Category Archives: Tutors for All Blog: One Student At a Time

One Student At a Time

Tutors for All believes that the achievement gap will be closed in the trenches, one student at a time. This blog builds on our experience running individualized education programs for the last 8 years in district, charter, and parochial schools.

Element #5 of Highly Effective Tutorial: Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring

Over the past few months, we’ve been discussing what we call the “7 Key Elements to Effective Tutorial” to break down the uniting themes among our programs, provide a road map to providing a successful tutorial program, and generate a conversation among experts and beginners alike on how effective programs work. Those elements are:

  1. High Quality Oversight
  2. Professionalization of Tutors
  3. 1:1 or 1:2 Ratios
  4. Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy
  5. Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring
  6. Tutors for All (not Some)
  7. Leveraged Subsidies for Service

This month, we’ll be discussing Element #5: Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring, and why these are so important.

91dbee0d-26d4-42ed-bd02-7a3af8296aac At an early Tutors for All planning meeting, erstwhile Match School Dean of Students (and current Assistant Principal of Central Queens Academy) Glenn Liebeck shared his vision of assessment in tutorial programs: they should be frequent, they should be regular, and they should be a big deal.

Think about The Biggest Loser on TV, he said.  Everyone knows when they’re going to be weighed in, and everyone knows how they do on the scales. The result is a level of excitement, accountability, and investment in results that is absent in everyday life, let alone school.

While Tutors for All never went all in on the publicity front — NBC didn’t offer us the airtime — we have been informed by and always believed in Glenn’s vision.

What does that mean in practice? First, that we start our tutorial programs with an assessment, the “Show What you Know.” We do leave time for relationship building, clear articulation of expectations, and other areas of importance for effective instruction.  However, we are up front with tutors and kids that tests happen, that tests matter, and that they will have multiple opportunities to get get better at these tests over the course of the a program.

Second, we give the assessment regularly, about once every 4 or 5 tutorial sessions.   This may seem like a lot; what kind of gains could realistically be expected after three or four hours of instruction?  The latest research on testing, however, shows that sitting down and being assessed has instructive as well as evaluative value.  The process of taking a test requires and reinforces certain skills: recollection, connection, and application — that “stick” long after the assessment is over.  Up to point, the more students take tests, the more they apply what they’re learning, the more they learn.

Third, we identify and celebrate growth as it happens, in as close to real time as possible.  Take that second assessment, for example.  While most students won’t have achieved big gains after three or four tutorial sessions, invariably a few will.  Identifying and celebrating those students makes a huge difference for the level of investment for the tutors and the students moving forward.

Making the Show What You Know central, frequent, and important plays a big role in how we run our programs and why they are successful.  At the same time, it’s not the only assessment that happens in Tutors for All programs.

We assess our tutors through observation of their sessions with students.  Our tutors assess us, giving us feedback as to how to better structure and administer programs. Finally, our students assess us, using criteria that were developed through years of talking to kids and learning what is really appreciated.   In all of these areas, the frequency and regularity of the monitoring is what makes the difference.


Tutor Spotlight: Super-Recruiter Melinda Pigeon

Melinda, a second year pre-med student at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has been a tutor with us since fall 2014. In that short time, she’s recruited six new tutors to our ranks – the most referrals ever accomplished by one person! We asked her to tell us more about how she got involved and her passion for student progress.


How did you first find out about Tutors for All?

I found out about Tutors for All last year during my freshman year, when I was looking for work study jobs to apply for. I love kids and have always been good at math so it seemed like the perfect way to spend my time.

What made you want to come back and serve with Tutors for All again?

Tutors for All became something that I looked forward to each week. I loved watching my student progress each week. Not only did my student seem to be understanding more, I noticed that she was growing more and more confident with herself. My second semester with Tutors for All I was a lead tutor. This was a great opportunity as it gave me more opportunity to reach out to the other tutors and hear about their experiences. Tutors for All became so much a part of my weekly schedule that upon getting my tentative fall 2015 schedule last spring, I moved classes around so as to free up some time for tutoring. I think that Tutors for All is a great program and very beneficial to not just the students, but also the tutors throughout Boston.

