March 30, 2014

Alliance Data gives $300,000 for Dallas ISD tutoring program

by Robert Miller, The Dallas Morning News, originally published 3/3/14

The Dallas Education Foundation, which works with the philanthropic community to support strategic initiatives in Dallas ISD, has announced that Alliance Data Systems Corp. of Dallas is donating $300,000 to Project: Amplify, an in-school tutoring program. The program engages residents to work with students in 21 DISD schools in South and West Dallas.

“In a region that has been a leader in jobs creation throughout the recent recession, it’s imperative that our public schools produce students with the skills they’ll need to be successful as they continue their education and enter the workforce,” said DISD Superintendent Mike Miles. “We’re delighted that Alliance Data recognized the value of this tutoring program, and we encourage other Dallas-area companies to step forward to support this effort.”

Project: Amplify emphasizes not just academics, but also building relationships with at-risk students to help boost their confidence. Tutoring is done during the school day in small groups and individually, allowing students consistent exposure to a positive relationship.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School,K-8

March 24, 2014

Tutoring & mentoring show significant results for high school students

by Brandis Friedman, WTTW, originally published 2/27/14

On Thursday, President Obama announced a new initiative aimed specifically at helping young men of color to improve their chronically lower rates of literacy and higher rates of unemployment and criminal trouble. It’s called My Brother’s Keeper, and it creates a task force to examine what existing public and private efforts are working well by providing mentoring, support networks, or helping young men learn job skills or prepare for college.

The initiative also includes a $200 million commitment over the next five years from foundations and businesses already working to improve outcomes for this population of young men. The money will be invested in areas like early childhood development and school readiness, parenting, 3rd-grade literacy, and interactions with the criminal justice system; as well as job opportunities and health.

During today’s announcement, President Obama was introduced by a young man from Chicago who participates in the Becoming A Man program, run by the nonprofit, Youth Guidance. The president visited a BAM mentoring session last year. Recently, researchers unveiled the impact of those sessions; plus, the addition of intensive tutoring on helping that same population of young men of color in earning better grades, and hopefully better futures.

The BAM program is just half of an intervention effort showing promising results for young men who may have been in danger of dropping out.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Government

March 17, 2014

Innovative Summer Tutoring Program Reduces Learning Loss For Hartford Students

by Sarah Cody, originally published in the Hartford Courant on March 03, 2014

It’s no secret that many students in Hartford are struggling academically. “Last year, I was really bad at multiplication and division and my reading level was down,” says 11-year-old DaVasia Knowlin, who then participated in an innovative pilot program in July, the result of a partnership between the YMCA of Greater Hartford and BELL, a Boston-based non-profit, designed to attack “summer learning loss,” a problem noted in some low-income children in particular. Now, studies are showing a significant improvement in students’ summer retention, as well as parent involvement in academics. Community leaders are on a mission to raise funds to widen the Y-BELL effort.

“If a child is not on grade-level by third grade and that child is living in poverty, that child is 14 times as likely to drop out of school which is unacceptable to us,” says President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford James Morton. “We know that urban communities, in particular, are suffering with achievement gap issues where some children are doing more poorly that others and that’s not going to get better unless we focus on it.” BELL reports, based on diagnostic reading and math assessments taken before and after the program, students in grades K-4 gained 5.7 months of grade-equivalent literacy skills and 10.7 months in math. “Those kinds of gains are just remarkable,” says Morton, noting this model also addresses the dropout rate. “This program works, so we want to serve an additional two to three hundred children in our own community.”

The six-week session, attended by 76 students from the Simpson-Waverly Classic Magnet School, ran five days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the morning, students received 90 minutes of rigorous reading lessons, followed by a similar tutorial about mathematics, run by specially trained teachers, recruited by BELL (, which stands for Building Educated Leaders for Life. The YMCA took over in the afternoon, providing kids with academic enrichment, presented in a “hands-on” way. “We’ll have a regimen like hip-hop, earth studies, science or art,” says 9-year-old Mekhi Awuah. Knowlin enjoyed the acting workshops.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community

March 11, 2014

Lee County Schools add safety measures to tutor contracts

by WINK-TV, Southwest Florida, originally published 2/5/14

Companies that plan to tutor Lee County students this year must agree to new safety guidelines. This comes after a tutor was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student on a school campus. A two-page safety compliance form is now included with the contract the seven new tutoring companies had to sign before they could work with students.

It has a number of provisions the tutors must agree to, in order to help protect student safety. Most noticable, a requirement that says the vendor (meaning the tutoring company) “will ensure that no tutor will tutor a student one-on-one without being in the direct vision of another adult.”

In January, deputies arrested 66-year-old Gregory Lancaster for allegedly sexually abusing a student he was tutoring at Villas Elementary School last school year. Deputies say it happened while Lancaster was alone with the student, in a room with no windows and the doors shut.

This prompted school leaders to take a closer look at their policies and their contracts with these third-party tutoring companies. The seven new tutoring companies will begin working with students at the end of the month.

To read more click here.


Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School,K-8,Tutoring Practices


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