Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Program provides homework help

March 2, 2006

It's not lack of brainpower that's stopping some Lansing Middle School students from succeeding, the coordinator of a tutoring program said.

Last month, LMS started an after-school tutoring program for students recommended by their teachers to receive help.

Don Haussler is the new coordinator for the program. Many of the problems he's seen so far stem from "plain old not doing it," he said.

"Some had assignments that were done but they didn't turn it in," he said. "A lot of them just need to focus."

Students' observations supported Haussler's assessment.

Kelsey Kreutzer, an eighth-grader, said her math and language arts grades have gone up since she began attending tutoring sessions.

"My main thing is I'm not organized," she said. Before, she said she often would do her homework and then lose it. Now, she has specific folders for her work. She said not only is she better about doing her homework, she also understands it better.

Sixth-grader Eric Pilloni had a similar success story after only two weeks in the program.

"I've been doing my homework," he said. "I never did my homework before."

Eighth-grader Mazie Herzog is a tutor in the program. She works with sixth-graders on "basically whatever they need help on." She said her job is not necessarily intensive one-on-one tutoring; instead, she keeps her group members focused on doing their work and answers questions when they ask.

Right now, the program is serving 22 students in sixth through eighth grade. Tutoring sessions last for one hour after school Monday through Thursday. Haussler checks students' agendas for homework assignments when they arrive at the LMS library and they split into groups, which usually consist of one tutor and about four students.

However, students have been on their own more this week. The program started with a few tutors who were high school athletes. When spring practices began on Monday, the tutors had to leave the program.

Haussler is now looking for volunteers to replace those tutors and additional ones so he can eliminate the waiting list of six students, he said. The current tutors are students, but parents, older siblings, grandparents or other retired people would be welcome to volunteer, he said. Volunteers can work as many days as fit their schedule, he said.

Despite the lack of volunteers, Haussler said the program will continue to help students improve.

"If the kids will hang with us, I think they'll see some improvement just by getting their stuff done," he said.


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