How many friends did you get to join up?

I believe last year I got around 5 or 6 friends to join up. This year, I’ve been spreading the word on many Boston college Facebook pages and through email, so hopefully we will see some new faces resulting from that.

What did you do to convince your friends to join T4A as well?

A lot of people I knew had heard me talking about how proud I was of my student and with her progress throughout the first semester. They would ask me how I found the position and how they could get involved. Everyone seemed to really just jump at the opportunity, whether it was volunteer or work study. With the people that I didn’t know, the ones that reached out due to my Facebook posts, I presented them with my story. I focused on describing how rewarding it had become to actually be able to see the progress and to know that what you’re doing for these kids really will impact their future. In the beginning, you really could see the impact of the achievement gap; the lack of opportunities present for encouragement and teaching skills inhibited students from reaching their full potential. Tutors for All provides these children with the encouragement and skills that they need to not only get ahead for the time being, but also provides them with a sense of confidence they can continue to build throughout life.

What did you end up using your Amazon gift cards on?

I used my Amazon gift cards to buy myself a Fitbit. Going into the medical field, I try to lead a healthy lifestyle. Buying a Fitbit has helped me make a few lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and taking up running.

Want to become a super-recruiter like Melinda? We offer a $25 Amazon gift card to the source of all referrals that end in a hire. We seek experienced individuals who have a passion for education and community outreach with skills in leadership and teaching. Recommenders can direct applicants to

Meet Tutors for All’s New Staff!

This month was a busy month at Tutors for All as we said hello not just to a new year of students and tutors, but to three new staff members: Program Coordinator Joe Alvarez, Program Manager Kate Ferrell, and Growth and Partnerships Coordinator Stephanie Park! They shared a little bit about themselves and what brought them to Tutors for All.



 From left: Kate Ferrell, Joe Alvarez, Stephanie Park

Kate comes on board as the new Program Manager for the Tobin School and Boston Green Academy.  She is a ten year veteran educator who spent 8 years in the classroom teaching high school history and Adult ESL, then two years running a vocational program for a non-profit agency that served youth in foster care throughout the greater Boston area.  She graduated from UMASS, Amherst in 2004 with a B.A. in History, and went on to graduate from the same higher learning institution with a Masters of Education in 2005 through the “180 Days in Springfield” Project.  She has committed her career to providing excellent educational services to youth in underserved communities and is thrilled to be part of the Tutors for All team.  Her passions also include spending time in nature, learning new things, yoga, meditation, and bringing mindfulness into all aspects of daily living.

Stephanie joins Tutors for All as a 2015-16 AmeriCorps New Sector Resident in Social Enterprise (RISE) fellow. She will be working to develop and execute the Tutors for All growth plan by engaging in board and fund development, partnerships, and marketing. After graduating from Scripps College in 2013 with a major in cultural studies, she spent two years abroad in South Korea, first as an English teacher at an all-boys high school through the Fulbright program, and then as the assistant projects coordinator with a grassroots progressive Korean organization. Her experiences as a teacher and community organizer have led to her passion for providing organizations with the support and capacity they need to carry out their work, and have provided the perfect nexus for her work at Tutors for All.

Joseph is the new program coordinator for Tutors for All, and will be working to help support the Codman, Tobin, and Boston Green Academy sites.  After graduating from Boston University in 2013, Joseph spent two years an AmeriCorps service member.  His first year he worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Waukesha, Wisconsin helping to oversee a youth mentorship program run through Carroll University and Waukesha County.  His second year brought him back to Boston to serve as AmeriCorps fellow with Tenacity, serving at the Mario Umana Middle School in East Boston.  His experiences from his service have made him passionate about education and bridging the achievement gap that exists here in Boston.  In his spare time, Joseph loves to play soccer and tennis at Moakley Park or spend a nice day reading out on the Esplanade.

