Month: October 2015

Oct 5

Zoo on Wheels

The Girl Scout Gold Award Project represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Kaitlyn Li dedicated her project to School on Wheels by creating this video field trip of the Los Angeles Zoo together with a post-quiz for our students to learn and explore. If you are a tutor with us, please feel free to use this video and attached quiz during one of your tutoring sessions.

Thank you, Kaitlyn, for all your hard work and for providing a chance for our students to tour the Los Angeles Zoo through this video. Kaitlyn will be taking a group of our Skid Row Learning Center students on an in-person tour of the Los Angeles Zoo in the summer of 2016. Thank you so much, Kaitlyn!

Video Quiz (PDF)

Quiz Answer Key (PDF)

Oct 2

Students of the Month – October 2015

A drawing by Antonio, one of our Students of the Month
A drawing by Antonio, one of our Students of the Month

Skid Row Learning Center

Tajiri, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Tajiri, 6th Grade. In the three years I have known Tajiri, I have seen so many improvements in his behavior, his ability to focus, and his hobbies. Tajiri recently began middle school and has already adjusted to using a daily agenda to share his assignments and projects with the tutor. After he completes his work, then he works on his art. Recently, Tajiri and his tutor ,Osmond, attended an art show in LA and they were able to display his art on the wall! Due to his determination, he is now able to complete all his school work then spend time online learning new drawing tips.

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA to Pasadena

Group tutoring, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Group tutoring. Tutoring sessions during the summer is particularly challenging for a tutor. We normally have very low attendance and hardly any student interest. However, during this past summer we had a spike in attendance and interest from students wanting to learn! It keeps us tutors excited and motivated. There are times when we have more than fifteen students in one day!! I think it is due to my fellow School On Wheels tutors who make it fun, exciting and educational. We are looking forward to the new school year!

Brenda Ramirez, Tutor

Region 2 – South LA

Damien, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Damien, Kindergarten. Damien was chosen to be Student of the Month due to his tremendous progress in his behavior. When he first joined group tutoring, he didn’t want to participate. Now, Damien is responsive and cooperative with all tutors. He follows the rules and makes the effort to do his best. He is eager to show the tutors his work to make them proud. Damien’s attitude towards learning is now positive and encouraging.

Kenisha Edwards, Regional Coordinator

Region 4 – South Bay, Long Beach

Antonio, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Antonio, 2nd Grade. Antonio is 8 years old and loves football, video games, and skateboarding. He has a terrific sense of humor and he is considerate of others.

When we meet, he always has such a big smile as he greets me. Antonio came to me struggling with grade-level math and reading. In the few months since we have been working together, I have watched him go from shying away from his challenging school work to going at it head-on with a bright, positive outlook. At first Antonio struggled with basic math concepts and reading comprehension, but now Antonio is starting to understand higher mathematical concepts and focusing his attention on specific words in the text. Antonio’s reading fluency has increased, and soon he will give up counting on his fingers as he learns to memorize the adding and subtracting of numbers. Even though I know I am a good tutor, I am convinced that Antonio’s work ethic and positive attitude are the real reasons for his success. It’s been such a pleasure working with him. I look forward to the days we meet so I can see him progress and develop into a caring, hard-working, intelligent young man.

Ben Philpott-Matson, Tutor

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Lele, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Lele, 12th Grade. Lele is 18, a senior in high school and a multitalented young woman. She has the rare combination of being naturally talented in both the arts and the sciences. I love how she is a deep thinker as well. She likes to talk about big social issues like racism and poverty, and it is an honor to discuss these things with her. We all have to overcome challenges at some point in our lives, but the strength and resilience she has demonstrated in overcoming her challenges is nothing short of inspiring. I must also mention that this young lady has a razor-sharp wit and often leaves us both doubled-over in laughter! The biggest thing we work on is her sitting down and doing the work necessary to channel her natural talents into success at school. She once showed me an assignment on a topic we had worked on where she got 100%! She was proud and so was I. One of my favorite days was when we visited a college campus, and she asked questions about college and told me she was considering it for the first time. Go Lele!

