September 29, 2011

High school students defy expectations through Stanford College Prep tutoring experience

By Robin Migdol, originally published on 8/2/11 in the Stanford University News

Not many high school students can boast that they’ve already lived in a Stanford University residence hall for three weeks by the time they reach their sophomore year. Or that they have their own Stanford undergraduate mentor devoted to helping them navigate the complex world of college applications.

But for teens participating in Stanford College Prep (SCP) it’s all part of their high school experience.

Similar in mission to East Palo Alto Stanford Academy, which helps seventh- and eighth-graders prepare for high school, Stanford College Prep (SCP) aims to get students in the ninth to 12th grades eligible for and accepted to college, through school-year tutoring and workshops and a summer residential program at Stanford. “It’s about getting them to that next step,” said SCP Director Edgar Chavez. “We work with these kids in their teens, and we get to see them really grow in three or four summers.”

SCP began in 1981 as Stanford’s branch of Upward Bound, a federally funded college preparatory program with branches at dozens of universities, each providing academic support and mentoring for rural, low-income or first-generation high school students.

In 2008, Stanford Upward Bound became Stanford College Prep, relying on grants and donations through the Haas Center for Public Service instead of federal funding. Last summer the program began limiting its service to students at East Palo Alto Academy High School (instead of multiple local high schools). These changes allowed SCP to exercise more freedom with its curriculum, utilize different methods for assessing the program’s success and develop a more intimate relationship with one school, according to Damali Robertson, Haas Center external relations coordinator, writing in the Haas Center’s summer 2008 newsletter.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: College,Government

September 22, 2011

Retired teachers start tutoring and home school assistance service

By Phil Attinger, originally published 7/27/11 in

Teachers Claire Jane Beck and Geralyn “Gerri” Carr have always helped academically challenged children and their families. As they neared retirement, they knew they wanted to keep doing that — and they have.

Beck and Carr have opened Star Academy: A tutoring and home school assistance service in a 3,500-square-foot storefront adjacent to Dillard’s department store in Eagle Ridge Mall on U.S. 27. “We wanted to help children who were struggling,” Carr said, “so every student could be a star.”

Both have worked for the Polk County School District for more than 20 years. Beck taught fifth grade for 20 years at Eagle Lake Elementary School. Carr taught in the fifth grade building at Riverside Elementary School in Fort Meade, and later when the school became a branch of the Bartow-based Gause Riverside School for students who were academically “at-risk.”

Whether it was lack of interest or other struggles, Carr said, she and other teachers helped turn students around and get them “back on track.” That’s what Star Academy will do, Beck said.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Commercial Providers

September 18, 2011

Tutoring change in community

Originally published 7/23/11 in TBO.COM

A pioneering University of South Florida tutoring program is an illuminating example of what can be achieved when educators and business leaders team up to meet a challenge.

Tutor-a-Bull was developed without federal oversight, legislative mandate or local ordinance. Yet its astounding success deserves the attention of school districts around the state.

It all started in 2007 when Olin Mott, the head of Olin Mott Tire Co. who is involved with many local charities, tried to find a way to help children at Joshua House, a shelter for abused and neglected children. Besides struggling with academics, many residents of Joshua House were disruptive and had to be routinely picked up from school for causing problems.

Mott, 90 and a survivor of Pearl Harbor, suspected the children needed more attention: “You never find a bully who is making good grades. Those kids are too busy to be getting into trouble. It’s the kid who’s not focused who ends up being a bully. I know … I was a bully.”

Mott met with USF College of Education officials, and they hatched a plan for USF honor students to tutor the children. Mott raised private contributions so the participating undergraduates would receive a modest stipend. The Hillsborough County school system was enthusiastic and helpful.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Community,Research

September 10, 2011

TutorPanel Announces Integration With Google Calendar

by  Jeff Porter,  originally posted 7/12/11 by Wire Service Canada

TutorPanel, a leading software provider for the tutoring industry, announced the addition of Google Calendar Sync to their tutor scheduling and invoicing software.

Tutoring companies using TutorPanel now have the ability to integrate their tutors’ and students’ schedules with Google Calendar. This new feature allows companies to take advantage of additional features offered by Google Calendar such as syncing events to desktop calendars such as Microsoft Office, Apple iCal, Mozilla Sunbird. It also offers tutors and students the convenience of being able to view their tutoring schedule alongside other events on their calendars.

TutorPanel users have two ways to connect their TutorPanel calendars to their Google Calendar. First, tutors can sync events from their Google Calendar to their TutorPanel calendar. This feature makes it easier for tutors and administrators to find available time slots to schedule tutoring sessions.

The second way TutorPanel users can connect to Google Calendar is by displaying tutors’ lessons on their own Google Calendars. This allows tutors to have easier access to their lesson schedules and allows them to take advantage of Google Calendar’s sync feature with desktop calendars and mobile devices.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Technology


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