Departing Interview: Ben Nichols

benWhat did you enjoy most about working as a tutor and office manager at Tutors for All?

“As a tutor, I loved being able to be on the front lines, working directly with students and helping them grow and improve their skills and abilities. It is so fulfilling to see growth and change happen, and so exhilarating to be a catalyst of that improvement.” “As an office manager, I have really enjoyed interviewing potential tutors and talking with them about their hopes of tutoring with us. It has been so enjoyable to meet so many amazing people that want to give of their time to help those around them. It’s been great to be part of that team!”

What will you most miss about working at Tutors for All?

“It has been such an amazing opportunity to work with you, Mark and Luisa, and learn from you, as you are both education experts and understand what it takes to make a difference in the lives of those with whom you work. I will miss working side by side with you, striving to close the achievement gap and do something that means much more than just punching a time card.”

What are you off to next?

“This year I will be finishing my master’s degree at New England Conservatory in Jazz Saxophone. This school year I will also be doing a lot of music teaching, which I am very passionate about. Education in general has always been important to me, as some of my greatest heroes have been teachers!”

Do tell…

“Well, Mr. Williams, my 7th grade Algebra teacher, has always been one of my heroes. I was so nervous entering the 7th grade. I was very shy and worried that I wouldn’t be smart enough for the classes I had been placed into. Mr. Williams sensed my stress, as I often came to him after class with a handful of questions I had been thinking about. He always took time to help explain concepts to me very patiently. This, over time, helped increase my courage to ask more questions during class, and to excel in math. His kind and helpful personality helped me believe in myself and has helped shape so much of who I am. Because of teachers like him I had the desire to become a tutor this summer, and it has an amazing experience!”

Is there a tutoring experience you had this summer that you would feel comfortable talking about?

“Definitely! This summer I worked with a student named Marvin on Accounting 101. We both put in a lot of time and effort into each tutoring session. We made flash cards, practiced creating all sorts of financial statements, and worked on understanding the most important accounting rules and practices. Marvin worked hard, and grew so much throughout the program! He studied his flashcards, worked on practice problems that I gave him, and did his very best to learn all that he could. It was a joy to be able to work with him and to see him learn so much. Being part of something as fulfilling as that is one of the best parts of being a tutor at Tutors for All. I highly recommend it!”

Element #4 of Highly Effective Tutorial: Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy

For eight years running, Tutors for All programs have achieved jaw-dropping results for Boston kids and the organizations that serve them.

How have our programs accomplished this?  While each program in our history has its own unique story, we believe that seven key elements unite them and offer a road map to follow.

MGH Spring 2014 Report

  1. High Quality Oversight
  2. Professionalization of Tutors
  3. 1:1 or 1:2 Ratios
  4. Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy
  5. Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring
  6. Tutors for All (not Some)
  7. Leveraged Subsidies for Service

Over the next few months, we’ll be spending some time discussing each of them.  Our goal: a conversation among experts and beginners on how effective programs can work.

Today’s topic: Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy

Although there are many reasons for Tutors for All’s success, one key factor is its strong partnerships with the schools and community organizations in which it works. Tutors for All has worked with a wide variety of partners: district schools, charter schools; high schools, middle schools, elementary schools; organizations like the YMCA and Mass General Hospital. Each of these institutions has its own set of standards and expectations for the students it serves. Tutors for All works needs to collaborate to produce a smooth, collegial environment in which to pursue academic success. At the same time, Tutors for All programs need autonomy in order to instruct each student individually, building on his/her unique combination of strengths and areas for growth.

