Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Tutoring program a success at GRE

April 17, 2002

More than a dozen Glenwood Ridge Elementary School students sat quietly Tuesday, April 16, in the school's library while receiving one-on-one tutoring.

It was a scene found at any school across the country, with students working on homework due the next day.

However, this was different.

On this warm afternoon, school had already been dismissed, and the tutors weren't certified educators.

In fact, the tutors hadn't even graduated elementary school.

The program, which pairs older GRE students with a peer for tutoring, has been in place for more than a year now.

"We did it last year and it was just kind of an experiment to see how peer tutoring would work," GRE Principal Tom Sack said, who last year ran the after-school program three to four times a week.

Sack said the peer-tutoring program was introduced into the school because students can also make good teachers.

"Sometimes kids can tell other kids better than adults on how to do something," he said.

The program can also be valuable to the tutors in understanding a subject, Sack said.

"Really the way to learn something is to teach the concept to someone else," Sack said. "The tutors then really have a solid concept in their mind with a greater understanding."

This year, the students meet every Tuesday afternoon from 4 to 5 p.m. with three or four adult supervisors.

The supervisors are volunteers from the Basehor-Linwood School District YouthFriends, which coordinates the program.

"The whole idea is to develop leadership skills in older students," YouthFriends co-coordinator Tammy Potts said.

Several GRE tutors said they have enjoyed being a part of the program.

GRE sixth-grader Christopher Sifuentes has been a tutor since December. His time in the program has been well spent, he said.

"It's fun and it helps people," Sifuentes said. "I like to help people."

GRE fifth-grader Anne Dickinson is also a tutor in the program. She said tutoring has been a good experience.

"I'm glad I got into it," Dickinson said.

Both students said they would continue to tutor others in the future.

The students receiving the additional help are also benefiting from the after-school program.

Fifth-grader Sara Smith has been tutored since the program was implemented.

Before, her grades weren't as high as she would have liked. Now, she makes good grades on a regular basis, Smith said.

"It helps me with homework and if I don't understand something," Smith said.

She said she would continue to participate.

Sixth-grader LaTasha Gaines-Bey receives after-school tutoring in math, and has started understanding the subject better with the extra help, she said.

The GRE peer-tutoring program is the only one of its kind in the school district, although administrators at Basehor and Linwood elementary schools said they were considering implementing a similar program in the future.

Because of the program's success, it will have a place at GRE for the foreseeable future, Sack said.

"We'll do it in some form," he said. "Working with the YouthFriends has been just an ideal situation."

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