Education

More News | |

Few students take advantage of free tutoring

Participation low in region, state after-school programs

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 9:27 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 4:31 AM
  • Follow Education

Hours after the dismissal bell rang Tuesday at Bayvale Elementary School, about 50 pupils were sitting around desks with books open and pencils digging into paper.

Back | Next
Fifth grade reading and language arts teacher Melissa Brantley (left) works with Tashani McRae, 9, as she finishes a math worksheet on Tuesday at Bayvale Elementary School's after-school tutoring program.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Fifth grade reading and language arts teacher Melissa Brantley (left) works with Tashani McRae, 9, as she finishes a math worksheet on Tuesday at Bayvale Elementary School's after-school tutoring program.

By their sides were tutors giving instruction at no cost to the school or parents. The after-hours school bus that shuttled the pupils home around 7 p.m. also does not cost families a dime.

Although Richmond County students have a free opportunity for extra help with reading and math, a low percentage of students who qualify actually take advantage of the services.

The Supplemental Educational Services program, offered under the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, provides free tutoring to children at schools with high poverty or schools that failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards for two years.

Out of 9,054 eligible students at 16 schools, 3,858, or 42 percent, are receiving supplemental services this year. Although the number is low, it is an increase from the 25 percent participation rate seen every year since 2008.

“It’s hard to say why the numbers have been so low,” said Georgette Magwood, Richmond County’s supplemental services coordinator. “I can assume it’s just that the families are not aware.”

This school year, Magwood said her department reached out to the community to recruit more students.

But the low participation is not just a local trend. In Georgia, only 33 percent of the 45,158 eligible students in the 2010-11 school year took advantage of the free tutoring, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

Because of the low participation, department spokesman Matt Cardoza said Georgia’s application for a waiver from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind includes a request to use money allocated for supplemental services on other programs. Richmond County receives $1,697 per student for free tutoring, and Magwood said the extra instruction is beneficial, especially for students coming from low-income families, which SES targets.

“Coming up in a house that’s low income, there aren’t as many books in the home, there isn’t as much technology in the home and there’s not as much time devoted to academics,” Magwood said. “We’ve got to give them what they need, and it’s possible for them to get these things through tutoring.”

Using federal money, the district offers four types of supplemental services: one-on-one tutoring, small-group tutoring, online assisted learning for home use and another online program that allows participants to keep a notebook computer after completion of the curriculum.

The district contracts with dozens of companies that provide tutoring services, and parents of qualified children can select which programs they’d like to use. Some providers hold sessions at the student’s zone school while others tutor off campus, so in some cases parents have to provide their own transportation for students.

Dana Rickman, the director of policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, said the supplemental services program has not taken off in the state, which has made schools eager to use the federal money in other ways.

“For whatever reason, it’s not resonating with either the students or the parents,” Rickman said. “It’s really a nationwide issue. Participation is really low, and there’s some theories about how it’s being offered. ... Transportation is always an issue.”

At Bayvale, tutor James Davis said he sees progress in the pupils who use the tutoring because of the chance to reinforce concepts in a more intimate setting.

On Tuesday, he practiced reading comprehension with five first-graders by reading a story out loud about a dog.

Huddled together around a desk, there is no chance for a student to go unnoticed.

“We get to reiterate what’s been taught in the classroom that day,” Davis said. “The real benefit is being able to have this dialogue with the kids.”

SCHOOLS THAT QUALIFY

ALL PUPILS AT: Bayvale, Diamond Lakes, Jamestown, Meadowbrook and Tobacco Road elementary schools; and Morgan Road, Sego and Spirit Creek middle schools

STUDENTS ON FREE AND REDUCED LUNCH AT: Barton Chapel and Jenkins-White Charter elementary schools; Langford and Murphey middle schools; W.S. Hornsby K-8 School; and George P. Butler, T.W. Josey and Glenn Hills high schools

STUDENT USE

Participation in Richmond County Supplemental Educational Services:

YEAR       ELIGIBLE      USERS

2008-09        5,414              1,370

2009-10         7,164              1,828

2010-11          7,425              1,926

2011-12          9,054              3,858

Source: Georgia Department of Education

Comments (11) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
raul
5500
Points
raul 01/31/12 - 11:27 pm
0
0
You can lead a horse to

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Parents don't know about the program, or just don't care?

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 02/01/12 - 03:30 am
0
0
How much money for parental

How much money for parental outreach efforts intended to recruit students to her supplemental tutoring program is Dr. Magwood being given? My hunch is not-nearly-enough.

