Category Archives: News

Tutors for All Announces New Partnership with the YMCA!

EastBoston YMCA

 

Starting this summer Tutors for All will be running summer camp and after school programs at YMCA locations across Boston.

T4A will serve elementary school students attending YMCA summer camp and after school programs. This first of these programs will begin at the Roxbury YMCA this July. In the fall we will conduct our first after school program at the East Boston YMCA. We look forward to expanding our outreach to Boston youth through the YMCA. Check back for updates throughout the year!

T4A Partner, MGH Youth Scholars, Profiled by WBZ-TV

MGH Spring 2014 Report

Recently, the MGH Youth Scholars were profiled by WBZ-TV. This amazing health career-oriented program exposes high school aged students to careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) world. In addition to experiential learning, MGH provides the Youth Scholars with Academic Coaches through a partnership with Tutors for All.

Tutors for All works with Scholars on the academic side of the program. Known as “Academic Day”, each week the scholars are given direct one-on-one instruction in a given topic. Scholars have the opportunity to work on math or literacy skills, PSAT prep, or how to apply study and working skills to their school curriculum.

All coaching sessions are focused around a learning strategy designed to help students internalize knowledge and self-regulate learning. For math Tutors for All utilizes the JUMP Math curriculum developed in Toronto, Canada by John Mighton.  JUMP Math breaks basic math instruction into manageable steps and then builds on those concepts as students demonstrate mastery. T4A Literacy Coaches used short readings as a daily starting point for their literacy instruction. T4A literacy curriculum ranges from basic skills, PSAT prep, SAT prep, Accuplacer prep, and AP class level. Tutors for All provided each scholar with the appropriate level according to the results of the scholars’ diagnostic assessment.

MGH Spring 2014 Report Bar Graph

(Note: Y Axis measure growth in grade equivalency (GE) or academic years over the course of the program.)

Above is a snapshot of our results from the Spring 2014 semester. The above chart represents academic data for scholars with 80% or greater attendance. GMADE was the standardized test given to assess math, GRADE was the standardized test given to assess literacy.

Overall Scholars reported an overwhelmingly positive feeling about “Academic Day” with Tutors for All. A performance survey on the last day of their program is represented below.

MGH Spring 2014 Tutor Performance

The partnership between Tutors for All and MGH’s Youth Scholars program is going into its fourth year this summer. As one of our longest running current partners, we have enjoyed working with MGH and are looking forward to working in the future.

Student Growth in Spring 2014

This semester, Tutors for All worked at four different locations: Codman Academy Public Charter School, Jackson Mann K-8 School, MGH Center for Community Improvement, and Maurice Tobin School. Our students ranged in age from 4th grade to college.

We measure our results many different ways, the most famous and standardized method being MCAS scores. It will be a few months before these scores are released, but we have already measured growth with our own tests, called “Show What You Know” (SWYK). These tests reflect the math or English standards that students should meet to be successful at their grade level. They take the test at the beginning, in the middle, and near the end of a program.

This blog will review three groups that we tutored this semester. (The high school sophomores we tutor at Codman and the high school and college students we coach at MGH aren’t included because their programs do not use SWYK.)

Codman – 9th grade, 48 students

Spring 2014 Codman Graph

Codman is our largest and longest run program, and serves both 9th and 10th graders. We have tracked the growth of our forty-eight 9th graders over the last two semesters. Of students who have taken the SWYK at least once each semester, the average score at the beginning of the year was 52.5%. Now it is at 70% – a 17.5% increase.

 

Jackson Mann – 4th Grade, 51 students

Spring 2014 JM Graph

Jackson Mann is our youngest program, teaching 4th grade math. Over the last semester, the average score went from 52.8% to 67.78%, an increase of 14.98%. One of our students increased their score from 43.33% to 78.57% in ten short weeks. Beyond academic achievement, this student also gained confidence in their abilities – an invaluable part of fulfilling their potential in the future.

 

Tobin – 5th grade, 50 students

Spring 2014 Tobin Graph

Tutors for All has a successful history with Tobin. In 2012, the 6th grade cohort we tutored achieved a math MSGP of 87. This semester, we enthusiastically renewed our relationship with the school. If SWYK scores are any indication, our tutors have really helped their 5th grade students. 97% of our 50 students showed a marked improvement on their SWYK scores throughout the semester. Overall, individual students’ scores improved an an average of 14.6%. The majority of students (62%) improved more than 15%, and 28% of students improved their scores by more than 25%.

