Monthly Archives: November 2017

Meet Our Coordinators: Kyle, Rachel, and Aaron!

This semester at Tutors for All has been busy as usual, but luckily we’ve had the support of outstanding new coordinators! All former tutors, these three have returned to T4A to help us continue our mission in new capacities. They recently had the chance to share a little bit about themselves and discuss what they’ve taken away so far:

From left: Kyle Bejnerowicz, Rachel Hemstock, Aaron Hume

Tell us about yourself.

Kyle: I am an opera singer! I have been a musician ever since I can remember. I have a bachelor of music in vocal performance from New England Conservatory, here in Boston. I have been lucky enough to travel to Europe several times to perform in operas in counties like Germany and Austria. Tutors For All grew my interest in education so much that I am now a master in education student at Northeastern; this is something I would have never guessed I would be interested in only a few years ago. As I study at Northeastern, I am a full-time student at New England Conservatory as a master of music candidate! BUSY!!!

Rachel: I am working as the Development Coordinator. In August, I completed my B.S. degree in Business Administration and Economics from Northeastern University. I am currently pursuing my M.S. in Finance from Northeastern. I’ve previously served with T4A as tutor and program coordinator. My professional experience includes working as a business analyst, financial analyst, and most recently in consulting. During my time as an undergrad, I was the Vice President of Philanthropy for my student organization where I developed all of our fundraising and service programming events.

Aaron: I am the Data and Technology Coordinator with Tutors for All, which means I administrate the website, I collect and analyze tutor/student statistics, and keep our technology running smoothly for the rest of our staff. I grew up just over the river in Cambridge, and after moving to New York for college – getting my B.A. in Math and Psychology at Columbia – I came back to my hometown to stay.

What drew you to Tutors for All?

Kyle: I was a huge math geek in high school. I remember I went to math-summer camp and took Algebra II the summer between sophomore and junior year. I eventually made the choice to go to a music conservatory; this meant I wouldn’t take another math class or science class ever again in my college studies. Tutors For All was a great chance for me to use my math-brain and to give share my enthusiasm about this kind of work with the students!

Rachel: When I first started with Tutors for All, I noticed the directimpact that our work was making. Iloved working with students to help them realize their full potential and knew that coming back to the organization in a different capacity would allow me to help the organization excel in a different way. Tutors for All is an organization that makes a big impact in lives of our own City’s youth, and I’m excited to be a part of that impact.

Aaron: I’ve worked with Tutors for All over the summer term in college, and I loved the experience of making such close connections with my students. More recently, I was looking for a bridge to gain experience in statistics before going on to grad school, and the opportunity to come back to T4A fell into my lap. I realized what a great chance this was with a wonderful organization, so I didn’t think twice.

What is the most rewarding part about working for T4A? What have you learned so far?

Kyle: The most rewarding part is watching the students grow more mature and become better behaved and motivated. Students always ask about college and traveling. I love seeing the students aspire to be something and aspire to go somewhere. All the students can do whatever they set their minds to; it is most rewarding when I see them want something and then achieve it.

Rachel: The most rewarding part about working with T4A is the ability to make a direct impact on the organization. So far, I’ve learned that there is so much more to learn about development!

Aaron: Tutoring with T4A, the most rewarding thing was working with a student on something they have given up on understanding, and finally reaching a moment of excitement when they realize they can do it. Now working in the data arena, the reward is in finding small tweaks to how we collect and use our data that should make the work we do stronger in the long term.

What are you most looking forward to in your work with T4A in 2017?

Kyle: My master of education degree has a concentration in higher education administration. I am looking forward to continue to learn more, from Mark and all the other T4A staff, how running an educational business like this one works. I am becoming more and more organized each day and each project I undertake.

Rachel: I’m most excited to host our fundraising events in the Spring. It will give me a chance to meet and connect with everyone who’s been a part of helping T4A be successful in making a difference in our student’s lives!

Aaron: I’m looking forward to further developing my website management skill. With such a small team at T4A, there may not be anyone to fill in my lack of experience with web design, so I’m excited to figure out firsthand how to keep things running smoothly on the back end!

What has been your most memorable T4A experience so far?

Kyle: One time at Codman Academy, we were short tutors for a tutorial session. I had to tutor 6 students by myself. I felt like I had ran a marathon after. My whole body was sore and my brain was fried. It amazed me how a great teacher will go out there 180 times a year and expertly conduct a new lesson plan each day.

