May 31, 2014

Top HS student delays Harvard, joins Americorp to tutor kids in Queens

by Bart Jones, Newsday, originally published 5/11/14

Akash Nandi, second from left, tutors from left: Naijah Debose-Vann, Brianna Aguila, Melissa Acosta, and Tahmel Keys, during an after school program at P.S. 112 Dutch Kills in Queens on Tuesday, May 06, 2014. Nandi, 17, a Woodbury resident, who attended St. Anthony's High School and graduated early, spent a year as a City Year New York volunteer before attending Harvard University in the fall. (Credit: Charles Eckert)

A St. Anthony’s High School student who scored a perfect 2400 on the SATs and is headed to Harvard University in the fall is spending what would have been his senior year in an unusual place — tutoring disadvantaged students in Queens.

Akash Nandi, 18, of Woodbury, finished high school by the end of his junior year and even had time to take college-level math courses at Stony Brook University while still at St. Anthony’s. But instead of starting full-time college early, he joined an AmeriCorps organization to offer a year of national service by helping students in the Long Island City neighborhood.

He leaves home at 5:25 a.m. on weekdays and returns by 7:30 p.m. He calls it the toughest, but most satisfying, year of his young life. “It’s a powerful experience,” Nandi said. “It’s harder than going to school. It’s a completely different ballgame.” Nandi is the youngest volunteer in City Year New York, which this year has 294 members between 18 and 24 years old serving as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in 22 public schools. They receive a $1,100 monthly stipend for 11-hour work days.

St. Anthony’s officials say Nandi is the type of student the South Huntington Catholic school aims to produce. “Akash is one of those rare individuals who has been inspired early to seek deeper truths,” said Brother Gary Cregan, the school’s principal. “It is joyful to have a young man like Akash in our school. We know he will do great things in the future.”

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8

May 24, 2014

Documentary Shows the Tutoring Work of Arne Duncan’s Mother

By Mark Walsh, Education Week, originally published on 4/30/14

Remember Me Sue Trailer from Tellit Multimedia on Vimeo. (click image to access)

When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was testifying at his confirmation hearing in 2009, he discussed his mother’s longtime work as the operator of an after-school children’s tutoring program serving mostly poor, African-American students on the South Side of Chicago. “What compelled my mother to take her three young children into this community every single day?” the nominee said of Sue Duncan, who “did this work every single day simply because this work was so important. Because this work was bigger than all of us.”

A new documentary looks at the half-century of work of Duncan’s mother with the Sue Duncan Children’s Center, a non-profit program that operates entirely on donations, with no federal or state funding. “Remember Me Sue,” by director Melina Kolb, airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. Central time on public television station WTTW in Chicago. Those outside the Chicago area will have to look for it at film festivals or for it to eventually show up on the Web.

Sue Duncan is in her 70s now, and she retired from the children’s center in 2011. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010, the film says.

Mrs. Duncan started the children’s center in 1961, and it moved around a bit, but now resides in a public elementary in the Oakland neighborhood, not far from the Hyde Park neighborhood surrounding the University of Chicago where Arne Duncan and his brother and sister were brought up. The brother, Owen Duncan, now runs the children’s center, which includes a new campus that opened last fall in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Tutoring Practices

May 19, 2014

After-school tutoring programs proposed for City Council approval

KUSI News, originally published 4/22/14

A proposed after-school tutoring program at the city of San Diego’s libraries would be conducted at 18 branches if approved by the City Council, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Tuesday. The program is part of Faulconer’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The branches that were selected have at least one school in the vicinity that scored below the target of 800 in standardized tests, the mayor’s office said. “Libraries are the centers for building, advancing and nurturing these skills that will impact a person’s learning from early childhood through adulthood,” said Cindy Marten, superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. “I commend Mayor Faulconer and the other city officials for recognizing the importance of libraries and the impacts they have on the success of our students and communities.”

The proposed program would provide one-on-one assistance to students through the eighth grade with their school-assigned homework, and offer opportunities for skill development and reinforcement. The program would run for 36 weeks during the school’s academic year. Volunteers would be available 14 hours a week, including three hours on Saturdays.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community

May 8, 2014

Washington State Loses NCLB Waiver – Will SES Tutoring Return?

Originally published in The Tutor Report on 5/7/14

In an historic letter dated April 24, 2014 from The Secretary of Education to Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Washington, Arne Duncan advises that Washington’s flexibility from the requirements of NCLB will end with the 2013-2014 school year.

In the following excerpt from the letter Mr Duncan clearly states that Washington is again to set aside Title I funds for tutoring. This means that, among other actions that the State and LEAs will have to resume, LEAs in Washington must once again set aside 20 percent of their Title I funds for public school choice and supplemental educational services rather than having the flexibility to use those funds for other activities to improve student achievement in low-achieving schools. Should Washington obtain the requisite authority to resolve its condition, I would be pleased to reconsider Washington’s request to implement ESEA flexibility at any time.

For Washington to regain flexibility status their legislature, not due to reconvene until January 2015, would need to introduce using state tests to measure student growth instead or alongside local tests. To date this has not been possible. Washington now has an uphill struggle to reintroduce programs in time for the new school year that should include SES tutoring provider applications and authorizations. At this time their website cites the following:

To read more click here.

Filed under: Government,NCLB

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