June 29, 2010

Detroit Reading Corps tutors are making a difference to kids already

by Chastity Pratt Dawsey, Free Press Education Writer, originally published in the Detroit Free Press on 5/21/10

Armed with reading materials, 68-year-old Pat McGuire entered a bustling classroom at Robinson Academy on Detroit’s east side, turned to 5-year-old Zariha Steele and asked her what she likes do.

The quiet preschooler hesitated. Then said she likes her Barbie. They chatted some more, and so began what could become a five-year journey together as McGuire read her a book about animals.

• PHOTOS: Reading volunteers

• EDITORIAL: Detroit’s reading disaster should make all adults squirm

• RELATED STORY: Scores on test trigger plan to change what DPS teaches

• COMPLETE COVERAGE: Volunteers sought for Detroit Schools Reading Corps

• PDF: The Nation’s Report Card (10.6MB PDF)

Afterward, Zariha’s awestruck teacher, Myra Jefferson, told McGuire his visit was the first time all year that the reticent preschooler responded to an adult. McGuire is a tutor with the DPS Reading Corps, a regional effort that has attracted more than 5,400 volunteers to help Detroit students learn to read.

After four months of training, screenings and juggling an enormous response from people in 130 municipalities, an estimated 1,875 volunteers have started to work.

Drucilla Wilson, 52, is among them. The Detroit resident said she believes it will make a difference. “It’s so exciting to see the brightness in their eyes as you are reading to them,” she said.

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Filed under: Admin/Management,Community,K-8

June 23, 2010

Princeton Review ends free tutoring program

by Associated Press, originally published in boston.com on 5/19/10

FRAMINGHAM — Test prep and online learning company Princeton Review Inc. said yesterday it will no longer offer its free after-school tutoring program once the current school year ends.

The company said it will close certain program offices and offer severance to full-time employees. The company didn’t state how many jobs will be affected.

Calls to the company were not immediately returned.

Princeton Review said it will incur about $2.6 million in expenses for the quarters ended June 30 and Sept. 30 relating to lease termination and layoffs.

The company said “recent philosophical changes at the state and federal levels have significantly altered the landscape’’ for such programs and hurt growth opportunities.

The program, called Supplemental Educational Services, worked with about 100 school districts across the country to create free tutoring services for students. The decision does not affect Princeton Review’s test preparation business.

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Filed under: Admin/Management,Commercial

June 16, 2010

Mo. School Cuts May End Tutoring Program

Originally published on kmbc.com on 4/8/10

Thursday, a Missouri State Senate committee approved plans to cut $500 million from the state budget.

KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney reported that the cuts will include a program that pays teachers to stay after school to help students.

Administrators across the state are still trying to assess the impact of the cuts. One of the biggest cuts will remove the incentive of nearly $3,000 to $5,000 a year to tutor students after school.

Paul Harrell is the chief financial officer for the North Kansas City School District – the largest district on the Missouri side of the metro area. NKC will lose more than $2 million due to the cuts.

“Today’s April 8,” said Harrell. “We have to make these budget cuts fit by the end of June.”

The problem is that the state’s complex school formula doesn’t treat all districts equally during the recession-fueled budget crunch. Some will be cut hard, and some will not be touched by this round of cuts.

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Filed under: Government,High School,K-8

June 6, 2010

Former student turns quest to find tutoring into business

by Sheri Gassaway, originally published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on 3/30/10

As a Clayton High School honors student, Charles “Chuck” Cohn struggled to find a tutor to help him with several of his advanced placement and honors classes. He sought help from national tutoring firms, local university department heads and some of his friends who had used tutors. However, he could not find a personal tutor to help him with all four subjects.

“It’s tough to find tutors in advanced subjects,” Cohn said. “The national firms don’t offer one-on-one tutoring in specific subjects and when I did find a tutor, he was only able to tutor me in one subject.”

As undergraduate student at Washington University in 2007, Cohn took an entrepreneur course. He recalled the trouble he had finding a personal tutor to help him with multiple subjects and used that idea as part of a class project.

“I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 6 years old,” he said. “I came up with a lot of mediocre ideas, but realized from my experience that high-end tutoring would help fill a substantial need, and it was scalable.”

At the beginning of the course, Cohn created a website for his new business endeavor, called Varsity Tutors, and hired two friends as tutors. The group contacted local middle and high schools about providing one-on-one tutoring services.

“The feedback we received from the first two clients was great,” Cohn said. “We completely booked our first two tutors, and by the end of the course, we had hired seven or eight more tutors.”

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Filed under: Admin/Management,Commercial


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