September 28, 2013

Ala. college offers students a ‘life coach’ for a year

Summary: The PAVES coaching program in Alabama community colleges results in increased retention utilizing phone support. This article reviews the goals of the program and provides prospective from both students and coach POVs.

By staff, Community College Times, originally published 7/30/13

Shekitha Sanders (right), a student at Wallace State Community College in Alabama, listens during a lecture on insulin in a nursing class. Also pictured are students Stephanie Hollis (left) and Brandy Robinson. Photo: Wallace State0235

Freshmen in certain programs at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., can access—free of charge—a life coach to help them through their first year as a college student. The PAVES (Partnership for Accelerated Learning through Visualization, Engagement and Simulation) coaching program is an initiative aimed at keeping students in school, thereby improving their academic and employment outcomes. It is provided through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. Wallace State-Hanceville leads a consortium that includes Central Alabama Community College and Wallace State-Selma sharing the $9.5-million grant.

The college programs for which the PAVES resources are offered at Wallace State include several advanced manufacturing and allied health programs, plus two transportation programs and one public safety program. Students apply to participate for up to 12 months of free coaching, and they can discontinue at any time. After one term using the program, Wallace State reported an increase in retention rates of its first-year students, with a 5.8 percent bump in the number of students returning in those programs.

The goal of coaching

The goal of the one-on-one “life coaching” or “success coaching,” as the college calls it, is to help students balance the demands of college, work and family life. Coaches also help students develop skills and habits needed for long-term success.

Filed under: Coaching,College

September 26, 2013

Union, Boston School Dept. at odds over math tutors

Summary: The Boston Teachers union, in a bid to represent tutors, is planning to file a grievance over tutors being hired to participate in a turnaround at two schools. This program will be overseen by Blueprint Schools Network, a Newton nonprofit which employs intensive tutoring as a key turnaround strategy.

by James Vaznis, originally published in the Boston Globe on 7/6/13

The Boston School Department, as it attempts to prevent a state takeover of two underperforming schools, has run into opposition from the Boston Teachers Union over one turnaround strategy: bringing in math tutors. The union is planning on filing a grievance over the tutoring issue, contending that anyone who fills the one-year positions should automatically become union members, said Richard Stutman, the union’s president. “The issue is we think we should represent the tutors, and they are being shortchanged salary and benefits,” Stutman said.

The tutors, who would make about $20,000 annually and receive health benefits, would work at the two underperforming schools at risk of a state takeover, English High School in Jamaica Plain and the Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy, an elementary school in Hyde Park. The tutors are being overseen by Blueprint Schools Network , a Newton nonprofit with which Boston has contracted to help run the two schools for the next three years, at the recommendation of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Intensive tutoring is a key turnaround strategy employed by Blueprint, which is also working with schools in Denver and Houston. Other elements call for establishing a culture of high expectations, conducting frequent assessments, and extending the school day. The organization will also share in decision-making on the hiring of teachers and administrators at the two schools.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8

September 20, 2013

Cuts in tutor funding spark creative solutions

Summary: As a result of the “Race to the Top Waiver” granted to Florida schools and the effects of the sequester, the Marion County School District has chosen to replace SES tutoring providers with a variety of solutions. Schools are hosting intervention paraprofessionals and math coaches as well and are hopeful that grants will support after-hours tutoring and enrichment.

By Joe Callahan, Staff writer, Ocala StarBanner, originally published 8/29/13

Last year at elementary schools countywide, the Marion County School District spent $1 million in federal funds to tutor 1,000 low-income students. This year, though the need is still great, there is not enough money to pay for the same tutoring program because of complicated federal funding issues.

This development has prompted the district to take some creative approaches to plug the financial hole and help these struggling students. District officials are adding intervention paraprofessionals and math coaches at the schools that need help the most, and also installing new computer software to assist students. At some schools, like Fessenden Elementary, officials vow to stretch the federal money they get to help low-income children.

This is all necessary because of two separate funding issues: Florida opting out of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act and the federal government’s sequester cuts. Last year, Florida education officials signed a “Race to the Top” waiver that, among other things, cut Title I tutoring dollars — known as Supplemental Educational Services (SES) funds — to districts. Because that tutoring money had been cut, Florida lawmakers forced school districts to set aside 15 percent of remaining federal Title I dollars to use for SES tutoring in 2012-13.

This spring, lawmakers did not require districts to set aside those Title I dollars for 2013-14. In fact, interim Commissioner Pam Stewart said districts do not have to use any of their shrinking Title I dollars for the SES tutoring.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Funding,NCLB

September 12, 2013

Is it time to keep tabs on private tutors?

Summary: A plan to regulate private teachers in England is causing deep divisions in this fast-growing industry. The Centre for Market Reform (CMRE) is supported by several of the UK’s largest tuition agencies in its proposal to form The Tutors Association. This article includes statistics from a survey conducted with 500 private tutors and interviews from a variety of perspectives.

by Jeremy Sutcliffe, The Independent, originally published on 7/17/13.

One to one: Alexander Moseley of Classical Foundations tuition service teaches at home.

“Freedom works. Leave it alone.” The rallying cry comes from Alexander Moseley, a 46-year-old former university lecturer, author of academic textbooks and founder of Classical Foundations, a private – and proudly independent – tutorial service in the Vale of Belvoir in the East Midlands. He is one of a vociferous army of private tutors who are objecting to a plan to set up a national association to represent an industry which, thanks to the internet and rising demand for one-to-one teaching and coaching, has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the education market-place.

The proposal to form The Tutors Association (TTA) comes from the Centre for Market Reform of Education (CMRE), a right-wing think-tank, and is being supported by several of the UK’s largest tuition agencies. The aim is to establish minimum standards for the industry and draw up a code of ethics by which all members will be expected to abide. A consultation on the new tutoring association, which is due to end next week, has set out a number of controversial proposals, including that tutors teaching secondary-age pupils should hold university degrees in their chosen specialist subject. Tutors teaching children up to the age of 11 should hold a general degree in any subject.

James Croft, the think-tank’s director and instigator of the plan, says the association is necessary to act as a guarantor of quality in an industry where there are no statutory minimum qualification requirements and no rules to prevent anyone from setting up as a private tutor. Although membership will be voluntary, Croft sees it as a “kite-mark” for the industry that will help parents who currently have “precious little guidance” when seeking tutors for their children.

Unfortunately for the CMRE and the major tuition companies who back the plan for self-regulation, that is not how many freelance tutors see it. A survey of 500 private teachers carried out by the UK’s leading private tuition website, published today, has found them to be ambivalent at best over the proposals.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Commercial Providers


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