Among these students we had a few superstars. 3 students, or 6%, improved their scores by more than 30%. One student went from scores 55% on their exam to 97%! Five other students tested out of the 4th grade level curriculum and started working on 7th-9th grade curriculum instead.

These statistics show that individualized instruction can create fantastic results in a relatively short amount of time. When students are given the attention they need, they succeed.

- Esther Gonzalez

Anyone Can Succeed in Academics. Here’s How.

Tutors for All achieves huge gains in Literacy with a new approach to learning. This fall, T4A debuted our “Meta-Cognitive Framing Activities” approach for the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Youth Scholars Program. The participating Youth Scholars are Boston Public High School students. Students who took part in the program grew an average of three grade levels in reading comprehension from Spring 2013 to the December 2013, the equivalent of getting three years of education in one calendar year. The following is adapted from the final report we submitted to MGH’s Center for Community Health Improvement in December 2013 detailing the results of the program:

“Traditional discourses about improving student performance focuses on increasing standards and providing high-level coursework. However, while providing quality content area instruction is essential, there is little evidence to suggest that this–in and of itself–can lead to the gains in high school and college degree attainment for which we are striving. Therefore, recent research has begun to look toward other nonacademic factors that play a role in a Scholar’s schooling experiences. These nonacademic factors, often called “noncognitive factors”, such as persistence, self-regulation, motivation, work habits, organization, and learning strategies, have been shown to have a demonstrated effect on education outcomes.” (Farrington et al., 2012) (Emphasis added.)

Source: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, Literature Review, June 2012

Source: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, Literature Review, June 2012

In response to the growing body of research that highlights the importance of non-academic factors such as academic mindset and self-regulating academic strategies in student success, Tutors for All designed a new tutorial format to directly address these “non-cognitive factors” alongside direct skills-based instruction. Our tutors are trained and equipped to enable their students to move from being passive recipients of academic content to becoming active, conscientious, and productive scholars.

This semester at our MGH program, all tutorials were focused around a ‘Metacognitive Framing Activity’ (MFA). The MFA’s are strategies designed to help students internalize knowledge and self-regulate learning. While the MFA’s primarily provide examples for how they may be used to supplement the acquisition of literacy skills, they can be modified to support learning in other content areas. MFA concepts include: Think Aloud, Visualization, and Three-Step-Reading. Tutors and students integrated these activities into their sessions as they read a section of the student’s text book, reviewed the students notes, or other provided classroom material that addresses the content students need to learn. The second section of the tutorial, the skills section, would then use the MFA to practice whatever skill/assignment/project/problem that student is struggling with a specific content area. For students struggling with Reading Comprehension the results were tremendous. Click the graph for a larger view of the specific numbers:

Note: Student’s 7 and 8 did not take the GRADE assessment in spring 2013. Therefore we have omitted their fall 2013 tests scores from the overall growth calculation. All students were in 10th or 11th grade at the time of the second assessment.

We look forward to posting our Spring semester results in May!

- Chris Baginski

Meet T4A Alum Contest Winner Vivian Dien

V_Le_Photo

Ms. Dien expressed disbelief when we called her to let her know that she’d won our first Alumnae/i Raffle and an iPad mini — it was, in her own words, “the first time … (she’d) won anything.”  After she got over the shock, she took some time to reflect on her experience as a tutor in our Academic Mindset Program at MGH’s Center for Community Health Improvement.

T4A: Given the wide variety of work-study options available to MIT students, what made you decide to work at Tutors for All’s MGH Program?

Vivian: I had a bit teaching experience beforehand and an interest in education, so finding a tutoring gig as a work-study option seemed like a no-brainer.  I choose to work with Tutors for All-MGH at first because it was conveniently located and the schedule worked with my classes at the time. I later realized that I had picked to work with a great organization that really prioritizes the growth of their students and takes a more holistic approach to education.

T4A: What would you consider the highlight of your semester of tutoring at MGH?

