July 28, 2009

Nonprofit Honored for Revolutionary Approach to Tutoring

by Inga Buchbinder, originally posted on 7/4/09 in New American Media

New Media Editor’s Note: Founded in 1999 by Brazilian-born Luis Santana, Reading and Beyond started working with 30 children, tutoring them on literacy and reading comprehension. Over the past decade, the organization has expanded to helping over 700 students each day as well as families in 16 different centers throughout Fresno County.

FRESNO, Calif. – A non-profit organization founded to tutor Fresno County’s underprivileged students celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special gift: a Leadership Award and $125,000 from the James Irvine Foundation.

Founded in 1999 by Brazilian-born Luis Santana, Reading and Beyond started working with 30 children, tutoring them on literacy and reading comprehension. Over the past decade, the organization has expanded to helping over 700 students each day as well as families in 16 different centers throughout Fresno County.

What made Reading and Beyond unique from other literacy programs is the inclusion of parents, schools and community in encouraging and enabling students to be the best.

“Santana decided that if parents couldn’t come to his classroom, he would take his classroom to them,” a statement on the Irvine Foundation’s Web site read. “He secured funding for a recreational vehicle that he outfitted with tables and chairs. Reading and Beyond parked the RV at supermarkets and apartment complexes, churches and schools — wherever was most convenient for parents.”

The Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards recognize California leaders who are advancing innovative and effective solutions to significant issues in the state.

Santana, who is also Reading and Beyond’s executive director said that all he had in mind at the inception of organization was to help and impact lives. “One of the qualifications to be a leader is to care about others, look for the big picture and to assist others to be their best,” Santana said.

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Leadership

July 20, 2009

Tutor cash helps make ends meet

By Nicole Williams, originally published 7/3/09 in The Sacramento Bee

"Vsyo boodet harasho." It doesn’t translate into a solution for California’s economic woes, but teaching Russian is helping one Citrus Heights resident survive the recession. Irina Galchemko, an Uzbekistan immigrant who lost her cell phone sales job over a year ago, teaches "not just language but also culture" to her students, whom she meets at local bookstores and coffee shops. Picking up $25 an hour for her tutoring work, Galchemko is among a growing number of out-of-work – or under-worked – Americans turning to part-time jobs to make ends meet.

The number working part time for economic reasons in June was 9 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the start of the recession, that number has increased by 4.4 million. Career specialists tout tutoring as a way to fill the pay gap after a layoff and bide time until a job surfaces.

"Not only does it help bring in some income, but it can … increase self-esteem during a period when a lack of confidence in one’s abilities can be an issue," said Davis-based career counselor Andrea Weiss, who has recommended tutoring to laid-off teachers, writers, even scientists.

And for college students or graduates facing a bleak job market, tutoring can be a fallback position.

Click here to read more…

Filed under: Small Private Practices

July 13, 2009

No Faith in No Child Left Behind Tutoring

By Allison Davis, originally posted on 4/27/09 in MissionLocal

Once again students in San Francisco’s public schools are sitting down this week to statewide tests. As in other years, many in low-performing schools have been tutored since January by one of more than a dozen companies that earn $1,442 per student.

Teachers and administrators in the Mission District schools, however, said the tutoring is unlikely to make a difference in test scores. “I think tutoring, the way it’s set up, is not as effective as it can be. It’s very disconnected from the school and the curriculum,” said Adelina Aramburo, principal of Cesar Chavez Elementary for the last three years. Aramburo and others said tutoring fails for a number of reasons, among them a lack of coordination between tutors and teachers, and, with one to three hours a week, the too few hours of tutoring that students are offered.

Low-income students become eligible for Supplemental Education Services (SES) funds if their school fails to meet improvement targets set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Cesar Chavez has failed to meet those targets for six years in a row, making it among the worst-scoring schools in the district. Three of the five other Mission District elementary schools have also failed to meet their targets for more than four years—Leonard R. Flynn Elementary, Marshall Elementary and Bryant Elementary. George R. Moscone Elementary and the bilingual immersion school Buena Vista are the only two Mission District elementary schools not in Program Improvement.

Click here for more of this story…

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Admin/Management,NCLB

July 6, 2009

Students + cash = packed tutoring

BY Kathleen McGrory, The Miama Herald, originally published 6/9/09

Marquevia Bethel didn’t go to Saturday school for the money. But the $420 she earned by attending the tutoring sessions certainly didn’t hurt. ”I love the money!” said Marquevia, a freshman at Miami Central Senior High. “My mother wants me to spend it on school clothes, but I want to buy myself a laptop computer.”

She added: “The education part was good, too.”

Marquevia was one of nearly 3,500 Miami-Dade students who attended the Success Academy, a series of tutoring sessions offered on Saturdays and over the winter recess. She and her classmates received a financial incentive for attending: $10 per session for elementary school students, and $30 per session for high schoolers. The money was deposited into bank accounts set up for each student by the school district. Their collective earnings: a whopping $764,000, all donated by corporate sponsors.

”It’s awesome,” said Shavonne Griffin, a sixth-grader at Liberty City Elementary who earned $140. “I’m going to buy clothes and shoes, definitely.”

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho created the Success Academy this fall to help students at nine of the district’s lowest-performing schools.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School

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