Jan 10, 2018
Community-based efforts in California, Ohio, and Oklahoma put tutors on the ground where it matters most, offering struggling students the academic support and care they need to thrive
This is what we like to see: tutors, community groups, and schools working together and delivering real results for thousands of students in their academic and everyday lives.
And it takes all types, as these three successful community-based efforts in California, Ohio, and Oklahoma have set out to prove.
Since 2011, the Hayward Promise Neighborhood has brought together 12 community groups, Chabot College, and the Hayward Unified School District to offer students from low-income families with tutoring and mentoring services to help them “fall in love with school again,” in the words of one mentor, Anthony Jackson.
The tutoring program also hopes to bring back students who have benefitted from the tutor/mentor initiative to nurture the younger cohorts. The results have so far been promising: Hayward high schools have seen a 10% increase in graduation rates since 2011.
The Columbus Tutoring Initiative began in 2004 as a joint venture between two Christian non-profits—Youth for Christ and the Central Ohio Mission Columbus. But faith doesn’t play a role in the program. Instead, the tutoring program now reaches 21 elementary schools across five Columbus school districts, pairing 350 second- and third-grade students with 300 tutors for a majority of the period from October – April. Students are flagged for support by their classroom teachers and receive personalized tutoring once a week during their lunch and recess breaks.
Education, however, is only one of the benefits provided to the students, many of whom “don’t have parents at home who can read with them,” according to one tutor, local second-grade teacher Brooke Koebel. She says most students leave the program having jumped a year or more in reading ability.
The students also value the special bonding with an adult who listens, says Tyler Flynn, the program’s executive director. “Once that connection happens,” he adds, “that’s where the real learning begins.”
Whiz Kids Oklahoma provides weekly tutoring to improve the reading skills for 900 at-risk elementary school students at 33 sites across the city.
But it’s more than just the students’ reading skills that improve, says Whiz Kids communications manager Amy Bruce. “The research shows these students are less likely to be incarcerated [and] to have family problems of their own,” Bruce adds. They’re also more likely to go to college.
With all the program’s success, Whiz Kids still needs more tutors on the ground. As one tutor, Robert Weaver, puts it: ““It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, you can always be a tutor and help the kids because we get a chance to mentor them in other things besides reading.”
All further proof that it really does take a village (or at least serious community-based learning) to lift up students and offer them a genuine chance to soar.
Setting up Students for Success http://www.ktvu.com/news/setting-up-students-for-success
Several OKC Nonprofits in Need of Mentors for At-Risk Students http://okcfox.com/news/local/several-okc-nonprofits-in-need-of-mentors-for-at-risk-students
Tutoring program boosts student success, builds relationships http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180110/tutoring-program-boosts-student-success-builds-relationships