Vivian:I think the highlight of my semester was when I challenged my student to take initiative in pursuing some of her life goals–things that were related to learning more about her family heritage/culture and doing research on colleges she might be interested in. She came into tutoring the next week and was so excited about all the things she learned. She was teaching me for a change, which showed heightened confidence, focus, and passion.

T4A: Looking backwards, how has the experience affected you professionally and personally?

Vivian: My experience with Tutors for All has helped me grow in many ways. I have become a better listener, more empathetic, articulate, and patient–which have had positive effects on both my career and personal life.

MGH Program Manager Luisa Baginski also shared her thoughts on Vivian’s service in the MGH program, noting the following:

Ms. Dien “stood out immediately among a cast of stellar tutors as a dynamic, dedicated and ambitious individual. From the outset, she challenged her student, Jasmine, to go the extra mile in her work, and she did! Jasmine clearly caught the energy and enthusiasm Vivian regarded their studies with, and they achieved some remarkable things together. I would be very interested to watch the careers of both these young women, as I suspect they will both achieve great success.”

First Day of Summer Programs

Welcome to T4A Summer Program!

Today is the first day of summer programs! Our summer  Bicentennial program at MGH will serve 33 students and focus on college preparation and success. Our college students have chosen to focus on various Math and Science courses in preparation for their Fall semester. Our high school students will be studying for the SAT and ACCUPLACER.

“The average student’s literacy level tends to drop over the summer.” says Program Manager, Chris Baginski. “Tutors for All summer programs offer a fantastic opportunity to spring forward in math, reading, and the sciences. Four years worth of student data backs that up.”

In Summer 2012, T4A’s ACCUPLACER Preparation course led to students passing out of 35 remedial courses, saving them over $15,000 in tuition and fees.

Exponent Partners Awards Tutors for All its 2013 QuickStart Grant

Thanks to ExponentPartners’ QuickStart Grant, Tutors for All has just completed full Salesforce Implementation. We look forward to being able to more effectively reach our constituents and serve our students with the help of Salesforce.

ExponentPartners is a mission-based information technology consulting firm specializing in human services, education and social impact. They are industry professionals who have partnered with the Salesforce Foundation to develop their QuickStart service. The QuickStart Service is a Salesforce implementation solution that helps organizations quickly and efficiently deploy Salesforce, while tailoring the CRM to the organization’s unique needs.

Over 250 nonprofit organizations have trusted ExponentPartners to enhance their technology and performance management capacity.

Thank you ExponentPartners!

ExponentPartners

Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation grants support to T4A’s Academic Mindset Tutorial

We are pleased to announce that Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has just granted us support for our Academic Mindset Tutorial!

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s grant will help T4A further develop our new Academic Mindset and Learning Strategies Curriculum, originally piloted with the MGH Youth Scholars in Fall 2012.

TFA 73

This curriculum works in conjunction with effective skills-based instruction and is designed to assist students move from being passive recipients of academic content to becoming active, conscientious, and productive scholars. It can be used across grade-levels, content areas, and skills in order to support the internalization of knowledge and development of academic self-efficacy.

This program will improve the mindset, strategy usage, and coursework grades of the students it serves, setting them up as the kind of self-regulating learners that are most likely to achieve success in college and the workplace.

It will provide T4A staff opportunity to integrate the most powerful elements of these programs into our award-winning skills programs while developing a powerful suite of interventions applicable for a range of students in a range of settings.

EasternBank

Tutors for All Awarded “Outstanding Community Partner”

Recently, Tutors for All was recognized by the Scott/Ross Center for Community Service at Simmons College as an Outstanding Community Partner. Tutors for All Program Manager, Courtney McSparron and Operations Manager, Mike Zinni, accepted the award on behalf of all TfA staff, campus representatives, program coordinators, lead tutors, tutors, and volunteers.

Over the course of five years, Tutors for All and the Scott/Ross Center have cultivated a partnership that has served to benefit TfA greatly, not least of which has been the consistent base of high-quality tutors the center has helped to recruit. In addition, the efforts of the always friendly and helpful staff have served as an invaluable resource since TfA’s inception. Tutors for All would like to personally thank Scott/Ross Center Faculty Director, Steve London and Associate Director for Undergraduate Service-Learning, Desirae Simmons.