May 29, 2013

Pinellas schools want to add extra tutoring next year

By Anastasia Dawson, The Tampa Tribune, 4/6/2013

While they continue recruiting academically struggling students for their new summer tutoring program, Pinellas County Schools officials are also making plans to offer follow-up help next school year.

Superintendent Michael Grego unveiled a new plan Tuesday during a joint meeting with School Board members, County Commissioners and members of the Juvenile Welfare Board that would keep students working on their “problem areas” every day after school.

The “Promise Time” program will add an extra 60 to 90 minutes to a struggling student’s day for one-on-one tutoring with teachers. Teachers will make sure targeted students, identified by test scores and overall school performance, not only keep up with their required coursework but also explore other interests. Students will be encouraged to join drama clubs, plant gardens, join book studies and listen to guest speakers. “We can no longer afford, socially and academically, to just let these children go wherever,” Grego said. “We’re going to fight like heck to reduce learning regression, especially in impoverished areas, and we need total community support to do it.”

Next year, “Promise Time” will be offered at 22 elementary schools and six middle schools that scored C’s or lower on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. At least 80 percent of students at the targeted schools receive free or reduced-price lunches. “It’s no secret that our students’ achievement gap and poverty are the two biggest issues facing our community,” County Commission Chairman Ken Welch said. “I would love to see this program expand, and I love the idea to almost create year-round school, though my fourth-grader probably would disagree with me.”

School district officials are still working out the details of the six-week Summer Bridge program, slated to begin June 17, though Grego did offer a few specifics Tuesday.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8

May 22, 2013

Lehigh students tutor inmates for Lehigh Prison Project

By Brown and White Staff,, on 4/4/13

Once a week, Lehigh students Jordyn Zoul, ’16, and Kasia Kanczewski, ’15, enter the Northampton County Prison in Easton and are escorted through strict security checkpoints and several large metal doors, each which requires separate guards to enter. Next, they’re led to classrooms downstairs and meet with a teacher and several inmates who they will be tutoring for as a part of Lehigh’s Prison Project.

The Dialogue Center has been running the program since the center was established in 2008. The program aims to help inmates pass their General Education Development tests, also known as GEDs, which show that they have at least a high school level educational proficiency. Students like Zoul and Kanczewski work with Lehigh’s program to tutor prisoners working towards this goal.

The program was started by professor of religion studies and university chaplain, Lloyd Steffen. “It has become our flagship program in the Dialogue Center,” said Steffen, as both the program and the center opened at the same time. Steffen was teaching a course at the time called “Practical Justice,” in which students were required to work with the idea of “practical experience justice.” They had to tutor at Fountain Hill School where 80 percent of the students belong to families below the poverty line.

Along with this practice, they worked with other community problems, including what would become the Lehigh Prison Project. Since then, about 28 students per semester have been involved in the program. “Because of limited capacity at the prison, we cannot accommodate all who want to participate,” Steffen said.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Government

May 13, 2013

TCU GI Bill students find difficulty in utilizing tutoring benefits

By Maddie Schmitt,, originally published 3/21/13

Photo of the Tutorial Assistance Application by Maddie Schmitt.

Student veterans and other GI Bill users find it difficult to take advantage of tutoring benefits, according to senior political science major and veteran Landon Woods.

Under the Tutorial Assistance Program, students can receive a monthly reimbursement that does not exceed the cost of tutoring or $100, with the maximum amount payable $1,200, as listed on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. In order to receive this compensation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs requires the university to “approve” each tutor in their department of tutoring.

According to Woods, TCU has lists of approved tutors by department, but they are either small or non-existent. Because of this, a student seeking a tutor in a department in which there are no approved tutors renders the student unable to receive the tutoring reimbursement, he said.

Veteran Affairs Officer Ricardo Avitia explained that the university once had much lengthier tutor lists, but an incident a few years ago created problems. The incident, Avitia said, was a tutor attempted to take advantage of another student. Due to liability issues, the approved lists were temporarily disbanded. Following the incident, lists for each department were re-made from scratch, but with new requirements for those applying to be tutors, he said.

“In order to be a part of [the new] tutor lists, students have to go through a background check for safety,” Avitia said.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College,Government

May 7, 2013

UI alumni couple gains success with Illini tutoring business

by Adlai Stevenson, The Daily Illini, originally published 3/27/13

Spring season hovers cryptically over many upperclassmen as their remaining undergraduate days wind down and a new stage in life approaches. But two alumni encourage students to work as hard as they can in school and beyond so that they can achieve and learn the most out of what life has to offer. They haven’t just experienced this stage themselves — advice is part of their job. And students can receive their help before crossing the gates to college or even as early as high school.

Alumni Elizabeth and Taso Sotiropoulos help many students through Illini Tutoring, a local organization they founded in Champaign that offers coaching in several topics ranging from high school level to advanced college courses. With six employed tutors and over 100 students tutored every semester, both Elizabeth and Taso said Illini Tutoring is the only local tutoring organization that provides coaching full-time and receives sponsorship from the National Tutoring Association.

The couple founded Illini Tutoring in fall 2010 after graduating from the University, although they said their business did not start as swiftly as it may seem. Taso said he and Elizabeth were engaged, and considered graduate programs following college. However, the programs did not immediately appeal to them because of their work ethic, he said. They wanted to follow their own path after their time at the University, and work from there.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Associations,Coaching,Commercial Providers


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