ASAP provides tutoring for children, practical experience for teacher candidates
Contact: Christina Chapple
Click on thumbnail for high resolution photo(1) (2)
(1) ASAP PARTNERSHIP – Southeastern Louisiana University teacher candidates who provided mathematics tutors to southern Tangipahoa school children last spring through ASAP, a community partnership and service-learning program with the Tangipahoa Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council, pose with their pupils, supervising teachers, professors and TADAC staff at a final day celebration. From left, seated, Uri Bridges, Lykeisha Bell, Lauryn Hills, Shaquadria Brown, Myeisha Williams, Diandra Primus, Jacob Dameron, John Perrilloux; standing, Debbie Barker (Tangipahoa Parish Schools), Kim Jones, Beth Abel (TADAC), Aimee Adams, Melissa Harris, Janice Morgan, Dana Martin, Samantha Hemphill, Samantha Dimaggio, Ashley Thibodeaux, Melissa Cintron, Bridget Dillman, Lynn Hoover (VISTA), Melanie Juneau, Tena Golding (Southeastern).
(2) EXTRA HELP WITH MATH – Southeastern Louisiana University tutor Aimee Adams of Denham Springs works with eighth grader Myeisha Williams during last spring’s ASAP program, which matched Southeastern education students with elementary and primary school children in need of extra help in math.
HAMMOND – A $30,000 Learn and Serve grant from the University of Louisiana System is allowing Southeastern Louisiana University to continue and expand “ASAP,” a free after-school mathematics tutoring program successfully piloted last year.
ASAP (After-school Achievement Program) matches Southeastern education students with elementary and primary school children in need of extra help in math. It got underway last February as the brainstorm of Southeastern mathematics professor Tena Golding, who wanted a hands-on service-learning component for her students, and the Tangipahoa Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council (TADAC), which saw an after-school support program as a way to combat the risk factor of low school performance.
This fall, ASAP will transition from its “pilot” status to an improved and established program, thanks to the Learn and Serve grant, which will fund a mobile math lab complete with six laptop computers, math manipulatives and other math skill-building supplies.
The program, said TADAC Director Beth Abel, “is a perfect example of how when the right people get together you can do so much more.”
Golding, Abel, VISTA volunteer Lynn Hoover, and Janis Vicknair, director of field experiences for Southeastern’s College of Education and Human Development, devised the pilot math tutoring program after brainstorming and pooling funding sources, including grants from JC Penney and the Louisiana and Kentucky Campus Compact programs. The approximately $5,000 was used for instructional supplies, snacks for the young pupils, and a t-shirt “uniform” for the university tutors. It also provided stipends for two supervising teachers –Vineyard Elementary second grade teacher Debbie Barker and Ponchatoula Junior High science teacher Wendy Barker, who are mother and daughter and both Southeastern graduates.
The 21 tutors came from Golding’s and fellow math professor Danny Acosta’s Math 367 classes, a math content course for sophomore-level teacher candidates. Although their education methods courses and student teaching semester are still ahead of them, the students are required to gain 15 hours of practical experience in the field during the course of the semester in addition to putting in their regular three hours in the classroom.
ASAP, Golding said, has been the perfect vehicle for doing so.
“I really wanted a service-learning experience for my students,” she said. “I wanted them to give back to the community, to be somehow civically engaged.” She also saw the tutoring program as a way to better control her course content, since all the students would be getting the same kind of experience rather than having to make individual arrangements to fulfill their 15 hour requirement.
A brief newspaper announcement and information provided to southern Tangipahoa Parish schools attracted approximately 45 first to eighth grade pupils to the free after-school math tutoring. The young students and their Southeastern tutors met at the Miller Memorial Library Family Resource Center, TADAC’s headquarters, for 45-minute sessions beginning at 3:30 p.m.
“This was really an eye-opener for my students,” Golding said. “They all think they know enough math content to teach elementary school. In class, they tend to tune you out, thinking ‘I’m never going to use this!’ This has shown them that being able to do the math is a lot different from being able to explain it to someone else. Communication is one of the most important things in the math classroom.”
“They realized, ‘Oh, that’s why I’m in this course!,’” laughed Wendy Barker. “This was a great group of tutors,” she added. “They were dedicated. I was very impressed.”
“Being a tutor at the ASAP taught me a lot about myself,” said Aimee Adams of Denham Springs, one of the tutors in Golding’s class. “It taught me things about myself as a person, and things I can use as a teacher. It taught me skills I need to possess in order to be an effective educator, like patience. It reiterated my desire to teach mathematics, and showed me that I enjoy teaching students who are struggling.”
Building on the pilot program’s success, ASAP plans in the future to pair 25 teacher candidates with an additional 50 elementary students each semester.
“You teach content by modeling good methods,” Golding said. “If you’re modeling good pedagogy with the content, I think that’s the best of both worlds.”
For additional information on the ASAP grant, contact Golding at 985-549-5791. To inquire about registering a child for the program, call Hoover, 985-345-5493.