Monday, Sep 26, 2016
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Education

Rossford: Students used as tutors for younger ones

Rossford school officials recently beefed up a tutoring program at one elementary school to assist students struggling with reading and math.

Eagle Point Principal Deb Serdar instituted the expanded tutoring program at the beginning of the school year using high school and university students willing to work with younger children.

The expansion began after Ms. Serdar said she began looking over data compiled over the last few years that used testing scores, and noted a trend with students needing extra help with math.

"We didn't have an established intervention program for math in school," she said, adding that the school does have an OhioReads Adolescent Literacy Grant that brings in volunteer tutors to improve reading skills for students reading below grade level.

She asked Rossford High School students if they'd be interested in volunteering, and she received responses from about a dozen of them.

The students, who get out of class about 45 minutes before the elementary students do, were paired with several youngsters - generally in the fourth through sixth grades - and now spend about 20 minutes with each student toward the end of the school day assisting them with either reading or math.

This system allows 47 students to be tutored in math once a week, and 20 more students to be tutored in reading almost every day, Ms. Serdar said.

So far, she said she's pleased with the results.

"The high school kids have been wonderful, and our children at the elementary level are really responding well to having that older mentor," she said. "In the short time we've done it, it's been very successful. The kids don't see it as a chore. I think they look forward to seeing those high school kids."

Logan Nichols, 17, a junior at Rossford High School, said he volunteered to be a math tutor for two to four kids a day twice a week until basketball season started.

He said he enjoyed helping the kids with decimals, subtraction, and multiplication, and thinks he made a difference.

"They showed improvement because before, they were taking 10 seconds for each problem, and then [with tutoring] they were getting it really quick," he said.

With any new program, Ms. Serdar said she has some modifications and improvements in mind.

"I want to grow the program, and the more volunteers I can get, the more children I can get into the program," she said, adding that she needs to replenish her pool of volunteers because some of her high school students play winter sports after school.

If more tutors volunteer, students would have the option to have math intervention twice a week or more, instead of once a week, but she that would depend on tutors' willingness and availability.

"Once a week is a help," she said, "but twice a week would be a boost."

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