September 29, 2009

Virtual tutoring now offered in high school

by Pat Lee, Staff Reporter, Nova Scotia News – the chroniclehearald.ca, originally published on 9/3/09

African-N.S. students helped with science, math

A program designed to help Nova Scotia students of African descent do better in math and science has a new way to reach out to them.

Imhotep’s Legacy Academy has launched a virtual tutoring program that will allow science and math tutors at Dalhousie University help high school students across the province without having to leave the Halifax campus.

Program director Emmanuel Nfonoyim said the pilot project is being launched at Citadel High in Halifax, Cole Harbour High and Prince Andrew High in Dartmouth, Sydney Academy, Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro and Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High. He said the program will help about 15 students per school. "I’ve been all across the province and everyone’s really looking forward to having this support for their kids," Mr. Nfonoyim said.

A learning centre has been set up at Dalhousie and computers with a webcam and video conferencing software will be in the schools or in students’ homes. Lt.-Gov. Mayanne Francis is scheduled to launch the learning centre at a luncheon today at Dalhousie University. This is the first time the four-year-old program has offered help to high school students.

Up until now, the project has offered support to about 90 junior high students across the province in after-school programs. Mr. Nfonoyim said it was time to extend that help to the higher grades, especially where students are taking more difficult college-track courses in math and science. "We’re very eager to continue our support right through Grade 12, thereby increasing the chances for a better outcome for the students," he said. The virtual tutoring program is for high school students only.

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Distance Learning,Pedagogy

September 22, 2009

Huntsville Public Library Turns Away Paid Private Tutors

MADISON COUNTY, AL – Tutor trouble is brewing at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. The argument concerns whether or not paid private tutors should be allowed to help students there, if parents choose the library as the meeting location.

WHNT NEWS 19 attended the library’s board meeting on Wednesday afternoon. However, our video camera was not welcome. "This is Channel 19, right? You are allowed in our meeting, but not for purposes of filming," said Board Chairman Lady Shivers Tucker. Tucker called the meeting to order and immediately introduced a motion to ask us to turn our camera off. All the board members, except one, voted in favor. Cutter Hughes abstained from the vote.

WHNT NEWS 19 complied with the board’s request in this case, but we did stay for the meeting, however. Next on the agenda, Glenn Clayton with Appleton Learning, a referral service that matches up private tutors with students who need help in various subjects. Clayton wants the tutors he matches with student clients to be allowed to use the library to meet. He says his tutors are happy to meet with students anywhere, but families often request the library because of the quiet environment, and because resources are plentiful.

In April, the library board passed a policy banning people from meeting with paid tutors at the public library. Clayton says this happened after another larger tutoring service complained. "Appleton is the largest tutoring referral service in the area, and we’ve gotten involved because we feel like we are the only folks who can really lend a voice to all the families impacted by this, 400 families who are impacted by this immediately," said Clayton. Clayton says families also choose the library to meet, because they may not have computers at home. He said his tutoring referral service is also more affordable, at $25 an hour, than some of the other companies who charge $70 or more per hour.

One Madison mother says she’s affected by the library’s change. Her son has met with a tutor at the public library for years, but now she feels like the library is turning its back on her son. The mother told WHNT NEWS 19 she was actually turned away after another tutoring company complained. Pam Genter, a single mother, worked with a tutor during her time in school. Now, she sees that her two children get the same kind of help with their studies. "Some children out there need a tutor to be able to know how to study," said Genter. "For some, studying doesn’t come naturally."

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Small Private Practices

September 13, 2009

Tutoring service is ready for back-to-school

By Brenda Hawkins, Collier Citizen, originally published August 19, 2009

Dan Allen considers himself a bit of maverick in his business.

“There are about 400 of these Club Z franchises across the country,” he explains. “The easy formula is to hire tutors that are all certified (as teachers) and then say you offer the best there is. But, usually when a parent comes to you and says, ‘My child is lazy. He’s got the ability, but he’s just not doing the work,’ there are other issues involved.”

So, Allen looks for tutors who are both motivating and inspiring.

“It might be a high school honor student or someone who had problems as a student who turned themselves around,” he says. “I look for tutors who are role models, who can deal with issues beyond academics. They have to be experienced, not necessarily certified, to help one child deal with attention deficit, a divorce in their life, having had three teachers in a year or some other trauma in their life. Ironically, I wasn’t a very successful student. Maybe if I’d had a tutor when I was in school, my life would have been different.”

Allen’s database contains some 200 tutors throughout Lee and Collier counties, waiting to assist Southwest Florida students in everything from math to music. “We tutor those facing learning challenges, but we also tutor gifted students who want to be able to achieve more,” he says. “Our goal is to develop lifelong learners and give kids the skills to become successful.”

Tutors are matched with prospective students based on location, age, availability, subject area and sometimes, gender. All come with spotless references and credentials and must prove their capability in the content areas they teach through testing and interviews.

Students, and the subjects in which they need or want help, cover a broad spectrum, according to Allen, ranging from a two-and-a-half-year-old who was learning Spanish and piano, to a 70-year-old who wanted to learn to play the organ.

Allen says some standout areas of tutoring aren’t necessarily academic. A proprietary study skills program teaches how to succeed in the classroom, including things such as listening, note-taking, memorization, time management strategies, organization and test- taking. A leadership program that begins with an attitude and aptitude survey gives tutors a handle on what students are thinking, as well as what their abilities are.

“Then we work to change or improve or strengthen their perceptions,” said Allen. “Students get better grades as a result of goal setting. It’s self leadership. If you know where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, others will follow.”

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Small Private Practices

September 6, 2009

Who’s Getting Rich off “No Child Left Behind”?

by Ward Schaefer, originally published in the Jackson Free Press on August 5, 2009

In a fenced-in complex of buildings sandwiched between Capitol and Amite streets, a small tutoring business is making big money. Gray & Associates, an education company owned by Terry Police Chief Juan Gray, made $1.3 million last year for tutoring a little more than 1,000 Jackson middle schoolers. The money came out of a $16 million pot funded by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, one of former President George W. Bush’s most durable domestic legacies.

The landmark education law was a triumph for what some called the “standards and accountability” movement, a group of education reformers hoping to shake up unresponsive school bureaucracies by introducing the no-excuses, competitive attitude of private business. The law requires states to test students regularly and measure students’ and schools’ progress carefully, paying specific attention to minority groups.

“They shone a very bright light on the data achievement gap, which I think was absolutely necessary,” said Susan Womack, executive director of Parents for Public Schools Greater Jackson. “We’ve not fixed that, yet, but we can’t deny it any more.”

If schools fail to meet annual academic progress targets, the law gives states the ability to institute significant reforms, like allowing students to transfer to better-performing schools and paying for private tutoring services after school. By requiring regular, high-stakes tests and tutoring at low-performing schools, No Child Left Behind created a bonanza for private companies. Tutoring, especially, became big business after 2001, and it’s poised to get bigger. That growth is good for companies, but for students, it’s had mixed results.

“There’s a lot about No Child Left Behind that’s good in theory that’s not practical on the ground,” Womack said.

Click here to read more.

Filed under: NCLB

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