March 17, 2015

Carmel Valley tutoring service lends hand with Torrey Pines High School scholarship benefit

by Kristina Houck, Del Mar Times

TPHS Scholarship Board — Courtesy

A local company and nonprofit are partnering in an effort to increase student test scores, while raising money for college scholarships.
Carmel Valley-based Tutor Doctor and the Torrey Pines High School Scholarship Fund have teamed to offer practice ACT and SAT tests Feb. 21 at Torrey Pines High School, with all proceeds benefiting the scholarship fund. “Our group’s mission is to provide scholarships for seniors,” said Karin Lang, co-president of the TPHS Scholarship Fund. “So whatever fundraisers we can hold that can help our students are a win-win.”

For $25, students can take either a full-length ACT or SAT practice test. The fee includes a score analysis report. Students may also request a free in-home consultation to discuss the score report, analysis and recommendations. “We wanted to offer our services any way we could,” said Tiffany Lien, who co-owns Tutor Doctor with her husband, Chris Lien. The couple have three children, with their oldest at Carmel Valley Middle School. “We really want to support this cause, and this is one way we can do it.” Since 1987, the TPHS Scholarship Fund has provided Torrey Pines seniors with scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000.

“There’s a lot of pressure on these kids going through the college application process,” said Mary Stromitis, co-president of the TPHS Scholarship Fund. “College is so expensive now. Every dollar counts in today’s economy and with today’s high tuition costs. “I think every which way we can, we should help out our young people. They will be our future.”

In its first year, the TPHS Scholarship Fund raised a total of $5,100 and awarded nine scholarships. Today, the volunteer, community-based scholarship organization raises an average of $30,000 per year, Stromitis said. Formerly known as Dollars for Scholars, the organization became independent in 2013. This year, the nonprofit reached its $1 million mark — having raised $1 million in scholarships since it was founded more than 28 years ago, Stromitis said.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Small Private Practices

March 5, 2015

Coastal Carolina U. officials hope new tutoring program reduces failure rates

By Charles B. Perry, myrtlebeachonline.com

Professors and students gather informally in the new tutoring program aimed at reducing the failure rates for freshmen in the CINO Grille at Coastal Carolina University last Wednesday. Photo by Janet Blackmon Morgan

Tutoring never appealed much to Jenna Stover or Jennifer Barker. But free Chick-fil-A? That makes it more palatable. “The food is definitely, like, incentive,” Barker said. The sophomores enjoyed their dinner last Wednesday during the final academic coaching session of the semester at Coastal Carolina University’s CINO Grille.

The tutoring is part of a new program aimed at reducing failure rates in humanities classes by encouraging students to dine with their professors in small groups. Coastal officials hope that by chatting with instructors in a casual setting, students will become more engaged, less intimidated and open to seeking out help during the semester.

So far, students seem to be embracing the concept. More than 330 participated this fall. “You don’t feel like you have to hold back,” Stover said of the informal sessions. “You’re in your own element. You’re not really like in the teacher’s element. They’re kind of in yours, so it’s cool.”

That’s exactly the point, said Dan Ennis, Coastal’s vice president for academic outreach. The new tutoring approach is rooted in sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s concept of third places: meeting areas such as coffee houses, restaurants or barber shops. “The idea of a third place is communities are stronger when there are spaces that are neither home nor work for interaction,” Ennis said. “Universities have lots of third spaces, student lounges and things like that, so trying to get the students and faculty in a third place to change the interaction from ‘I’m the professor. This is the material. You’re the student’ meant looking for non-traditional tutoring spaces.”

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College

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