February 24, 2015

Struggling students helped by tutoring grant

By Ellen Ciurczak, Staff Writer, The Hattiesburg American

Lamar County School District students who have not had the benefit of intensive tutoring are getting one-on-one and small group instruction thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Department of Education. The 21st Century grant is for five years, with $500,000 allocated for the first year.

“The criteria for a student to qualify is getting a minimal or basic on the MCT2 or Subject Area Test or be in the lower 25 percent in grades 6-12 or be a Subject Area Test retester or meet one or more of those criteria,” Sumrall High School Principal Sheila Kribbs said.

This is the first time students at Sumrall High and Sumrall Middle School have had the opportunity to be tutored because the schools do not get Title 1 money due to their small low-income populations. “This is a new opportunity for us,” Sumrall Middle School Principal Jamie Jones said. “We’re really excited about it.”

Tutoring is offered both during the school day and after school by certified teachers. Partnership with the YMCA provides staff to offer homework assistance, character education and recreation.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Funding,High School,K-8

February 16, 2015

Six districts to receive after-school program grants

By Sarah Hofius Hall, The Scranton Times-Tribune

Six area school districts will share nearly $1.2 million to offer after-school programs during the next three years. The federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, which was sought by the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit, will fund programs at the Blue Ridge, Forest City Regional, Mid Valley, Mountain View, Riverside and Scranton school districts. “We’re excited about it,” said Clarence Lamanna, Ed.D., NEIU executive director.

The NEIU will receive $397,050 a year, which is expected to continue for three years. Each school designs its own program that provides academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for students in fifth through eighth grades. Statewide, $23.1 million in federal funding was awarded to 64 school districts and community-based organizations in 29 counties for the first year of the grant. The goal of the program is to provide students in high-poverty, low-performing schools with additional high-quality academic opportunities.

At Mid Valley, the grant funds the after-school program, which not only provides sixth- through eighth-grade students with homework help, but also with a variety of enrichment and recreational activities. Mid Valley was one of three area districts to receive the grant during the last cycle. Up to 45 students can enroll in Mid Valley’s program, which is for three hours after school Monday through Thursday. After receiving academic help, students participate in activities like book club, science club or BMX bike club, which integrates a math curriculum.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Funding,K-8

November 10, 2014

$400K grant keeps Pottstown after-school program running

By Evan Brandt, The Mercury

Robin Romero, left, and fifth- and sixth-grade Principal Matthew Boyer help a student during the 21st Century after-school program at Pottstown Middle School. Photo Courtesy of Gail Cooper

An after-school and summer enrichment and tutoring program for Pottstown students will be continued and expanded as the result of a $400,000 grant award, Gov. Tom Corbett announced Monday. Funded through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, the state issued a total of $23.1 million to 64 school districts and community-based organizations in 29 counties across the state. In Montgomery County, the only other organization to receive a grant was the Norristown Area School District.

“This is very exciting,” said Pottstown Middle School Principal Gail Cooper, who heads up the building where much of the efforts have been focused for the past several years the program has been up and running. The grants come in three-year increments and this is the third time the district has been awarded a grant. This year, the application written by grants writer Sue Yocum calls for expanding the program into both the high school and elementary school levels.

Adding younger students

“Ever since we moved the fifth grade into the middle school, we have a lot of fifth and six graders arriving at school and hour early, because they come with their older brother or sister,” explained Matthew Boyer, principal of the fifth and sixth grade portions of the middle school.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Funding,Government,K-8

June 25, 2014

Literacy Volunteers Earns Tutor Training Grant

Originally published in the Dunn County News on 6/13/14

Literacy Volunteers Chippewa Valley (LVCV) was recently awarded an Eau Claire Community Foundation Grant in the amount of $7,317 for Top Tutor Training.

The Top Tutor Training funds will provide workshops and additional training opportunities for Literacy Volunteer tutors and staff. Specifically LVCV will present one 2-day Learning to Achieve training workshop and a series of four half-day Student Achievement in Reading (STAR) training. STAR is a comprehensive toolkit and training package built upon evidence-based reading instructional strategies.

STAR helps adult educators improve reading outcomes among intermediate-level (4-8th grade) learners. STAR features assessments on each component of reading, and provides explicit instruction that maximizes learners’ active engagement. Learning to Achieve is based on the most recent Learning Disabilities (LD) research. The purpose is to identify tools and techniques that effectively serve adults with LD. This training also addresses core concepts like self-advocacy and self-determination.

Last year, LVCV helped 542 students through core literacy programs in One-to-One Tutoring, Workplace Education, Corrections, GED, Citizenship and Family Literacy. In 2013, 216 volunteers logged 9,542 hours of tutoring. It is estimated that there are nearly 20,000 adults in our community living with low literacy, so many more tutors are needed. One of the goals of LVCV is to focus on recruitment and retention of volunteers.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Funding

September 20, 2013

Cuts in tutor funding spark creative solutions

Summary: As a result of the “Race to the Top Waiver” granted to Florida schools and the effects of the sequester, the Marion County School District has chosen to replace SES tutoring providers with a variety of solutions. Schools are hosting intervention paraprofessionals and math coaches as well and are hopeful that grants will support after-hours tutoring and enrichment.

By Joe Callahan, Staff writer, Ocala StarBanner, originally published 8/29/13

Last year at elementary schools countywide, the Marion County School District spent $1 million in federal funds to tutor 1,000 low-income students. This year, though the need is still great, there is not enough money to pay for the same tutoring program because of complicated federal funding issues.

This development has prompted the district to take some creative approaches to plug the financial hole and help these struggling students. District officials are adding intervention paraprofessionals and math coaches at the schools that need help the most, and also installing new computer software to assist students. At some schools, like Fessenden Elementary, officials vow to stretch the federal money they get to help low-income children.

This is all necessary because of two separate funding issues: Florida opting out of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act and the federal government’s sequester cuts. Last year, Florida education officials signed a “Race to the Top” waiver that, among other things, cut Title I tutoring dollars — known as Supplemental Educational Services (SES) funds — to districts. Because that tutoring money had been cut, Florida lawmakers forced school districts to set aside 15 percent of remaining federal Title I dollars to use for SES tutoring in 2012-13.

This spring, lawmakers did not require districts to set aside those Title I dollars for 2013-14. In fact, interim Commissioner Pam Stewart said districts do not have to use any of their shrinking Title I dollars for the SES tutoring.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Funding,NCLB

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