February 28, 2012

Miffed tutors blame district for delaying students’   help

by Jennifer Smith Richards and Bill Bush, The Columbus Dispatch, originally published 1/10/12

A federally funded tutoring program for Columbus students is months behind schedule as the district tries to prevent fraud. The district’s tough approach to checking out tutoring vendors has meant that thousands of students have yet to receive any help, 2 1/2 months after tutoring could have begun. The vendors are crying foul, saying the delay is costing them business and hurting the district’s chances of improving reading and math scores.

“It’s very ugly,” said Ty Hairston, the owner of Education Recruiting Services, which tutored about 170 Columbus City Schools students last year. This year, he expects his final number to be slightly more than 60. “I’m done. This will be my last year” working in Columbus, Hairston said. “The scrutiny, it’s unfair.”

For the past six school years, Apostolic Faith Temple has started tutoring students on Nov. 1. This year, it wasn’t approved for tutoring by the district until Saturday. “Nobody is saying anything, which is really unnerving,” Kathy Bealer said last week, before being given the go-ahead to start tutoring. Bealer oversees the tutoring program at Apostolic Faith Temple, one of the largest tutoring operations serving Columbus students. “I’ve heard a lot of providers have pulled out,” she said.

Many of the parents who signed up with Apostolic last summer have changed their minds, discouraged by the delay and uncertainty, Bealer said. “I may end up with one kid when all this is over, and I started with over 200,” she said.

To read more click here.

Filed under: NCLB

February 24, 2012

The $1,000-an-hour Super Tutor

by Will Orr-Ewing, London Evening Standard, originally published 1/5/12

London tutor Will Orr-Ewing meets his American counterparts who charge as much as lawyers and finds out how they are revolutionising the profession…

In recent years, London’s private tutors have been enjoying a turn in the spotlight. Articles describing tutoring’s more glamorous features – from Gwyneth Paltrow’s search for a “multilingual all-round genius” to Tatler magazine’s showcasing of London’s top “supertutors” – convey the impression of an exalted profession with high standards and rigorous codes of practice. The reality is quite the opposite.

The London tutor is still characterised by his amateurism. Most tutors in London lack training, an established curriculum of methods and materials and a long-term commitment to the vocation. For many well-educated and ambitious practitioners, tutoring remains a part-time job, a stop-gap between university and more lucrative or prestigious occupations.

In New York, tutoring is conceived of differently. To become a tutor is to choose a career, and it is a career choice as revered as other esteemed and competitive fields. Having been featured in the Tatler article myself and having already made important strides towards professionalising London’s private tutoring industry, I went to New York to try to understand the key differences in our approaches.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Business Practices,Small Private Practices

February 19, 2012

Tutoring with Peers, Squared

Originally published in the Urbana High School Hawkeye on 12/20/11

Since Peer Squared Tutoring began this past June, it has aided kindergarten through twelfth grade students with their studies in various academic areas, catering to students in the Oakdale, Linganore, and Urbana districts.

After discussing the possibilities of this business with her husband, who has experience tutoring from his AP Calculus teaching position at Winston Churchill High School in Montgomery County and who created the business model, founder Kristin Whyte, who has worked as an interpreter in the FCPS system, decided to plunge in and create an affordable, flexible tutoring organization that allows personal interaction between student and tutor.

Tutors are high school students, at least fifteen years of age, who excel in certain subject areas and have maintained an unweighted GPA of at least 3.5.  The beginning wage for a student tutor is $11.50 an hour, an especially attractive offer to teenagers who are familiar with the $7.25 minimum wage, then after twenty-five hours of service, the hourly wage increases to $13.00. The current typical tutoring schedule requires a tutor to be available twice a week for one hour sessions, although frequency is determined by the client.  Each hour costs the client $32.50, a relatively inexpensive price, said Whyte, compared to the $75.00 an hour she has seen teachers charge.

Peer Squared Tutoring is unique in the way it matches tutors to clients.  When applying for the job, tutors are obligated to list their strengths and weaknesses, hobbies, and two words that describe themselves.  Whyte said this helps her pair students to tutors “with similar interests” because they will eventually “develop a relationship” that is beneficial to both parties.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Peer-Tutoring

February 13, 2012

Educators seek tutoring solution for low graduation rates

By Jason Schultz, The Palm Beach Post News, originally published 12/17/211

The percentage of seniors graduating from most of the major public high schools in Palm Beach County dropped last year but still is higher than it was two years ago, according to statistics released by the state this week. District officials say they are still trying to pinpoint the reason for the drop in graduation, but say it most likely was a problem with seniors passing standardized tests and the remedy will be to pump more money and effort into tutoring.

“We don’t want to make any excuses. We just need to work a little harder and get students more tutoring,” said Palm Beach Gardens High School Principal Larry Clawson. His school’s graduation rate last year dropped 6 percentage points from the 2009-2010 school year and is nearly four percent lower than the graduation rate for the 2008-2009 school year.

Royal Palm Beach High School had saw the biggest drop in its graduation rate from the previous year, a decline of 9.8 percent.

Principal Jesus Armas said his school is focusing on two separate efforts to try to stop the graduation-rate slide. First, they are looking at this year’s seniors to make sure they have everything they need to “get over the hump” to graduation. Second, Armas said, he is creating a plan to do more to track each student starting in ninth grade to make sure they are getting all the credits and grades and passing all the tests to stay on track so that students don’t get to 12th grade and suddenly discover they haven’t done everything needed for a diploma.

Royal Palm High is using federal grants to provide more select tutoring for 10th graders who did not pass their FCAT test and must pass it by 12th grade to graduate. The school also is holding “ESOL boot camp” after school and weekend tutoring sessions for non-English-speaking students, Armas said.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School

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