Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading out there -- if you're helping us tutor right now, we're thankful for you!  If not, we've had an awesome semester so far in DC Reads, and we'll continue to keep you updated on all aspects of our tutoring and community involvement as the year progresses.

For now, we'll post another great sentence about education from Joanna Peiser, senior in the college and another member of our Advocacy Committee:

"To me, education means creating a better tomorrow for myself and others."

Agreed.  Have a great break!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Program Snapshot: Afternoons in the 3rd grade

We have four different tutoring programs within DC READS: our traditional one-to-one after-school tutoring for third graders; Saturday tutoring at libraries and community centers; morning tutoring, where we serve as de-facto teachers' assistants in classrooms for all the different elementary school grades; and then our 4th and 5th grade program, which functions as an after-school classroom run by a group of tutors and coordinators and focuses on personal development goals, writing, vocabulary, and other forms of student enrichment. Over the course of this year, we'll be posting a mixture of tutor and coordinator reflections to allow us to convey our experience as educators and mentors, while also filling our readers in on exciting developments within each of our programs.


The following post was written by Justine Achille, a sophomore in the NHS who is currently tutoring at Kenilworth Elementary School:

The session was going to go great. I knew it. I had printed out a vocabulary activity that I made up that I knew my tutee would enjoy, and I was bringing the white board. I didn’t really have a plan as to what to do with it, but that didn’t matter. As a rule, all tutees love using white dry-erase boards, and mine is no exception. So in my mind, the day was going to be a hit, without a doubt, and at first, everything was going just as planned. We ambled through a book about a nice woman who owned “The Strawberry Inn,” and then we began to tackle my vocab worksheet.

Outside of Kenilworth Elementary
First, I should probably back-track and explain that my tutee has been obsessed with the idea of “creating a community.” When I first heard this I was completely blown away. My tutee, this little third grader, is thinking of ways to build a good community! So I asked her how she would go about doing this, excited about what kind of insight she might have about the workings of a community or town. Her reply was something along the lines of: well… we could use milk cartons…and construction paper….and…Of course. She means literally, let’s build a community. I have to say, I should have probably expected this. But nonetheless, I decided to try to work with the idea. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

To me, education...

We're starting a new feature here on the DC Reads blog.  It's an idea born out of our excellent tutor advocacy committee, which is currently doing a yeoman's job helping to advocate for just education throughout Washington, DC.  More on that as the year progresses.

Anyway, in our last meeting we were sitting around talking about things we can include on the blog, and one of our members came up with a very simple concept: one sentence, from everyone on the committee, describing what education means to them.  Brilliant!

So from now on, throughout the year, we'll be posting one of these sentences each week.  Our inaugural sentence comes from Hannah Hill:

"To me, education is the only national tool that ubiquitously provides a forum for reform and development."

Well put.  Stay tuned for more -- and as always, happy reading!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vincent Gray Ward 8 Town Hall Meeting

By: Hannah Klusendorf

Last week, in a crowded Ward 8 church, fifteen DC Reads coordinators and tutors gathered with nearly a thousand Ward 8-ers to hear future DC mayor, Vince Gray, overview his proposed agenda. A waning sound system and a delayed start aside, the town hall meeting provided me with some illuminating, though vague, information in regards to education. After promising to unite the Wards together to form one DC, Gray turned his attention to creating one DCPS.

Gray claimed that rumblings alleging he would “turn the clock back on education” were “ridiculous.” He spoke of his positive voting record within the Council for education reform measures – a point he brought up many times while on the campaign trail. But that night, he seemed to directly speak out against Rhee and her supporters. Following the primary election results, she did call Gray’s victory “devastating to the children of Washington, DC.” Gray reassured all that there is “only one thing that matters: improving the educational outcome for the children of the District of Columbia.” Duh.