February 24, 2015

Struggling students helped by tutoring grant

By Ellen Ciurczak, Staff Writer, The Hattiesburg American

Lamar County School District students who have not had the benefit of intensive tutoring are getting one-on-one and small group instruction thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Department of Education. The 21st Century grant is for five years, with $500,000 allocated for the first year.

“The criteria for a student to qualify is getting a minimal or basic on the MCT2 or Subject Area Test or be in the lower 25 percent in grades 6-12 or be a Subject Area Test retester or meet one or more of those criteria,” Sumrall High School Principal Sheila Kribbs said.

This is the first time students at Sumrall High and Sumrall Middle School have had the opportunity to be tutored because the schools do not get Title 1 money due to their small low-income populations. “This is a new opportunity for us,” Sumrall Middle School Principal Jamie Jones said. “We’re really excited about it.”

Tutoring is offered both during the school day and after school by certified teachers. Partnership with the YMCA provides staff to offer homework assistance, character education and recreation.

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

February 20, 2015

Classmates form nonprofit tutoring organization to give back to the community

By Meredith Shamburger, The Dallas Morning News

Janani Ramachandran (left), a senior at Plano Senior High School, tutors Ryan Phillips, a freshman at Collin College and a Hendrick Scholarship recipient, over webcast in college algebra during a session where Ramachandran was in the Plano Senior library and Phillips was in the Hendrick Scholarship offices in Plano. Staff photo by Andy Jacobsohn.

It’s difficult to keep your grades up when you’re struggling with the material, juggling work and other obligations, and are unable to afford a private tutor. The Outreach Movement wants to bridge that gap. The nonprofit was formed by 11 students within the Plano Independent School District two years ago to help economically disadvantaged students get the tutoring support they need to succeed.

“We were all looking at the opportunities afforded us at Plano ISD and how that that was helping us be successful, and we noticed that there are other students in the D-FW Metroplex that had the same drive that we did, but weren’t afforded the same opportunity,” said Shraddha Madhan, director of publicity.

Today the Outreach Movement is operating out of Plano Senior High School, Plano West Senior High School and Millburn High School in New Jersey. A new chapter at Plano East Senior High School is also in the works. The group pairs students one-on-one with student tutors each week at no cost. The group’s been so successful that a chapter launched in New Jersey last year now has 13 volunteers. Mohanty says the school asked to start a chapter after learning about the Outreach Movement. Their involvement, Mohanty said, is part of the organization’s mission to get students involved in enacting change.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community

February 16, 2015

Six districts to receive after-school program grants

By Sarah Hofius Hall, The Scranton Times-Tribune

Six area school districts will share nearly $1.2 million to offer after-school programs during the next three years. The federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, which was sought by the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit, will fund programs at the Blue Ridge, Forest City Regional, Mid Valley, Mountain View, Riverside and Scranton school districts. “We’re excited about it,” said Clarence Lamanna, Ed.D., NEIU executive director.

The NEIU will receive $397,050 a year, which is expected to continue for three years. Each school designs its own program that provides academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for students in fifth through eighth grades. Statewide, $23.1 million in federal funding was awarded to 64 school districts and community-based organizations in 29 counties for the first year of the grant. The goal of the program is to provide students in high-poverty, low-performing schools with additional high-quality academic opportunities.

At Mid Valley, the grant funds the after-school program, which not only provides sixth- through eighth-grade students with homework help, but also with a variety of enrichment and recreational activities. Mid Valley was one of three area districts to receive the grant during the last cycle. Up to 45 students can enroll in Mid Valley’s program, which is for three hours after school Monday through Thursday. After receiving academic help, students participate in activities like book club, science club or BMX bike club, which integrates a math curriculum.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Funding,K-8

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