Tahiti Arsulowicz, Tutor

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Bonnie, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Bonnie, 2nd Grade. I started volunteering with School on Wheels because I felt like I had knowledge, time and patience to share with a student. From the beginning, I’ve felt a strong connection with Bonnie. She is bright and sassy with loads of energy, the second oldest with three rambunctious brothers. Every week on our way to the computer lab, we look for the turtle in the pond at the shelter and talk about her week at school. We talk about Disney movies, read lyrics to Taylor Swift songs to make reading fun and Bonnie tells me when my hair looks good.

Bonnie is a hard worker when it comes to her studies. She always comes with her homework completed, so we focus a lot on reading and writing exercises. She likes to try new books in the study room and is persistent in trying to figure out new words. Bonnie articulates her frustration when things aren’t clicking, and we talk through those emotions, focusing more on the effort than the results. The few times I’ve been out of town for the week, Bonnie runs to meet me at my car on our return session, asking again for an explanation of where I’ve been. Bonnie pays attention, and these sessions are important to her.

It’s an honor to be in Bonnie’s life and to see the light come on for her time and time again. She has such strong comprehension of what’s going on in the world around her; seeing her grow this year has been a privilege.

Mary Silver, Tutor

Region 10 – South Orange County

Melodie, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Melodie, 7th Grade. Melodie worked very hard over the summer to improve her reading comprehension and math skills. Each week she completed the homework assignments I put together and read from a novel of her choice. She completed twenty reading hours! Also, her seriousness toward her education and confidence in her abilities grew vastly. I am so very proud of her hard work! Just this past week we did a math assignment that she pounced on with excitement, such a change from just a couple months prior.

Heather De Felicis, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Alex, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Alex, 6th Grade. GO ALEX!! I am so delighted to hear that Alex has been chosen for the Online Student of the Month. Alex was a pleasure to tutor and we had so much fun together. When I first met Alex, he was outgoing and ready to get to work. We’ve written and read so many stories together, but I believe the subject Alex improved the most in was math. When we first started going over math together, Alex didn’t know how to multiply, add or subtract fractions. But to my surprise, he picked up on the concept very quickly. He was on a roll. Looking back, my favorite thing we did was drawing and writing stories together based on that drawing. Alex drew a very creative and imaginative picture. It was a picture of a superhero, which he named “Supershehero”, who fought a villain to save fishes in the ocean. I remember Alex writing that the villain sprayed poison on the fishes. So then I asked him, “Did the fishes die??” To which he answered, “No, they can’t die, they have superpowers.” I got a laugh out of that! The real heartwarmer came when Alex put a twist on his story, and it ended up that the fishes (instead of the superhero) worked together to use their superpowers to defeat the villain. Overall, we had so much fun together, and Alex is such a bright and intelligent kid. Keep up the great work, Al

Teresa Nguyen, Online Tutor

Oct 2

Tutors of the Month – October 2015

Region 2 – South LA

– Amanda Daoud. Amanda made a video describing her tutoring experience with School on Wheels. In the video, Amanda describes how Damian used to throw temper tantrums at the very beginning of their tutoring sessions. After a few weeks, Amanda says he now wants to do his best and make her proud.

Skid Row Learning Center

Chris Goodman, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Christine “Chris” Goodman. In April 2014, a mother/son tutoring duo joined our team. I had no clue on that first day what an inspiration they would be to me and the students. Since she began, Chris has helped students of all ages. Her expertise as a law professor came in handy when she developed multiple worksheets to implement a program where the students engage in lively debates involving real life scenarios. She also helped a first grader (who consistently resisted reading) learn to love to read! To this day, he still asks for his favorite book: Go, Dog Go!

