Southeastern students help with LEAP test preparations

Contact: Rene Abadie

Students help with LEAP test preparations

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SOUTHEASTERN STUDENTS HELP 8TH GRADERS PREP FOR LEAP – Southeastern teacher candidates have spent the last several weeks tutoring eighth graders at Hammond Junior High Magnet School in preparation for their LEAP assessment tests. Packing bags of snacks and goodies for the students are, from left, Mary-Kathryn Fletcher, Suzette Rabalais, Amber Lyons and Devin Shaw.


     HAMMOND -- Students at Hammond Junior High Magnet School got some valuable help in their preparations for the ELA essay portion of LEAP.
     For the past several weeks, Southeastern Louisiana University students volunteered to not only tutor eighth grade students in anticipation of the important state assessment test, but also to provide nutritious snacks to help junior high student through the stressful testing day.
     Celina Echols, professor of Teaching and Learning, College of Education and Human Development, is supervising the service project where students in education and adolescent psychology courses tutor and mentor junior high students.
     The response has been very positive, Echols said. "It is really encouraging to see that future educators are so invested in working with these kids," said Echols. "They don't have to be here but they are. Their actions show a great commitment to teaching and learning. Plus they are getting a lot of good experience."
     The volunteers have been working with the eighth graders for the past 7 weeks, as they develop skills towards the writing portion of the LEAP test, a highs takes quiz that has proven to be increasingly difficult for many students. The quantitative portion of LEAP, in other subject items such as math and science, will be administered in mid-April.
     "We volunteered to work with these students every Friday to prepare them for the essay section of the LEAP test," said Amber Lyons, a junior education student. Another student, Mary Fletchter offered, "We also mentor them with discussions about bullying, as well as, an exchange of high cognitive words and definitions that can be applied to their day-to-day interaction with others."
     The Southeastern students went beyond their tutoring efforts when they gathered Thursday (March 15) to put together bags with snacks to give the kids before the big test. The bags include items such as fruit bars, fruit, bottled water and other treats.
The program has the full support of the faculty. Dean of the College of Education and Human Development John Fischetti was on hand to greet the volunteers and offer his support.
     "Hammond Junior High Magnet School provides our students with a diverse setting to apply what they have learned in the classroom," Fischetti said. "Our students are working to support these kids and it's not in their curriculum."
     Echols and Fischetti hope to see this program grow and start to include other facets of education. In addition to the tutoring services, the Hammond Junior High students heard Southeastern student Alex Rogers talk to them about the issue of bullying and read from book he authored, "I'm Only Human After All."
     The Power of Words idea came about as part of an effort to educate our students on the toxicity of bullying," said Echols. "Our students volunteered to help these kids with their writing and will be distributing these snacks on Tuesday morning, March 20th. They've also gained some insight into the damage that bullying can inflict."

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