Upon partnering with a school, the Tutors for All Program Manager spends considerable time molding Tutors for All’s model into a program best suited for that school and the needs of its student population. The Program Manager works with a designated liaison to integrate the standards of behavior into the Tutors for All expectations. This can involve learning how to use a school’s system of merits and demerits, or using the same language when speaking about the academic expectations (e.g. an oft-repeated motto, “Everybody learns here,” acronyms, “Let’s see that SLANT”, or nomenclature, “welcome Bicentennial Scholars!”) Where possible, a program manager will work with teachers to gain insight into students’ learning styles and align curricula appropriately. The program manager and the liaison have regular weekly meetings to check in on norms, expectations and learning goals. It is critical for Tutors for All and school/community partner to represent a united front. An effective Tutors for All program is smoothly integrated within an academic environment. Students are encouraged, supported, and accountable, fairly and equally by everyone invested in his or her academic success


At the same time, however, Tutors for All operates as a “school within a school.” We have our own instructors (tutors), our own curriculum, and our own administration (coordinators and program managers.) The academic content of a tutorial is not determined by daily class or homework, but instead by a student’s progress mastering the skills necessary for the independent completion of that work.  The pace of the lesson is determined by the students needs, and disciplinary infractions are handled by program administration. This level of individualized instruction and intervention (where necessary) in a student’s learning allows a classroom teacher to then focus on the class as a whole, and to follow the grade level content assigned.


This balance of collaboration and autonomy between partner school and its Tutors for All program allows for a united front of tutor, teachers, and administrators working towards providing our students with the most individualized education possible. With the support of the partner schools, tutoring becomes legitimate and incorporated into the school schedule as a mandatory class, rather than a stigmatized, remedial program. With the support of Tutors for All, students are taught and teachers are freed from reviewing and re-teaching remedial skills to students.  The result: students are prepared for and teachers can focus on grade-appropriate content, with “college and career preparedness for all” no longer just a saying, but now an achievable goal.

Element #3 of Highly Effective Tutorial: 1:1 or 1:2 ratios

At Tutors for All we are fortunate enough to boast extremely successful programs. We believe much of our success can be credited to the organization of our programs and what we call “The 7 Conditions for Effective Tutorial,” which are:

  1. High Quality Oversight
  2. Professionalization of Tutors
  3. 1:1 or 1:2 Ratios
  4. Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy
  5. Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring
  6. Tutors for All (not Some)
  7. Leveraged Subsidies for Service

This is a closer look at the third condition: 1:1 tutor-student ratios. One-on-one (and sometimes, less ideally, one-on-two) tutoring holds many advantages over traditional classroom learning and even group tutorial.

C-71Tutor-student relationship: One of the major advantages of one-on-one tutorial is the rapport built between student and tutor. The direct and unabridged interaction between student and teacher does wonders for the scholastic ability and outlook of students. The tutor can become something of an academic mentor, and students can look at their mentor and be inspired by his or her educational success. As student and tutor learn and grow together, the student becomes more comfortable and communicative, often asking questions and voicing concerns they would otherwise be hesitant to voice.

Skills for future success: It may be surprising for some people to know students enrolled in tutorial programs perform better in all subjects, not just those addressed in tutorial sessions. This happy symptom of successful tutorial manifests because although tutorial sessions may focus on one or two subjects, the skills a student acquires apply to all learning. In tutorial, students learn to break down material, study effectively, manage their time and expand their capacity for reasoning. These skills diffuse through all present and future learning.

Student Confidence: Confidence, non-academic and academic, can play a deceptively large role in a student’s learning and performance. Often struggling and even successful students struggle with low confidence, second guessing their answers and giving up too easily when faced with challenging material. Together, tutor and student set rigorous, high academic standards, and as the student improves and works towards these lofty goals, supported and encouraged by the tutor, he or she becomes more intellectually sure footed.

Individual and Undivided focus: Students all learn in different ways; are they being taught in a way that is best for them in a classroom? The answer is most likely not. A teacher’s responsibility is to a classroom, while a tutor’s undivided focus is on an individual student. Very quickly, after just one or two sessions, a tutor can identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses, learning styles and pitfalls and orient lessons accordingly. Similarly, the pacing of lessons in a classroom may not be optimal for an individual. One-on-one tutoring addresses this as well, moving as quickly or slowly as a student requires. In a group or classroom setting, it is easy for a student’s lack of preparedness to not be exposed, affirming and encouraging the academically harmful practice. In tutorial sessions, students are unable to hide. Together, tutor and student share a greater obligation toward learning.


