July 31, 2014

FLIP tutor ‘exemplifies the very best in volunteer service’

By Robin Johnson, FiftyForward RSVP, The Tennessean, originally published 7/10/14

Franklin resident Patty Young spends two hours a week during the school year assisting students at Liberty Elementary School in the Franklin Special School District. Young is a volunteer with FiftyForward RSVP’s Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) program, an intergenerational tutoring program that matches adults ages 55 and older with students in kindergarten through fourth grade who need extra attention in either reading or math. Young learned about the FLIP program while reading an article in The Tennessean many years ago. At the time, she was still teaching, but she knew the program would be a great fit for her once she retired. Young taught second grade, kindergarten and preschool in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and, finally, here in Tennessee for many years.

Over the past eight years, Young has served as a FLIP tutor at Trinity and Liberty elementary schools in Williamson County. She is one of approximately 75 FLIP tutors serving in 11 schools in the Williamson County and Franklin Special school districts.

“As the former reading coach at Walnut Grove Elementary, I appreciate what a valuable program FLIP is to our schools,” said Kathy Banks. “The FLIP volunteers at my school encouraged students in such a way that we saw students grow in their confidence in reading and become more proficient in specific reading skills. The students loved having their one-on-one learning time and were excited to spend time with their tutors. The students looked forward to their ‘reading day,’ and they couldn’t wait for their turn to see their ‘special teacher.’ ”

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Filed under: K-8

July 20, 2014

Free tutoring strains Nebraska school district budgets

By Joe Dejka and Erin Duffy, World-Herald staff writers, originally published 6/22/14

Alavion Allen, left, and Brooklyn Thomas are tutored by Benson West Elementary School kindergarten teacher Merry T. Johnson. High-poverty schools that miss proficiency targets must offer the tutoring. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD

When the dismissal bell rings at Benson West Elementary School, most kids scatter for home. But one recent spring day, more than 50 students stuck around for mandatory tutoring. Not mandatory for the kids, mind you. Mandatory for the school.

The federal No Child Left Behind law says that high-poverty schools must offer free tutoring when they repeatedly fail to hit annual proficiency targets. So, as first-grade teacher Megan Young led three students reading aloud the story of “Chicken Little,” she was helping Omaha Public Schools comply with the controversial 2002 law. The law has forced dozens of Nebraska schools to spend millions of their federal Title I dollars on tutoring. Annual cost: up to $1,500 per student.

Nebraska schools spent $2 million tutoring kids in 2012-13; $1.8 million of that was in OPS. Though the mandate is hitting OPS hardest — district officials expect that 33 schools will offer tutoring next school year — the impact is not limited to the big urban district.

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Filed under: Government,NCLB

July 19, 2014

AmeriCorps tutoring program paying dividends

By Chris Caya, WBFO NPR News, originally published 6/17/14

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

A federal grant will help sustain a tutoring program for young school students in Buffalo.

Rep. Brian Higgins announced the $1.3 million award for the “AmeriCorps Builds Lives through Education” program Monday. It has more than 160 full and part-time tutors  including London Lee, who says he enjoys helping kids learn. “Every day in life is a struggle, but when you have those moments that click, it’s awesome. It’s amazing,” Lee said.

Lee says being a tutor changed his perspective. He says he is now considering going back to school to pursue non-profit work. Tutors in the ABLE program reach more than 2,400 children in grades K-12 in more than a dozen schools in Buffalo.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community

July 17, 2014

Stamford teachers’ union objects to tutoring program

by Rob Varnon, stamfordadvocate.com, originally published 7/16/14

A plan to give students struggling in math a period of tutoring during the school day next year could open up a labor dispute with teachers. Last month, the Board of Education approved $412,000 from a grant to pilot the Match Tutor program despite objections from the Stamford Education Association. The Advocate obtained emails sent from SEA President Michael Arcano objecting to the use of non-union tutors in classrooms during the school day, expressing concerns about the program.

But the board voted 5-2 to approve the program, in which students who are identified as struggling in math are given the tutoring. The program is based on the Match Tutoring program created by a Boston charter school more than a decade ago. The program has recently been adopted in some Chicago schools.

The Stamford program would tutor students in first-year algebra, hiring 12 tutors who will help the students, while a certified teacher oversees them during class time. The students would get an elective credit for completing a year of tutoring, but not a math credit. They would have to pass their first-year algebra to get a math credit. Only Stamford High would get the program this year.

About 30 percent of Stamford freshman fail first-year algebra. Arcano said teachers are in favor of a program to help struggling students, but the union is against using non-union labor to teach during the school day.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School


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