Students in Magna getting extra help after school
Students are improving their math and reading skills while more home assignments are getting turned in rather than getting lost at Pleasant Green Elementary in Magna.
The positive changes are due in large part to a successful after-school tutoring program.
After being awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant from the Department of Education, Pleasant Green is now in the middle of the first of three years that go along with the grant, and principal Sharon Prescott is already seeing results.
"So far, we have seen an increase in kids getting their homework done," Prescott said. "We see kids that would normally go home to an empty house that are getting help with reading and math and getting their homework finished."
The tutoring is specifically tailored to help kids who may be falling behind or struggling to catch up, but any student who wants to stay after school to learn is invited to do so at Pleasant Green.
Students are divided by their grade levels as they rotate from working in the computer lab and then working on their math and reading skills. If there is time afterward, the students will participate in physical activities or arts and crafts. Prescott mentioned that the kids just feel comfortable in their learning environments after school.
"We try to keep the classes small," she said. "We have right around 100 kids enrolled, and we will have 13 adults to work with these kids."
Currently, Pleasant Green has four certificated teachers putting in extra time with the kids after school and the rest are paraprofessionals, adults who don't have their teaching certificate but are trained to teach children.
One of the teachers putting in extra time to help students is Arlene Armstrong. Currently working with third-graders, Armstrong has seen the improvement in the students' schoolwork.
"This program gives them an extra chance to work and practice their schoolwork," she said. "The students improve and so I really like to continue to challenge them so they continue their growth."
One of those students who have improved their study habits is 9-year-old Samuel Roa.
"Before, I wasn't turning in my homework because I would keep losing it, but now I am doing it," the third-grader said during a break in tutoring.
As a special-education teacher during regular school hours, Adrienne Tupou works with second-graders in tutoring, and she noticed that students really enjoy the environment created during tutoring.
"Tutoring gives the students a more laid-back environment to help in their learning, and they are more willing to ask questions when they don't understand something," Tupou said.
As a second-grader, 7-year-old Todd Fernley said he enjoys all the activities and getting a chance to learn with the computer.
Prescott said there are three things that a student needs in school to be successful, and tutoring helps to fulfill those three guidelines.
"One is small class size. Two is their relationship with the teacher and three is support from home," Prescott said. "If we could have those three things for every kid, then every kid would learn."