I know where she can get about $600K, though.

seenitB4
93470
Points
seenitB4 02/01/12 - 04:34 am
0
0
My guess would be that some

My guess would be that some parents need to be in these classes.

Just My Opinion
6066
Points
Just My Opinion 02/01/12 - 05:45 am
0
0
seenit, I agree that it'd be

seenit, I agree that it'd be nice if some of the parents could be there, but we both know that probably won't happen. I think part of the problem is ignorance...the parents just don't realize how important this is. This may sound silly, but think about it..I think the PARENTS also need some sort of mentor, someone they can trust to tell them what they NEED to do for the betterment of their child. If there were more of a closer relationship between the principal or the guidance counselor and the parents, then maybe the parents would heed the advice of them and make sure their child participates. (Notice I didn't include the teacher?...teachers have too much on their plates to take on one more thing, IMO.) I mean, the tutor AND the ride are taken care of, so what's holding them back? Do they want the school system to provide supper for them too? (Ohhhh, maybe I shouldn't have said that! That may be the next thing we have to pay for, huh?)

seenitB4
93470
Points
seenitB4 02/01/12 - 05:51 am
0
0
Thanks JMO......I was just

Thanks JMO......I was just sitting here thinking...does anyone feel like I do...
The teachers are loaded down already........sometimes I just get tired of seeing the same problems with the school system & it never gets better...we know throwing $$$ won't solve everything.

RoadkiII
6807
Points
RoadkiII 02/01/12 - 07:13 am
0
0
I am a problem, (right Sean?)

I am a problem, (right Sean?) throw money at me and see if I will go away!!!

Dudeness
1546
Points
Dudeness 02/01/12 - 09:33 am
0
0
Tutoring is a great idea, but

Tutoring is a great idea, but no matter how much money you throw at school programs, you still can not force a parent to care. I think that if a student's grades dropped to the point of being abysmal, then the parent should be required to take their child to the tutoring sessions and stay with them.

raul
5500
Points
raul 02/01/12 - 10:18 am
0
0
Since they seem to have

Since they seem to have plenty of spaces available, why not open up the tutoring opportunity to all students that desire to participate? Not just low income and schools failing to meet AYP?

kc fan
171
Points
kc fan 02/01/12 - 11:14 am
0
0
Schools are good about

Schools are good about getting the information about ongoing programs at school, however students are not always responsible for getting the information home. Involved parents stop by or call the school to check up on school activities to insure they know what is going on. I know this as I have first hand experience as a teacher in 4 different schools.

allhans
24480
Points
allhans 02/01/12 - 02:13 pm
0
0
The parent participating

The parent participating would be a good idea. Have them sit in on the class..listen and learn.

raul
5500
Points
raul 02/01/12 - 03:00 pm
0
0
@Kc fan. Am I reading your

@Kc fan. Am I reading your comment to mean that the schools rely on the kids to inform the parents of programs like this? If so, not going to happen. The school should send an info sheet about the program and have the parent sign and return to the school. Although, really, I don't think it would improve attendance. Maybe I am just too cynical. I don't think most of these parents care. Too bad, education, is the only way these kids will break out of this cycle.

Little Lamb
47876
Points
Little Lamb 02/01/12 - 05:22 pm
0
0
Tracey McManus wrote: . . . a

Tracey McManus wrote:

. . . a low percentage of students who qualify actually take advantage of the services. . . . 42 percent are receiving supplemental services this year. Although the number is low, it is an increase from the 25 percent participation rate seen every year since 2008. . . . “It’s hard to say why the numbers have been so low,” said Georgette Magwood, Richmond County’s supplemental services coordinator. . . . But the low participation is not just a local trend. In Georgia, only 33 percent . . . of eligible students in the 2010-11 school year took advantage of the free tutoring, according to the Georgia Department of Education. . . . Because of the low participation, department spokesman Matt Cardoza said Georgia’s application for a waiver from certain provisions. . . . Dana Rickman, the director of policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, said . . . participation is really low, and there’s some theories about how it’s being offered.

Just because some educrats call something low does not mean it actually is low. You are offering a program that some parents like and some parents don't like. Just accept it and help the kids who show up. Don't whine about the ones who don't.

Back to Top

Top headlines

City to consider emergency plan

The Richmond County Emer­gency Management Agency has drafted changes to emergency operating procedures. Overlooked, however, were several pages of emergency contact data riddled with ...
Search Augusta jobs