April 26, 2011

No Child Left Behind wavering sparks waivers debate

By Alexandra Rice, originally published in  The Daily Caller on 04/14/20

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is considering whether to grant waivers to No Child Left Behind Act provisions that fund for after-school tutoring, which some education advocates say would harm students in already failing schools but others support as a smarter way to use federal funds.

Some school districts are requesting the waivers to redirect funds from supplemental education services, such as tutoring, to other spending areas of their choice. Proponents of the waivers say students aren’t using the tutoring services, and funds could be better utilized in other ways.

At a panel discussion on Capitol Hill Wednesday, former Florida Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair said he thought some superintendents in his state wanted to do away with the tutoring programs so they wouldn’t be held accountable for any failing students.

“Their inability to deliver,” Fair said, “makes them want to do away with things that expose that inability to deliver.”

Under title I of No Child Left Behind 20 percent of funding from the law is directed toward services for improving the academic achievement of low-income students.

In late February the Department of Education granted the first broad-based waiver covering the entire No Child Left Behind Act to the McPherson Unified school district in Kansas. But so far the Obama administration has not approved any waivers for the specific supplemental education services provision.

Click here to read the full article.

Filed under: NCLB

April 20, 2011

Three Principles for Tutors Seeking Success with Parents and Teachers

The following article was excerpted from the Advanced section of the Crossroads of Learning Tutoring Foundations Online Training and Classroom Workbook tutor training programs.

  • Trust45378272_white_man_with_ethnic_woman_pointing_at_computer.thb
  • Effective Communication
  • Empathy

Success in Parent-Tutor and Teacher (Faculty)-Tutor is predicated on three main principles: Trust, Effective Communication, and Empathy.  These principles serve as strong pillars for any effective, credible and productive professional relationship. Healthy relationships constructed on these three pillars stretch across gender, socio-economic lines, racial divides, political differences, and sexual orientation.  On this premise, the tutor must participate in professional development activities that reinforce the elements of trust, effective communication, and empathy.


How do we gain the trust of parents and teachers?  Parents and teachers have different concerns, needs, feelings, values, principles, perspectives, perceptions, goals, interests, and the like.  In general, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Therefore, tutors demonstrate their respect for the parent or teacher by taking the time to note and acknowledge the parent’s or teacher’s, concerns, needs, feelings, values, perspectives, perceptions, etc.

The Parent-Teacher and Parent-Tutor relationships are very similar.  Both the teacher and tutor are trained and participate in professional development, etc.  However, the tutor differs from the classroom educator because during individual tutor sessions, the tutor uses his/her training and unearths the intricacies of the student’s individual needs, learning style, learning preferences, and abilities. Communication of such relevant information builds the parent’s trust in the tutor as that tutor demonstrates competency with helping the student reach higher academic goals.

Effective Communication

What is effective Communication?  Habit number five in Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People summarizes effective communication – “Seek first to understand and then to be understood” (1989, p. 237). This premise requires that an effective communicator consider a perspective other than their own.

Chambers (1990, p.26) notes two critical components of communication:

  1. The content of the delivered message, and
  2. The emotional impact of the message on the receiver.

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Tutoring Practices

April 13, 2011

Volunteer Tutoring for Academic Credit

By Rachel Milkovich, originally published in the GW Hatchett on 4/11/11

Students in professor Phyllis Ryder’s class do more than just fulfill their University Writing requirement. They have taken up her call to service and volunteered across the District as tutors, counselors and day-care providers.

In Ryder’s UW class, “Writing for Social Change,” she requires her students to volunteer with various organizations throughout the semester. During the course of their volunteer work, the students interview a fellow volunteer, using their experiences to create a final project which recommends means of improvements to the organization.

Ryder explained that including regular volunteer work with a community service organization is a new addition to the course’s lesson plan. “We were writing about, but weren’t actually doing what we were saying was so important,” Ryder said. Not every student at GW has the experience of or exposure to volunteering, as one of Ryder’s students explained. “I think GW students want to make and see a change, but I don’t know if they always take the steps,” said Asianna Joyce.

Volunteer coordinators at each organization matched students in the UW course with volunteers whom they believed would benefit their organization the most from being profiled.

“You can really make a difference by just being there,” freshman Ariel Young said about her counterpart, senior Melissa Henderson, at the Higher Achievement Program, an academic enrichment program that provides tutoring and mentoring services to at-risk youth.

Click here to read the full story.

Filed under: Community,Leadership

April 8, 2011

Writing center tutoring provides real-world experiences for future teachers

Originally published on 4/4/11 by AS News

As partnerships go, the ASU-Metro Tech Writing Center is getting high marks for innovation and creativity, benefitting high school students, teachers and university students preparing to enter teaching professions.

The newly created program brings Arizona State University education majors and ASU Downtown Phoenix students to Metro Tech High School to provide one-on-one tutoring for students, assisting English teachers with struggling writers while affording the university students preparing for teacher careers real-world classroom experiences.

The ASU-Metro Tech Writing Center, which opened in mid-February, will be in action and on display at 9 a.m., April 11, to introduce the program to media and invited guests.

Developed by ASU’s Jim Blasingame, English education professor; Barbara Lafford, faculty head of languages and cultures; and Evie Cortes-Pletenik, Metro Tech assistant principal, the Writing Center is a separate technology equipped room in the library complex staffed by ASU students, most of whom are future teachers, to raise the writing skills of Metro’s students by providing tutoring on individual assignments.

The ASU students receive credit hours and fulfill field experience requirements for their teaching degrees. While Metro Tech English teachers are working with 150 to 180 students a day, they are not always able to conference individually on specific areas, but they can assign students to the Writing Center during the class time for focused instruction.

“It is wonderful to see how this ASU-MetroTech Writing Center partnership has grown from our downtown faculty’s initial visit to MetroTech last year,” Lafford said. “The success of this initiative is a testimony to the combined creative energies of Dr. Jim Blasingame from Tempe, the faculty at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, the ASU Tempe and downtown students involved in the project, the MetroTech faculty and administration, and the MetroTech students who have sought and received guidance on their writing.”

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School


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