Winooski School-Community Tutoring Program

Local college students and community members, supported by a coordinator, provide homework support for ELL students at the Winooski Teen Center. This program is part of a partnership between the city and schools to provide sustainable, year-round tutoring.

Background

During the 2011-2012 school year, the Winooski Teen Center launched a tutoring program to support Winooski’s English language learners. Students from the University of Vermont’s education program served as tutors and the program met great success in its first year. Despite this success, misalignment between the academic calendars of Winooski Middle/High School and UVM posed a challenge. In past years, the tutoring program has struggled to meet the high demand for academic support during the last month of the WMHS school year.

Spring 2013 Pilot

In spring 2013, a Partnership for Change mini-grant helped the Winooski Teen Center sustain its tutoring program through the end of the WMHS school year. Stipends were offered to tutors from local colleges who could commit to tutoring regularly during the last four weeks of the high school calendar. As a result, the tutoring center was able to maintain its usual schedule into June, offering tutoring sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the program was staffed by tutors receiving grant-funded stipends; on Mondays, community volunteers provided the tutoring services.

Sustainability and Next Steps

During the 2013-2014 school year, the Teen Center continued expanding its tutoring program with additional resources from the city and the Partnership for Change. Supported by a new, part-time coordinator, the tutoring center was open Monday-Thursday evenings throughout the school year. In fall 2013, the tutoring center served an average of 62 students per week, 99% of whom were English language learners.

In 2013-2014, a primary goal was creating a more fluid means of communication between the tutoring center and WMHS. To address this challenge, the tutoring center created a Google spreadsheet, which is populated by an online form that tutors complete each time they help a student. This process allows WMHS teachers to access remotely information about their students’ progress at the center. Going forward, areas of focus will include 1) developing training manuals to ensure that all tutors are following school-directed protocols and 2) designing a way for teachers to respond to tutors via the shared Google spreadsheet.