There are many criteria that must be met to run a successful tutorial program (seven to be exact), one-to-one tutor to student ratios is an essential piece of the academic puzzle. Tutors for All’s expansive and supportive educational supplement would not enjoy the same success without one-on-one tutor-student ratios.



Kickball for All!

Kickball for All 2015 was a smashing success!   This year’s event was multi-generational with players ranging from toddlers to tutors to T4A supporters!  And we hit our goal of being able to fund 1000 hours of tutoring for Boston Youth!  That’s definitely a record!  If you weren’t able to make it out on Saturday or if you would like to relive the day, here’s a rundown of the event!

The TeamsThis year, we saw a few familiar teams out on the field along with some new ones.  The Test-Takers were back and ready for the competition under the fearless leadership of Andy, Shane, and Bryan.  The Young Tobins (Youngbloods and Team Tobin) had an incredible representation of four Tobin Tutors thanks to the triumphant leadership of Soriya. The Oldies but Codmans (Oldies but Goodies and Codman Squared) threw us a curveball with two of their players on the field under 5 years old and some wise leadership from Mark Destler and Liam Day.  And last, but not least, Team Rainbow brought us many surprises under the shining leadership of Jennifer Zavala and Naomi Muchiri.

Kickball could not have been successful without our hardworking Team Captains. They not only fearlessly led their team on the field, but they also led them through a successful fundraising campaign on Crowdrise. They also brought lots of spirit to the stands and field!

The Champions

Team SpiritThis year, we wanted to encourage lots of positive energy on the field and in the stands so we introduced the Kickball for All Spirit Award for the first time ever.  We asked all the Teams to come up with a cheer and Team Tobin truly blew us out of the water with their cheer and positive spirit throughout the whole afternoon.  We were very excited to be able to present the award to their team.


Bridge Builder AwardThis competition may have been the fiercest of the three.  The Bridge Builder Award is given out every year to the team that raises the most funds for Tutors for All. The Test Takers were neck and neck with The Oldies but Goodies in the weeks and days leading up to Kickball for All.  The Test Takers made an impressive leap on the day of the competition raising $1300 on Saturday and jumping ahead of The Oldies but Goodies to win the coveted trophy!

Tournament ChampionsThe championship game was between The Young Tobins and Team Rainbow

Some quotes from the attendees

“Everyone was in good spirits, and it was really heartening to see how much certain community members care about what T4a does. For some reason I wasn’t expecting that level of excitement and commitment from the older folk” -Maria Cassidy, Tutor Extraordinaire

“Thank you for a good time for a good cause.” -Brian Leblanc

And finally…a word from our sponsors!

We would like to wholeheartedly thank our sponsors who gave at all levels.

Element #2 of Highly Effective Tutorial: Professionalization of Tutors (Treat Your Tutors Like Teachers)

For eight years running, Tutors for All programs have achieved jaw-dropping results for Boston kids and the organizations that serve them.

How have our programs accomplished this?  While each program in our history has its own unique story, we believe that seven key elements unite them and offer a road map to follow.

  1. MGH Spring 2014 ReportHigh Quality Oversight
  2. Professionalization of Tutors
  3. 1:1 or 1:2 Ratios
  4. Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy
  5. Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring
  6. Tutors for All (not Some)
  7. Leveraged Subsidies for Service

Over the next few months, we’ll be spending some time discussing each of them.  Our goal: a conversation among experts and beginners on how effective programs can work.

Today’s topic: Professionalization of Tutors

Tutors for All treats tutors as teachers, and teachers are professionals. Tutors are expected to dress professionally, attend every single tutorial and communicate professionally about absences. They are held accountable for their own lesson planning and expected to continually perfect their practice. We are invested in developing tutors as thoughtful and skilled educators who feel confident in their ability to deliver content.

