New Academic Tutoring Program
In October, Acts4Youth started an academic tutoring program at Walter P. Carter School, where 82% of the students are below grade level.
Our tutoring program provides a blend of social emotional skill building with specific academic support in the areas of reading and math. Students are selected for tutoring sessions through conversations with 3rd and 4th grade teachers as well as biweekly classroom observations and “push-ins” (classroom support) which provide a real time snapshot of student behavior, student engagement and academic participation.
Observations and Outcomes…Through an initial classroom observation during a reading lesson, Olivia, Acts4Youth’s tutor, noted that one specific student (“H”) was exhibiting disengaged and distracting behaviors that included calling out, not following his teacher’s instructions and making disruptive noises which ultimately resulted in his desk being moved away from his peers.
After speaking to H about the outcome of his behavior, Olivia ascertained that he does not like reading because he doesn’t think he is a good reader. Research shows that effects of falling behind in reading and feeling like a failure can take a large toll on kids. Children can lose all desire to learn to read or go to school. Some begin to act out in class or set low expectations for themselves. Knowing this, Olivia immediately began working with H and some of his peers who were also identified as needing additional social and academic supports.
Since working with Olivia, H is making great strides in the classroom…
Before Olivia started working with H, he was frequently off task and disturbed the other students. With Olivia’s support, H recently had an aha! moment when he figured out how to break words apart to help him sound them out. Now H is excitedly reading posters in the classroom, engaging in small group learning, raising his hand to answer questions, and is sitting at a table with his peers!
To serve the whole child, we incorporate social/emotional learning into our academic tutoring… In addition to academic tutoring, Olivia has incorporated “encouragement” into H’s reading lessons to decrease his academic frustrations and tendency to become angry at his peers for “getting” the reading lesson before he does. H and his reading partner are reading books focused on friendship. Their discussions about the book’s content not only help with reading comprehension but are also designed to help them think about what it means to be a good friend.
In a recent small group, at Olivia’s prompting, H encouraged his team member by saying, “You are doing a good job reading. You’ve got this.”
We are by no means saying that our work with H is done or that a month and half is a typical time frame to see change, but we’re excited by the initial results from H and the small number of other students we’re currently working with. We look forward to expanding the program with volunteers in 2020!