center known as Khan’s Tutorial. Centered in an area with a large population of South Asian and South American immigrants, Khan’s Tutorial attracts underrepresented minorities of lower-income families. The K-8 center is placed on top of a commercial building that houses multiple businesses such as sari shops, lawyer offices, travel agencies, tax-filing help, and a video rental service. Across the street, there is another unit under the name of Khan’s Tutorial that houses tutoring for highschool students. Both these parts of KT work in tandem to provide quality education for minors living in or willing to travel to Jackson Heights.

The Story Behind the Structure

Books that are used to teach high school students at KT

The tutorial first started out with Dr.Mansur Khan and Nayeema Khan tutoring their son, Ivan Khan, and his friends to prepare them for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). Back in the 1990’s, underrepresented minorities had a very low chance of getting scores high enough on these exams to get into the prized Specialized High Schools. Such Specialized High Schools include: Stuyvesant HS, The Bronx HS of Science, Brooklyn Technical HS, Brooklyn Latin HS, HSMSE, Lehman College HS, Queens HS for the Sciences at York, and Staten Island Technical HS. As a result of their tutoring, their first batch of students eventually got accepted to attend The Bronx High School of Science, one of the best Specialized High School in NY – if not the nation.

How The Structure Has Grown

They opened up their first branch in Jackson Heights – a city known for its enclave of Asian and Hispanic immigrants. The tutorial lit up a new pathway for some families that had struggled to find a trustable educational environment to provide their children with extra help. At Khan’s Tutorial, they offer discounted packages for those with larger families and they try their best to meet the families’ needs. They have recently been providing students that have been been exceptional academically with scholarships in thousands of dollars to further aid them to get into good colleges. Since then, the family-led business has grown to 10 different locations: Brooklyn, Jamaica, Castle Hill, Ozone Park, Astoria, Richmond Hill, Floral Park, Parkchester, and Sutphin.

A short documentary on KT and its becomings

The Heart Behind the Structure

Many of the children who live in Jackson Heights can attribute part of their success to Khan’s Tutorial today. About a decade ago, it wasn’t all that common to see minorities receive spots in the specialized high schools. Now, it almost seems rather commonplace to see people of Asian background at such schools.

Around 3pm and 8pm on the weekends, one will often see a flourish of children of many backgrounds (primarily South Asian) rush out the doors underneath the blue Khan’s Tutorial sign. Some of the students who go there claim to see it as a second home where they can meet up with friends and learn things they weren’t able to fully comprehend at school.

On October 1st, 2014, Dr.Mansur Khan lost his battle to cancer and passed away. The grief was felt throughout the neighborhood and many residents around the area still remember the many signs on the ethnic grocery stores that hung around after his death.

Dr. Mansur Khan

However, this did not hinder the family’s upward movement as Dr.Ivan Khan took on his father’s role as the current President and CEO of the family company. This year alone, the tutorial was able to rack up a total of 391 total acceptances into specialized high schools. According to them, nearly 10% of those who were accepted to Bronx Science this year had attended Khan’s Tutorial for SHSAT practice.

The Reason its Heart Still Beats Today

Today, the business is run by Ivan Khan, the CEO of the company, and many others. The company claims to prize itself in its 250+ highly trained instructors and staff. The company has made it its mission to try to focus on underrepresented minorities of

KT Senior Team

the lower middle class and below by trying their best to tend to their needs. According to KT, they do this by “regularly provided discounted or pro bono test prep-tutoring services to select students who otherwise would not be able to afford classes”. In addition, the company says that they are continually updated their curricula and have even started creating their own SAT material to cater towards students already in high school.

One of Khan’s Tutorial’s ads from 2014-2015

The Children it Has Helped to Grow

Since 1994, Khan’s Tutorial claims to have helped over 2,610 students gain admission into these competitive schools. This year they were able to have “a record breaking 391 acceptances into Specialized High Schools”. In fact, 17% of Fall 2017’s incoming freshman class in Bronx High School of Science and 20% of Brooklyn Latin’s incoming freshman class will be made up of Khan’s Tutorial students. As seen in the New York Times article, “To Be Black at Stuyvesant High School”, Khan’s Tutorial has made a great impact on the lives of underrepresented low-income minority families. Additionally, the work of Khan’s Tutorial has led to Bengali becoming the second most spoken non-English language in the homes of Specialized High School students.

On April 29th, 2017, Khan’s Tutorial invited me to attend their Annual Awards Ceremony that celebrated 393 SHSAT accepted students along with many high school students that have deemed themselves outstanding within the KT program. It was held at Queen’s College’s large Colden Auditorium and had an extravagant turnout.


A video featuring a few students who have benefitted from the “Dr. Mansur Khan SHSAT Opportunity Scholarship”

Currently, the tutorial is working to offer scholarships, “the Dr.Mansur Khan SHSAT Opportunity Scholarship”, to underrepresented African Americans and Latinos that have excelled in their SHSAT classes at KT. By creating 9 more locations, several more programs (such as the High School Achievements Program and its upcoming nonprofit for mentoring future leaders) Khan’s hopes to continue to shave away at whatever is keeping minorities from achieving their best.


“Providing Common Core, SHSAT, & High School Tutoring services to NYC for 22 years.” Khan’s Tutorial. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Santos, Fernanda. “To Be Black at Stuyvesant High.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Feb. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

“Elite NYC schools wrestle with drop in black, Hispanic students.” Al Jazeera America. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

Iversen, Kristin, BK Mag Partner, Evan Romano, Sarah Zorn, and Juliann DiNicola. “Only Ten Black Students Were Offered a Spot at Stuyvesant High School This Year, But Is This Really a Problem?” Brooklyn Magazine. N.p., 01 Apr. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

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