The Brandon Friendship Center has launched a new tutoring program to help struggling students in school.
Head tutor Ron Houle, who specializes in numeracy, said the Student Success program is for kids in K-12 who need help with literacy or numeracy.
“If they need extra help, it’s a safe place to come and learn and get the extra help they need to be successful,” Houle said. “Seeing young people able to achieve their goals is an incredible feeling. You can see it in their eyes and their faces.
The tutoring team has recruited 10 instructors who will offer a mix of online and in-person programming, available one-on-one or in groups. There is no capacity limit on the number of students who can register for literacy or numeracy support. He noted that the number of students enrolled will be informed by the public health measures in place.
Tutors are ready to pivot and adapt based on COVID-19 public health measures and can transition to online meetings for students if needed.
Student-tutor sessions will be one-hour lessons with times set by learner and instructor.
The Student Success program has created a safe space for learners to work one-on-one with tutors to help them improve their education.
“You get to know them. You get to know their learning style and how they learn best. It’s also a matter of trust with them; they become more comfortable asking [the longer they work with a tutor]Houle said.
Tutors can see students’ confidence grow every week when they come to the center for help.
The team is also planning workshops and summer camps that will be tailored to the needs of the youth in the program. The center will also host homework sessions if public health measures allow.
The ultimate goal is to make learning fun and accessible.
“I’ve been doing it for a long time. You just have that connection and then you find out what their interests are and mix it all up. It just makes them more fun and more relaxed,” Houle said. “They don’t realize they’re learning, so it’s not a chore.”
The camps scheduled for the program will focus on numeracy, literacy and computer skills.
Computer literacy is essential as students now need to access information online to help them work on their homework. The hope is to help them excel in surfing the Internet independently and safely.
Having the ability to provide tutoring to students is important, Houle said, as many have faced incredible learning uncertainty, anxiety and adversity during COVID-19.
“It will be a home base. It will be regular. They will know they can come here,” Houle said. “The more we can help them, the better off we are and the better off they are.”
Students have experienced learning gaps and losses during the pandemic and the Student Success program will help ease these educational tensions.
“We are doing what we can on our side to help them.”
He noted that the program will have an elder available who can be approached if a student asks for cultural knowledge. All other cultural teaching will be woven into camps or workshops based on the interests of young people.
“We will try to accommodate learners more than anything,” Houle said.
The tutoring program was made possible through federal funding distributed by the National Association of Friendship Centers. This is a continuation of funding received last year.
The tutorial will be available until March 2023 and builds on the programming established in March 2021.
Initially, student interest in the program was due to the fact that at the time, students were moving from classroom learning to online learning. The program’s inaugural year has proven to be productive, he said, adding that they were also able to run youth programs and camps during the summer months and provide access to laptops if needed. .
The program saw 16 students enroll in 2021.
The 2022 edition of the Student Success program will offer tutoring in literacy, math and science. Houle said the first year of the program saw most students engage in math and science.
The success of the program will depend on young participants becoming confident in their learning abilities, Houle said. He hopes young people will connect with the initiative and that when they get older they will know that they can access tutoring programs if they are struggling in school.
“Hopefully there will be another program like this running where they can go and they will be familiar with what goes on in a program like this and be more comfortable with access this help,” Houle said.
The Student Success program will officially begin on February 15 with a special open house and registration day that will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 602 Rosser Avenue. Houle described it as an opportunity to visit, meet tutors and learn more about the program’s offerings.
“It’s good that they can come in and get a sense of the place, because it can be more comfortable,” Houle said.
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