Rachel: Recently, I attended a talk on the current state of STEM education. As the panelists spoke about the inequality faced by Boston’s students, I immediately felt so proud and humbled to be a part of an organization that has not only recognized this injustice for years, but has also been working effortlessly to give all of our kids equal opportunity and bridge the achievement gap.

Aaron: Most memorable for me has been running interviews with new prospective tutors, and seeing the same excitement to make a difference for young people that I felt in the same position. I’ve gotten to share my story and hear theirs, and feel like a part of a much larger cycle of both teaching and learning collaboratively.

What are your personal goals for the future?

Kyle: As a musician, my overall-main goal for the future is to be in the higher-administration of a music school. I wish to continue to perform music, continue to write music and study it; while working with other musical-educators to foster a strong musical community at a school like my current home, NEC.

Rachel: On the far horizon, my personal goal is to eventually go back to school and study public policy, so that I can find ways to be a part of long lasting change in our communities.

Aaron: My goals are to go to a graduate school for mathematics or statistics in the area, and then apply a greater statistical skillset to working for nonprofits in the future.

Any other thoughts?

Kyle: Tutors For All is a great family, and has helped me find what my true interests are! For such a small organization, we leave a HUGE impact!

Aaron: I’m just excited to be a member of the team and to work with my colleagues in supporting the academic and professional growth of students and tutors alike.

Fall Preview: Codman Academy

Fall tutorial is well under way, and this week we’d like to share with you a bit about one of our programs: Codman Academy.

We are so looking forward to the results of this program that we want to take you on the journey with us! Read about how this program exemplifies some of our elements of effective tutorial and check back at the end of the semester for an update.

Program History

Codman and Tutors for all have been partnered since 2008 (almost 10 years!), primarily running tutorial for 9th and 10th graders in preparation for the 10th grade MCAS exam.

We have also offered math tutorial to the 5th and 6th grade in years past. Before Fall 2017, Codman tutorial at the high school used to take place on Saturdays (10th grade in the morning, 9th grade in the afternoon).

This Semester

Unlike in the past, T4A runs weekday and in-school programming at Codman this semester, supporting 41 students total in the 9th and 10th grade through two separate sessions! Here are some concrete ways you can see our elements of effective tutorial being put into place: 

High Quality Oversight

  •  Our Lead Tutor for Monday/Wednesday is Axel Garcia, an MIT graduate student who also helps to coordinate our administrative duties over the course of the week. 
  •  Christina Schempf, a New England Conservatory graduate student, is our Lead Tutor for Tuesday/Thursday.

Professionalization of Tutors 

  • Tutorial itself runs for an hour, with the remaining time devoted to lesson planning/reflection, individual development, and tutor assistance in Codman classrooms.
  • All tutors have undergone extensive training and are 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, and we strive to offer them professional support as well as opportunities to give feedback.

1:1 or 1:2 Ratios

  • We have 17 tutors serving at Codman, most of whom tutor twice a week, keeping the tutor-student ratio low!

Balanced Collaboration and Autonomy 

  • Our Curriculum Associate, Lena Umar, is currently updating the 10th Grade MCAS curriculum this emester. These new packets focus primarily on updating the passages and problems to match the MCAS framework, as well as giving the lesson a structure that allows students to gradually progress from instruction to independent work.
  • The humanities curriculum is being created/updated by Sahar Hakim, Codman’s Program Manager. Half the lesson is devoted to Independent Reading and responses, and the other half of the lesson is Direct Instruction. This allows students to take what they’ve learned at school and bring it to tutorial (and vice versa), creating a cohesive experience between partners and T4A’s programs. 

Regular Assessment and Progress Monitoring

  • Diagnostic testing for math and ELA just wrapped up, and there’s plenty of room to grow on all fronts. We expect to see lots of progress from these fantastic students at the end of the semester on their final assessments!

Thoughts from the Coordinator

“I think there are two or three things I’m most looking forward to at Codman. Like every year, I look forward to forging relationships with the students so that tutorial becomes a productive and welcoming space for them. I also look forward to working directly with Codman teachers and other staff to ensure effective use of class and tutorial time, which I only did minimally as a Program Coordinator. I hope whatever influence I have is only positive!” – Sahar Hakim