September 30, 2010

Free tutoring available for struggling Gainesville Middle School students

by Carolyn Crist, originally published in the Gainesville Times on 8/31/10

Gainesville Middle School students struggling with grades and test scores can get help for free. Under federal funding the school receives on a needs improvement list, each student struggling with math and reading skills who meet free and reduced lunch eligibility can get $1,575 in tutoring services.

“This is the third year we’ve done free tutoring, and after the first year, along with the efforts of teachers and staff, we barely missed (Adequate Yearly Progress) by two or three students,” said Matt Maynor, who organizes the services at the middle school.

Schools that don’t meet federal standards for two years face consequences and are placed on the needs improvement list, requiring them to offer additional programs such as after-school tutoring. A school must make AYP two years in a row to get off the list.

The middle school missed the mark for this year’s initial AYP results, marking the fifth consecutive year the school has fallen short by a handful of students. After summer test retakes, the school made the final AYP report in every subject and category of student. It can come off the needs improvement list if students with disabilities make AYP in math scores in 2011.

“Every student who qualifies for math, language and reading tutoring is given a base amount of money by the government to spend on tutoring,” Maynor told a large group of parents in the middle school’s media center Tuesday. Parents came to a tutoring fair to talk to seven local tutoring representatives and sign their children up for the program. “The providers send the bill to the school, and they let you know when you’ve reached the end of the limit.”

The different tutoring services align in four categories – an after-school program at the school, services that come to the student’s home, tutoring lessons at a business and online tutoring. Most of the online tutoring companies offer a laptop and Internet access for the student to take home.

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

September 24, 2010

GED holders get free educational services at Santa Fe

by Erin Rauch, originally published in the Independent Florida Alligator on 8/31/10

Any GED-holding student in his or her first semester at Santa Fe College is now eligible for free tutoring, mentoring and seminars through the Pathways to Persistence program.

The three-tiered program focuses on mentoring, tutoring and seminars. Each student starts with ten hours of tutoring, and additional hours are added as necessary.

Dan Rodkin, director of Student Life at SFC, said free tutoring is provided throughout the student’s first semester. Additional tutoring programs are available for successive semesters.

Tutor Matching Services, a Gainesville start-up company that uses a Facebook application to match students with tutors, is arranging the tutoring and mentoring for SFC.

Rodkin said there are 23 registered mentors and more than 100 tutors in the system.

Dr. Angela Long, student life and activities coordinator, said 40 percent of the GED population at SFC drops out in the first semester. She said the first couple weeks of the pilot program are critical to the success rates of these students since most drop out within the first two weeks.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College,Peer-Tutoring

September 15, 2010

OSU a finalist for grant to fund tutor training

By Encarcion Pyle, originally published in The Columbus Dispatch on 8/6/09

Ohio State University could receive nearly $46 million in federal money to train thousands of teachers nationwide in a tutoring method to help low-achieving students read and write.

The Columbus campus is one of 49 colleges, school districts and charitable groups across the country to be selected as a finalist for funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s $650 million Investing in Innovation fund. Ohio State will work with a network of 16 other universities.

To receive the federal money, Ohio State and its partners will have to come up with a 20 percent private match – about $9 million – by Sept. 8 or be granted a waiver.

“Investing in students’ education today will provide our nation with the skilled work force needed for the 21st-century economy,” Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement yesterday after the announcement.

Ohio State plans to show 3,750 teachers how to use the Reading Recovery tutoring model to improve the skills of first-graders who have difficulty reading and writing. These students typically are in the lowest 20 percent of their class.

“There are children who without an intervention of some kind would doubtfully become readers,” said Patricia Scharer, a professor at OSU’s School of Teaching and Learning.

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Filed under: Government,Pedagogy

September 7, 2010

State funds routed to Reader’s Route

By Mike Helenthal, originally published in the Commercial-News on 8/3/10

The coordinator of the Danville area’s Readers Route program hopes a funding promise from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office will soon be followed by a bona fide check.

Coordinator Scott Heatherton said he received notification recently the office of Secretary of State Jesse White had approved a grant of $52,000 for the local program, which will help take it into its 26th year of operation.

“The secretary of state has been good to us over the years,” Heatherton said, “and Danville Area Community College has been good to us. President (Alice) Jacobs has shown a strong commitment to adult literacy in this area.”

The Reader’s Route Adult Literacy Project is part of the Adult Education program at DACC. It is funded by both the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Community College board and matches volunteer tutors with students to provide learn-to-read training, English as a second language services, math assistance and help earning GED certificates.

The program is made possible by 49 volunteer tutors who served 179 clients in 2010 and is further funded by proceeds from the annual Scrabble tournament played on the college campus.

Heatherton said he has been cautiously optimistic about this year’s state funding, which comes in the midst of a state budget crunch and a month after the end of the fiscal year. He said he is taking the same attitude in waiting to receive the money.

“Nothing ever seems totally firmed up,” he said. “The General Assembly still has to release the funds. We’re always cautious, but we’re always optimistic.”

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Filed under: Community,Government

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