May 31, 2012

United Way awards $19,500 to Literacy Tutor Volunteers GS

Originally published 4/12/12 in fosters.com

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Sanford (LVGS) has been awarded two one-year grants totaling $19,500 from United Way of York County. This investment will support programs focusing on health and workplace literacy and will have an impact on lifelong learning. One of the grants is shared with Literacy Volunteers of Greater Saco-Biddeford.

The mission of LVGS is supporting the literacy needs of adults with free, confidential one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction by trained adult volunteers. Founded in 1986, LVGS helps adults improve their literacy levels and change their lives. Whether the goal is to fill out a job application, learn to use a computer, read a label on a prescription bottle or obtain a GED, LVGS offers opportunities for adult learners to improve their literacy skills and achieve their goals relating to family, career, and participation in civic affairs.

Thanks to the continued support of many dedicated individuals, businesses and organizations throughout York County, this year the United Way is investing in 78 community programs serving children, youth, adults and families. “Despite economic uncertainty in 2011, local people gave very generously to our United Way campaign,” said United Way of York County President and CEO Kathryn Davis. “As a result, in 2012 we are able to provide much needed support for essential human services across the region.”

To read more click here.

Filed under: Community

May 23, 2012

North Schuylkill board approves 37 tutors for after-school program

By John E. Usalis, originally published at republicanherald.com on 4/11/12

The 21st Century After School tutoring program, jeopardized last year by funding cuts, is in a stronger position this year with the appointment of 37 tutors in the North Schuylkill School District.

“Last year the funding was cut, but our teachers volunteered from the beginning of the school year, which saved the school district about $60,000,” Superintendent Andrew D. Smarkanic said. “The money was reinstated and we’re hoping that there’s more money for the secondary program. Apparently, not all the schools applied for the after-school program, so that there may be money that we applied for to continue what we did in the elementary and the junior high into the high school, as well.”

The program, funded through the U.S. Department of Education, has been in the school district for a few years, Smarkanic said recently. The tutors were approved at the board’s March meeting. With the reinstatement of funds, Smarkanic said the district received $56,870. Between 20 to 40 students take advantage of the program.

“The program can range from art to recreation, tutoring in different subjects, field trips,” Smarkanic said. “Most of the money is for technical services and instruction where the kids go through a rotation where some will be in tutoring and some will be in after-school recreation. There is also a hands-on art component. “In the summer, we’ll be taking the students on educational trips. The grant allows us to do that. The teachers enjoy it. The kids like it. That’s why our teachers volunteered this year on a rotating basis because they enjoy the connection with the kids.”

The current grant funds must be used by mid-September. Smarkanic said this is the first year of a three-year grant.

For more information click here.

Filed under: Funding

May 17, 2012

Lawmakers, education leaders spar over embattled tutoring program

By Erica L. Green, originally published in The Baltimore Sun on 3/29/12

State education leaders say proposed legislation that would force local school systems to continue funding a federal tutoring program could derail their efforts to gain relief from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. Lawmakers are debating two bills introduced in the House of Delegates and the Senate dealing with Supplemental Educational Services, a federally mandated program that provides thousands of the state’s poorest and lowest-performing students with free tutoring services by nonprofit and private vendors.

The program came under fire recently after an Abell Foundation report that found the companies operated with little scrutiny and accountability and used questionable practices in recruiting parents to sign up their children. The companies set their rates and are paid based on how many children are enrolled in their programs. A Baltimore Sun article last year noted that in one instance, a provider offered a laptop to a city parent if she signed up her five students.

With the support of every district in the state, the Maryland State Department of Education is seeking to make the program optional for local school districts in its NCLB waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education. But the state’s efforts are running up against aggressive lobbying from the tutoring companies that began at the state agency and has since moved to Annapolis. The federal government is offering waivers from some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind, which has labeled many schools as failing.

Education leaders around the state denounced the legislation in Annapolis, saying the tutoring services have yet to prove to have any effect on student achievement, despite tying up tens of millions of dollars in federal funds in the last decade. “Those bills are terrible,” said Baltimore schools CEO Andrés Alonso. “SES has no accountability. Some providers are great, and those we partner with in other ways. Many are not and get to sign up parents with impunity. It ties up huge amounts of money that the schools have no say over.”

To read more click here.

Filed under: Government,NCLB

May 7, 2012

Afterschool Tutoring Program Helps Students Climb to New Heights

by Peak Johnson, Huffington Post, originally published 2/10/12

An immense collection of books fills the shelves of Tree House Books. From Best American Essays by Annie Dillard to Sula by Toni Morrison to a shelf dedicated to children’s author Lemony Snicket. Tree House Books, a nonprofit organization in North Philadelphia, works to “grow and sustain a community of readers, writers, and thinkers” through afterschool and enrichment programs. Neighborhood children participate in the literacy program called Life With Books. “I like moving up a reading level,” said 5th grader Dominique Cooper. “I like reading and being able to do my homework.”

Dominique, along with fellow student and friend, Ajalee Green, attends Tanner G. Duckrey Elementary. Dominique originally learned about Tree House from a friend at Duckrey. The friends participate in the literacy program, and when a student reads 10 books or five chapter books, their name is placed on the “Limo wall.” As a treat, Tree House rents a limo for the students whose names are on the wall, whisking them away to an unnamed destination, only revealed to them upon arrival.

Students work with tutors from nearby Temple University. “My involvement with Tree House started when I was a graduate student at Temple University in their creative writing program studying poetry writing,” said Tree House Executive Director Darcy Luetzow. In 2006, Luetzow heard that her peers in Temple’s program were doing some afterschool writing with kids in North Philadelphia. She jumped at the chance to join, not fully knowing what she was getting into.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College,Community,K-8

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