In order to professionalize our tutors in this way we focus on comprehensive pre-program training, prioritizing reflection, planning and feedback and creating opportunities for growth with the organization.

The Tobin Team of Lead Tutors

The Tobin Team of Lead Tutors

Prior to tutorial tutors are trained in 6 key areas:

  • Student Accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Curriculum
  • Pedagogy
  • Collaboration
  • Cultural Competency

This kind of depth of training sets the expectation that tutors are not only skilled in their subject area, but also well versed in student engagement, effective pedagogy and creative lesson planning. Tutors continue to receive professional development in all 6 areas throughout the semester during the reflection time built into Tutors For All’s programming. Professional development lessons have included positive framing, making math games meaningful and relationship building with students.

We additionally create a culture of reflection, planning and feedback by setting aside preparation and reflection time and observing tutors at work. Tutors arrive 30 minutes before tutorial in order to spend time preparing for their daily lesson. Tutors will use this time to review content, create expansion materials or troubleshoot a challenging student behavior with a co-worker. This built in time requires tutors to plan thoughtful, engaging lessons that meet their students’ needs.

Emily MGHFollowing tutorial, tutors spend 30 minutes reflecting on their lesson or developing skills in one of the 6 T4A focus areas. During this debriefing time, tutors have the opportunity to receive feedback, share highs and lows and collaboratively problem solve with their peers. Debriefing questions have included, “What have you learned about your student’s learning habits and how you are going to modify your lesson plan to accommodate their specific needs?” This practice holds tutors accountable to continued improvement of their practice.

One way we prioritize feedback is by holding individual conferences once a semester to discuss tutors’ strengths and areas for growth. In these meetings tutors have a chance to set professional development goals as well as give the Program Manager feedback about the program. Andreas Wolfe, lead tutor at Tobin, wrote the following about a tutor’s strengths: “she consistently uses inquiry based learning—she does not provide her student with the answers, instead questioning him to figure out the answers himself.” Another tutor received the following area for growth:  he can change the tone and pace of instruction to be more engaged and enthusiastic about material.” This kind of targeted observation and feedback helps us hold our tutors to high standards as professional educators.

Tutors for All is a program that offers a variety of professional growth opportunities for tutors. Former tutors have been promoted to lead tutors, coordinators, curriculum specialists and managers. In these positions tutors are able to gain leadership and facilitation experience as undergraduate students.

Our tutors are professional educators. We work hard to set high expectations, develop their skills and show them they are valued with leadership opportunities.

Hannah DeAngelis, Program Manager

A Farewell Interview with Hannah and Liz

In the last week, we said goodbye to two of our Staff Members: Hannah DeAngelis and Liz Marshall, who are off to new adventures.  Before they left, we had the opportunity to talk with them about their experience working at Tutors for All.


Hannah and Liz at Kickball for All on Saturday

What has your role been at T4A?

Hannah: ”I have been the Program Manager for the Tobin and YMCA programs.”

Liz: ”I have been the Tutor Support Coordinator managing tutor recruitment, marketing, and tutor support for the organization.”

What drew you to work with Tutors for All this past year?

Hannah: “I was looking for a position where I could be a partner to schools and get to build meaningful relationships with both adults and students. As a former classroom teacher, I really believe in the power of building one on one relationships in order for students to get the academic and personal support they need. I really believe in T4A’s ability to provide this support through tutor/student partnerships.”

Liz: ”After being accepted into the Life Together program (a social justice fellowship for young adults based out of the Episcopal Church) last Spring, I interviewed with several justice focused organizations in the Boston area.  In college, I studied education and worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Through both of those experiences, I saw the importance of individualized academic and emotional support for kids and working at Tutors for All seemed like the perfect fit for my interests!  T4A’s model of instruction really excited me from the beginning and has continued to impress me throughout the year.”

Do you have a favorite moment from this year?



Hannah: ”One of our Tobin tutors worked with a middle school student all year who presented some challenges in terms of attendance, skill level and attitude. The tutor showed up every single day and was consistently positive and encouraging towards his student, regardless of her demeanor or tendency to skip class. When asked to list her tutor’s strengths on the end of semester evaluation this student wrote, ‘he doesn’t give up on me.’”

