By Tim Wilder
AmeriCorps tutors, the 21st Century grant, and Gear-Up Mississippi are excellent examples of the tutoring initiatives that the Grenada School District has implemented to assist students in achieving high academic performance. AmeriCorps members tutor K-8 students needing assistance in reading and math, pulling students from non-academic classes. The 21st Century tutoring program is available to Grenada High School students after school two days a week, providing assistance in the four core subjects (math, English, science, history). The District also provides tutoring through the Gear-Up Mississippi program for 10th grade students graduating in May of 2014.
Grenada’s four-year AmeriCorps’ tutoring initiative has targeted students with remedial needs in math and reading, enabling our students to make impressive academic advances. Providing one-on-one tutoring services to these at-risk students have enabled pupils to dramatically improve their academic abilities. This year, our AmeriCorps tutoring program is serving over 830 at-risk students in grades K-8 with the four-year sum of students served totaling over 2,900 pupils! Almost all of the tutored students showed at least a 15% improvement in scores, with almost half of the students improving over 50%! Now that is a successful program! The GSD AmeriCorps Program has made a remarkable difference in the academic achievement of our students. (Improvement scores are determined by pre and post test scores.)
Grenada School District was awarded a 21st Century Grant to implement an after school program designed to assist in decreasing the dropout rate at Grenada High School. The 21st Century activities offer after school tutoring in major subjects in small group settings. Tutoring is provided for students requiring additional academic assistance and assists students in passing the state mandated subject area tests required for graduation.
Gear-Up is a program that is designed to guide students toward a post-secondary education. Currently, the Gear -Up program is following the graduating class of 2014. Each year participating students are afforded the opportunity to experience the advantages of a post-secondary education by touring college campuses, receiving insight about admission requirements and financial aid, and experiencing success through after-school tutoring. The after-school tutoring program, available to participating Gear-Up students, is designed to help struggling students in the classroom and give them extra practice for state tests.
The tutoring initiatives of our School District have increased the academic skills of our students. Many of the students who have participated in the tutoring programs experienced improved grades in their course work, higher ACT scores, and outstanding growth on the state test. The hard work of our tutors and students has also played a very important role in raising the graduation rate and lowering the dropout rate of Grenada School District students. These tutoring initiatives are just another example of teachers and administrators working together to assist all students in achieving their scholastic goals.