After school tutorials for high school kids

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by bandnerdtx, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 8, 2008

    I'm working to create a meaningful and effective after school tutorial program for my high school, but I'm struggling and need help!

    A little about my school: we are an "alternative" high school program for students primarily 16 and older who are seriously at risk for dropping out. Most of our students are at least one full year behind their peers, and some of our students are close to "aging out" (at 21). Our students come from all over our district which is a mixture of relatively affluent areas and "inner city" communities. All of our students apply to come to our campus, and no one is there for major disciplinary reasons.

    Our school is very small, and our average class size is about 12. All of the students know all of the teachers, and for the most part, the staff has good relationships with the students. We have no serious discipline issues (like fighting), but more apathy than you could possibly imagine.

    In 6 weeks, about 1/2 of our students will take the state exit level assessment, and we'd like to provide them with some extra tutoring after school. In the past, these tutoring sessions have not been well attended. We've bought food, and we've offered extra credit, but that doesn't seem to be doing the job.

    Do any of you work with a (more than usual) challenging high school population and have a successful after school tutorial program? My administration is very open-minded and willing to try anything that we think will work.

    Any ideas or suggestions? :help:
     
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  3. fargo21

    fargo21 Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2008

    Maybe you should have before school tutorials. Lots of those kids probably work. You said some were close to 21. Maybe your school could be a bit more flexible and schedule tutoring sessions an hour before classes or on weekends. Having certain hours every weekend might help. Think about it. Every teacher could give a poll to his or her class. By letting the students decide when to have these sessions and what hours of the day, your staff would not waste time waiting for students in an empty classroom after school. I know that I would hate to be in a classroom all day long and then have to come back to be tutored. Some students may view your sessions as more school and I guess it is to an extent. Maybe you should try to involve the students and their families in activities or events(pep rallies, foot ball games,etc.) that would take place after tutorials. Then again, you could always make it mandatory for the students to earn at least 8 hours of tutoring time a month.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2008

    I do like the before school idea. We might be able to hit a few more that way. Our school already starts at 7:45, so that's early for teens! LOL. Unfortunately, many our our students are bus riders, so they have to catch a bus to their home campus first, and then they catch another bus to come to our school. They don't arrive until school starts. :( However, I think we could hit a few car riders with a morning session...

    Our kids are still technically students of their home campuses, so we don't have football games, etc.


    Any more ideas, anyone?
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2008

    I know some schools have drawings for nice prizes (Ipods, $100 bills). Each time a student attends his name is added to the drawing.

    I know, I know ... the whole bribe thing. Just sharing, may spark an idea.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 9, 2008

    It might be too late for my idea this year, but maybe for next year....

    If these tutoring sessions are not well attended, then you need to find out why. Somebody should create a moderately detailed survey asking the kids if they're interested in extra tutoring, what would motiviate them to come and what time of day (or day of the week) is best for them. If you schedule tutoring sessions around what works for them, and provide incentives along the lines of what they're interested in, then maybe they'll show up in better numbers.

    At my school, the kids who stay for tutoring get pancakes and eggs and sausage for breakfast the next morning, instead of plain cereal and fruit (we never provided a hot breakfast before that...just the cereal and fruit). You'd be suprised how many kids show up for tutoring now :D
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2008

    MM, I love the reward for breakfast idea! That would be a big deal at our school because we have a mini assembly in the cafeteria first thing every morning. EVERYONE would see who was getting treated specially! And I actually surveyed some kids today, and they come up with some great ideas for our next set of tutorial sessions. :D

    KU, we have caved, and we're going to do the bribe thing, too. Now, I just have to get things donated.



     
  8. EZLN1

    EZLN1 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I did my mentorship in East Oakland, and needless to say the school I was at faced many of the same problems you noted. Youth at the verge of "dropping out", bad grades, and just straight up kids not buying what the school system was selling. Now, what the school did to completely overhaul things is something that goes way beyond tutor sessions...but the teachers that mentored me did numerous things. One, they had parents sign consent forms on after school tutor sessions. Students were obligated to stay after school if they had fallen behind on their work. Of course, some students had to work, and had other obligations, but these needed to be verified by their guardians and the student had to at some point go to tutoring. The other piece to this was making home visits, and connecting with their parents/guardians and making them understand the situation and the support they were willing to offer. The 3rd piece was being flexible. This meant having students come into the school on holidays from time to time, and meeting on the weekends. A huge part in this is giving students that space to do their work outside of their homes (lack of access to computers, quiet room, etc). To be honest, no change will ever come unless you are willing to go that extra mile for your students. Some of the things I have listed might seem too much, but let's just say that 34/35 students from the class I observed are now in college. It is possible.
     

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