Liz:  “As the person who was in charge of tutor recruitment and marketing for the organization, it was really important that I understand our tutoring programs and one of the best ways to do that was by tutoring at Tobin.  This spring, I worked with an 8th Grade Tobin student named Jean who struggled with his multiplication tables so we started practicing and timing them every day.  Our goal was to be able to do 25 multiplication tables in under five minutes.  On the first day, it took him 11 minutes to get through 25 multiplication problems.  By the third day, he did 25 tables in 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  He told me that he had gone home and practiced them over and over so that we would be able to reach our goal.  And that put a huge smile on my face!”

How do you think you have grown working with us? Have you learned anything about education or working at a non-profit?

Hannah: ”I have absolutely grown in my management abilities. I have learned a lot about how to build strong teams of tutors who are excited about developing their skills as educators and learning from each other.”



Liz:  “I have grown so much in my ability to communicate and manage several different projects at once.  It has been so valuable to understand all the different aspects that go into running a non-profit and have had hands-on experience working on many of them.”


What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

Hannah: ”Dance with my lovely Spontaneous Celebrations dance folks. And hike around in the best home state in world, Maine.”

Liz:  “As part of the Life Together program, I live in intentional community. And I absolutely love when our community cooks and eats delicious food together every week!  I also love to sing, dance, kick-box and have recently gotten into Pilates.”

What are your plans and goals for the next chapter of your lives?

Hannah: ”I am in the middle of a move to Maine to be the Assistant Program Director of Refugee and Immigration Services, a huge shift for me and a position where I will put those management skills into practice! 5 year plan I am looking to be in schools for the long haul, either as a counselor or social worker.”

Liz: ”I am staying on for a second year in the Life Together program as an Emmaus Fellow, which means that I will work part-time doing capacity building for Life Together as an organization (specifically fundraising) while working almost full-time at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in Quincy.  St. C’s houses the Episcopal Chinese Cultural Center for Boston so I am going to be spending some time teaching there along with working for the church itself.  I’m discerning whether I want to go to school for a dual Masters in Social Work and Divinity so this will be an awesome opportunity to explore that.”

Meet an inspiring T4A Alum and Donor: Deejay

IMG_2671Deejay Robinson worked at our Codman, Prospect Hill Academy, and Dever Programs from 2011-2012 as a member of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Corps.  He got his Bachelors in Music in Vocal Performance at Milikin University in Illinois and then his Masters in Music for Vocal Performance at Longy School of Music in Cambridge.  He is now teaching in Boston and going to Boston University for a Masters in Music Education.  Deejay’s passion for education continually inspires us and we are excited to share our recent interview with him.

What are you doing these days?
Deejay: “As far as work goes, I have been teaching K-5 music in Boston Public Schools for 3 years now.  I teach at the Thomas Edison K-8 in Brighton.  I have grown the music program during my time there in the quality of the repertoire of what students are singing and concert attendance by parents.  There is an overall excitement for music and music education.  Next year, I’m leaving BPS and I’ll be starting a job at Buckingham Brown and Nichols teaching music for Kindergarten- 2nd Grade. I will graduate BU in 2016.  I am focusing my studies on the intersection of race and music.  Right now, I’m doing research.  BB&N has a great mission that will allow me to do more research.  I’m also hoping to involve their community.”

How well did Tutors for All prepare you for your work now?
Deejay: “T4A prepared me better than student teaching because when you student teach, you really only take over a class for a week.  A lot of that experience is really getting your feet wet.  At T4A, I was able to work individually with students who were deemed as needing improvement.  Through that, I was able to get creative and think through numerous strategies and techniques.  That gave me the springboard to be creative in classroom as I had already developed a tool box of things.  T4A also put me in contact with BPS.  I stayed at Dever for an additional semester after T4A stopped working there and tutored one student.”

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