April 27, 2009

National Community Literacy Leadership Conference

Tutors play a significant role in community literacy organizations and this conference focuses on the current economic crisis – with panels discussions on workforce and training issues around the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Conference organizer is Literacy Powerline. Phone: 979.289.5175. Thursday, June 11, 2009 – Saturday, June 13, 2009. Hyatt Regency Buffalo NY. For more info visit www.literacypowerline.com.

On the final day of the conference, literacy leaders from across the country will gather for a "Right To Literacy Convention". They will debate and vote on resolutions that will become a platform to organize for system change. Regional delegates will represent their constituent groups at the Convention, in the tradition of the famous 1848 Women’s Rights Seneca Falls Convention. The committee welcomes others who want to help shape this historic event. Contact Margery Freeman 718.918.2716 or margeryfreeman@yahoo.com with your interest.

Filed under: Leadership

April 20, 2009

Students in Urban Schools get big Boost From Pioneering Tutor Program

by Jane Lampman, for The Christian Science Monitor, originally published on 4/8/09

Comprehension and other critical skills improve dramatically with one-on-one help from Experience Corps’ volunteers, a new study shows.

Nearly a dozen children bustle into the classroom on a Monday morning, each slipping into a chair next to a waiting older adult, sharing a smile and greetings. The pairs quickly get to work, diving into the texts of their current books.

Karla Santana reads aloud to her tutor, Pat Patricelli, from "The Schoolyard Mystery." The two have worked together since fall, and the once-struggling fourth- grader now proclaims that she likes to read "because I learn things and it is fun."

Blackstone Elementary School in Boston is in its third year of working with volunteers from Experience Corps (EC), a program that engages adults 55 and over in tutoring children who lag far behind in reading. Founded in 1995, Experience Corps has grown to serve more than 20,000 children in 23 US cities.

A two-year study released today by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis finds that students with Experience Corps tutors make 60 percent more progress in critical reading skills, including comprehension, than similar children not in the program.

Perhaps even more remarkably, the results are the same regardless of gender, ethnicity, grade level, classroom behavior, or English proficiency.

"Given how hard it is to improve reading of low-proficiency students, I was really impressed with the findings," says Nancy Morrow-Howell, independent lead researcher from the university. "The numbers told us that Experience Corps has statistically significant and substantially important effects on reading."

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Government,Tutoring Practices

April 11, 2009

With Math, Tutor Steve Sall Discovers Meaningful Life

by Melissa Navas, The Oregonian. Originally published in OregonLive.com on 4/10/09.

A math guy all his life, Steve Sall wanted to "solve for X" in his own life equation.

After 20 years at Intel, Sall set out on a quest to make a difference in his community.

Retirement gave the avid hiker free time to explore Oregon’s wilderness, one of his favorite pastimes. But he was eager to volunteer. First, he helped with the Boy Scouts, then wrote newsletters for Hoyt Arboretum. He wasn’t satisfied.

That’s when Sall’s meandering trail for purpose led him to Aloha High School in 2002, the same year his son, David, enrolled as a freshman and joined the band. An affable guy with more acuity for calculus than compositions, Sall became an active band parent but was always looking for other ways to lend a hand.

One day, at a school meeting, Sall learned students weren’t doing their homework. The salt-and-pepper haired man who once solved complex computer equations saw his chance. Soon, he was at the school every day, forming a peer tutoring program.

Then Sall asked counselors to pair him with struggling math students, including failing seniors on the verge of not graduating. Once again, Sall was at the school every day working one-on-one with students.

For more of this story, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School,Peer-Tutoring

April 4, 2009

Overton Honored for Peer Tutoring Program

By Suzanne Normand Blackwood, THE TENNESSEAN, originally published 4/1/09

NASHVILLE — Overton High School was recently recognized by the state for the success of its peer math-tutoring program.

The program was established by senior guidance counselor Joy Guss to improve Overton’s graduation rate and academic success. It pairs seniors who have advanced math skills with freshmen and sophomores taking Algebra 1.

Guss said the number of students passing Honors Algebra 1 was significantly higher than that of the standard Algebra 1 classes.

So last year she conducted a pilot program, recruiting rising seniors to become tutors. The tutors participated in a training session and had to have letters of recommendation to participate.

Guss said the program has been provided a data-driven way of assessing student performance. She even included a couple of control groups, since there are so many variables that could influence the results.

"I’ve been trying to keep the data clean," she said.

While the passing grades of those in the control groups went up slightly, Guss’ numbers showed a 14 percent increase in passing grades by standard Algebra 1 students who received tutoring,

For more of this article, please click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School,Peer-Tutoring

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