November 30, 2010

Tutoring program a win-win for students and teachers

by Chyna Broadnax, originally published in the Statesville Record and Landmark on 10/8/10

Statesville High School student Jasmine Fair is thankful she has the opportunity to help middle school students. Their teacher is more than happy for the extra pair of hands Fair provides in the busy classroom, as well. Fair is part of a new tutoring program through Statesville High and Statesville Middle schools that offers upperclassman the chance to get hands-on learning in a professional environment.

Once a week, SHS students visit the middle school for nearly three hours to help tutor students and act as teacher assistants. The high school students help grade papers and assist with other classroom work and tutor the sixth- through eighth-grade students. “I really like it,” Fair said. “I enjoy it a lot. It’s a great experience.”

Fair, 17, works with middle school teacher Phyllis Chunn-Duncan. She said tutoring complements her studies in the early childhood education course she’s taking at SHS. Chunn-Duncan said Fair is professional and quiet in her approach. The partnership between the high school and middle school is a “tremendous assistance,” Chunn-Duncan said. “It gives students an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the classroom and see professionals at work,” she said.

Sixth-grader Camryn Edwards, 11, said it feels good to have someone in the classroom she can relate to.  “She’s been where we are and she knows what it’s like and she can help us,” she said of Fair.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8,Peer-Tutoring

November 22, 2010

Demand for peer tutoring increases

by Jennifer Smola, originally published in The Miami Student on 10/1/10

According to reports presented at the Sept. 24 board of trustees meeting, Miami University is experiencing an increased demand for individual tutoring services.

Staff at the Rinella Learning Center have witnessed the increase, according to Cortney Totty, the tutorial assistance program coordinator at the center. “We’ve noticed a steady incline over the past three to four years,” Totty said. Last year, the Rinella Learning Center provided more than 25,000 hours of tutoring and other academic services to Miami students, and the staff is anticipating the number to grow this year.

According to Totty, the learning center has seen mostly first and second-year students utilizing their services, and those coming to the learning center seem to be proactive about getting assistance. “Many students recognize that they need assistance early, which is a good thing,” Totty said. “They see that they’re having issues early on.”

Specifically, tutoring requests for mechanical engineering, computer science and computer programming courses have increased, Totty said. The Rinella Learning Center provides various types of academic assistance, which are included in students’ yearly fees.

Tutors are available as well as “supplemental instruction,” which offers regular out-of-class sessions led by students who have taken the course and have a good understanding of the material. Though supplemental instruction is generally only offered for traditionally difficult high enrollment classes, the learning center also helps students create study groups with their peers for classes where supplemental instruction is not offered, Totty said.

A recent article in The New York Times, “Deficiencies in Public Schools” by Sandy Stotsky, reports the use of supplementary tutoring programs has been increasing among high school-age students as well. While Totty doesn’t necessarily agree there is a correlation between the increased demand at high schools and at Miami, she suspects the increase might have something to do with the university’s top 25 initiative. The program restructures high enrollment classes in order to more actively engage students in learning.

To read more click here.

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

November 15, 2010

Bridgeport could get $1m for after-school tutoring

by Linda Conner Lambeck, originally published in newstimes.com on 9/24/10

The city school system has gotten into the after-school tutoring business.

It may sound strange that it wouldn’t be, but until January 2009 — under the No Child Left Behind Act — federal money to help tutor students at low performing schools excluded school districts. Instead, private companies, community groups and even the city’s Lighthouse after-school program, began competing to offer the tutoring. Up for grabs is nearly $2.4 million of the district’s federal Title I money.

Since the law changed, several districts have applied to the state to offer the service and reclaim some of that money. So far, only Hamden and Bridgeport have won approval, said Michelle Rosado, a consultant with the state Department of Education who oversees the program.

Bridgeport, through something it calls the Bridgeport Academy of Learning, started out in a small way, offering tutoring at three schools last spring.

“It’s a massive undertaking,” said Kathleen Flynn, manager of the district’s priority school programs. It may also generate extra funding for the district.

This year, with a newly hired director, the academy has ramped up to offer literacy tutoring to up to 500 students at 21 schools. Charging $50 an hour for up to 40 hours of tutoring per child, the district hopes to recoup as much as $1 million of that grant money.

Terese Martorella, the director of the program, used to be a remedial reading specialist at Edison School. “Since we’re a nonprofit, all the money goes back to the district,” said Martorella. “Our intention is to see if we can become a viable company, using mostly our teachers and our staff. We know our curriculum and we know what is expected of students. We feel we can best service the children.” The district is also offering students transportation home, something most of the other providers don’t.

The new service puts the district in direct competition with the city’s Lighthouse program — which is authorized to offer reading and math tutoring for up to 700 students — as well as the Diocese of Bridgeport, Sylvan Learning Center, One on One Learning, Open Doors Learning Center, Professional Tutors of America, Smarties Tutoring Service, Academic Power 4 Kids, A+ Learning Headquarters and Global Partnership Schools. All have been competing for the attention of parents at open-house nights. The city also under undertook a billboard campaign this fall to help woo parents.

To read more click here.

Filed under: NCLB

November 4, 2010

Almost 10 Years Later, Has No Child Left Behind Lost Its Bite?

by John Mooney, originally published in NJ Spotlight on 9/23/10

As mandated by No Child Left Behind, the federal law signed by former President George W. Bush in 2001, notices are going out this month to New Jersey school districts and students’ families. The message was once considered crucial: Did a school make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or was it labeled “in need of improvement.”

But as more and more schools get added to the needs improvement list, and the yearly benchmarks for AYP schools get higher, the announcements may have lost some of their urgency.

Essentially, the law requires schools to demonstrate that all its students are proficient in language arts and math, including those with special needs, minorities, and low income. Proficiency benchmarks go up every year, with the goal being 100 percent proficiency by 2014. And missing even one out of 40 categories puts a school on the list.

Off the List and On

West Orange will see its high school fall off the improvement list for the first time in seven years. The town’s Hazel Avenue School is making its debut — two years after winning a national Blue Ribbon Award.

A school’s status is almost entirely determined by state test scores. The elementary school fell short in three of 40 required categories: language arts scores of special-needs students, Hispanic and low-income students.

But while there was celebration in the high school and some chagrin in Hazel Avenue, the school’s communications officer said there isn’t the public emotion there once was over a school’s status.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Government,NCLB

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