October 31, 2014

From low literacy to celebrated author thanks to literacy tutor

By Tyler Clarke, Prince Albert Daily Herald

Tutor Learner Connections co-ordinator LaVera Schiele is seen with Saskatoon-based author Carey Rigby-Wilcox, who spoke with local literacy tutors on Monday

When Carey Rigby-Wilcox bowed her head to a crowd of local literacy tutors on Monday, she offered a genuine thankfulness for their efforts. If not for volunteer tutors such as them, Rigby-Wilcox would not only have never published a book, she might never have even read one.

Prior to speaking with volunteer tutors for Tutor Learner Connections, Rigby-Wilcox explained the impact one volunteer tutor has made on her own life. Called “retarded” by some and “dumb” by others, Rigby-Wilcox held her low literacy skills as a (mostly) secret shame throughout her elementary and high school years.

She cheated and lied her way through school all the way to high school graduation — something she said she isn’t proud of, but at the time felt necessary to help get her past the judgmental gaze of her peers. It wasn’t until the birth of her child that she convinced herself to seek help in upping her literacy skills.

Specifically, it was when a doctor handed her a stack of immunization forms, which she was unable to read, that put things into perspective. “I could live this poor, pitiful life for myself, but now I’m jeopardizing my children and their futures,” she said.

About 23 years ago, Rigby-Wilcox met Lisa Vargo, who was then a volunteer tutor at Read Saskatoon.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community

October 24, 2014

Stunningly, DPS tutoring program shows individual attention can improve student achievement

North Denver News

In a school district obsessed with organizational box reform— charter schools, enrollment games, firing teachers, pay-for-performance schemes— proof again emerges to demonstrate conventional wisdom. Small classes and individual tutoring can help kids catch up in the classroom.

Denver Public Schools students enrolled in Denver Math Fellows tutoring during the school day are showing significant improvements in proficiency scores, according to recently released state assessment data. This targeted instructional time is provided daily to 4th, 6th and 8th grade students who are below grade level in math—in addition to their daily math classes.

The Denver Math Fellows program began as a pilot program in seven schools in 2011 as part of Denver’s Far Northeast turnaround initiative, and thanks to Denver voter’s approval of the 2012 Mill Levy initiative, it was expanded to 44 additional schools.  In its first year of widespread implementation, the program accelerated student academic growth at all grade levels, as measured by the Median Growth Percentile (MGP) measure, with students in 8th grade outpacing their peers in growth by 16 percentile points. Thirty percent of schools participating in the program had tutored students’ MGP’s exceed 65 in math (an MGP of 50 represents one year of growth).

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8

October 17, 2014

Marshfield receives tutoring funding for two after-school programs

By Logan T. Carlson, Marshfield News Herald

Two Marshfield elementary schools will expand after-school tutoring and academic enrichment programs this year thanks to a federal grant aimed for schools that serve high populations of students from low-income families.

It will be Grant Elementary School’s second year running its 21st Century Learning Community, after receiving a $500,000 grant from the Department of Education last year to create an after-school program. Once everything got underway, students flocked to the after-school activities that were available, with more than 90 percent of the school’s 660 students participating at least once.

“The focus is to allow for academic support for those students who might be struggling, and provide for small-group instruction, or one-on-one tutoring to try and get them to grade level proficiencies,” said Jeff Damrau, principal of Grant Elementary School.

Students also were able to participate in snowshoeing, cross country skiing and roller skating to keep them physically active and provide a welcome break.  “Some of our students who may be going home to an empty house and might not be monitored after school, we were able to keep them here after school, engaged, and assist them both academically and physically,” Damrau said.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8

October 9, 2014

Mansfield volunteers tutor children in HOSTS program

by Chike Erokwu, Mansfield News Journal

Photo: Submitted photo by Larry Gibbs

If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes the same to educate one. For the past ten years in the Mansfield City Schools district, adults from the community have taken to that idea though a volunteer tutoring and mentoring program for elementary school students. The program is called HOSTS: Helping One Student to Succeed. Program coordinator Sharon Fesmier said HOSTS has one mission: to provide students who may not be getting one-on-one attention at home with the encouragement and assistance necessary to develop a love of learning.

“You see so many kids that need this,” Fesmier said. “Sometimes parents aren’t doing their job at home and (kids) are not getting the help outside the classroom that they need.” To solve that problem, a group of screened volunteers will sit down with children for 30 minutes during their lunch hour and reinforce some of the reading and writing concepts taught in the classroom.

HOSTS runs in two half-hour sessions from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the program is broken up into three parts. Students read to volunteers during the first 10-minute period, practice their writing in the second period and volunteers help students with their spelling in the third. Student progress is tracked through written volunteer evaluations. Students can remain in the HOSTS program until they show improvement.

The program is not meant to be punitive; Fesmier said the volunteer mentoring is done for the sole purpose of helping children keep up in the classroom.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8

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