When asked about her experience, Chis stated, “I love to read and reading continues to be a significant part of my life. I try to motivate children to first learn and then love to read by finding stories about things that matter to them, whether it be cars, robots, friendships, super heroes, or even dogs. Making learning fun is the key to inspiring life-long learning habits, and I like using props, like the abacus with its colorful beads for math homework.”

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA to Pasadena

Brenda Ramirez, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Brenda Ramirez. Brenda has been an outstanding School on Wheels tutor since 2014. During this past year, she has gone beyond “the extra mile”; she tutors in a group setting twice a week, organizes field trips and implemented creative activities during our summer program. Her creativity and passion for teaching have made learning fun for the students. Each week Brenda provides consistency and uses ingenious techniques to engage the students in learning. Here is what Brenda has to say about her experience as a tutor:

The students I work with make this experience so wonderful. They test you, challenge you and love you. In the beginning I wanted to volunteer because I felt a duty to serve others; now it has become a spiritual practice for me. It has revealed patience, dedication and goodness in others. It has motivated me to do better and become a better individual. There is always work to be done and we all must work together to restore our communities.

Thank you for your dedication; you are such an inspiration, Brenda!

Marisol Farfan, Regional Coordinator

Region 4 – South Bay, Long Beach

Ben Philpott-Matson, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Ben Philpott-Matson. Ben has been tutoring with School On Wheels for about a year and a half. In that time, he has shown dedication, care, and patience to his student Antonio. Ben always brings energy and expertise. Week after week, he has a smile on his face and a new, creative activity perfectly tailored for Antonio that inspires him to learn. In his words:

When I began tutoring at School on Wheels, I knew I would meet children who face incredible odds. In my experience, these children tend to have such big hearts and a will to succeed despite setbacks in their lives because of the way their extraordinary experiences have shaped their character.

Louis Mena, Regional Coordinator

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Gabriella Maynetto, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Gabriella Maynetto. Gaby is an amazing tutor, mentor, and volunteer! Besides being an amazing tutor, Gaby has helped out by volunteering to represent School On Wheels at one of our informational booths. Thanks so much, Gaby, for all your hard work and being a great School On Wheels tutor! In her own words:

After graduating from the university and after acquiring full time employment, I decided to look for ways to become engaged in my community and especially the underserved communities in Los Angeles. I found School on Wheels online and think their work is very progressive and compassionate. Being a tutor and mentor is valuable and is important to me because it is a way to give back to the community and to invest in the education of the most vulnerable students. It is a pleasure to represent School on Wheels as a tutor and an honor to work with the students we serve. I would encourage others to consider spending one hour once a week with a student and becoming a positive role model in a student’s life. It is a rewarding experience and a powerful investment in education.

Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Mary Silver, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Mary Silver. Mary has made a great difference in the lives of her students since February of this year! She has been an amazing tutor for Bonnie and made a big difference in her education. Shelter staff have told me repeatedly how impressed they are with the hands-on educational activities she brings for Bonnie. Mary continually goes above and beyond her role as a tutor in her lesson planning, logging and communication. I really appreciate Mary and Bonnie for all of their hard work and dedication to learning and growing together!

Brianna Grothe, Regional Coordinator

Region 10 – South Orange County

Heather De Felicis, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Heather De Felicis. Heather is a long term volunteer for School on Wheels. She truly is a volunteer that goes above and beyond.

In her own words:

I tutored for School On Wheels in Los Angeles County for over a year, but when I moved to Orange County for work, I unfortunately had to take a break to focus on my new job. I missed tutoring so much! I believe that the key to ending poverty and making a better world is through education. There is nothing more satisfying than helping someone learn something new– seeing that light click on is so magical!

Lilian Pahn, Regional Coordinator

Online Tutoring

Katrina Jiang, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Katrina Jiang. Katrina joined us earlier this year as an in-person tutor at the Skid Row Learning Center. Since moving to Berkeley to attend college and despite her busy schedule, Katrina continues to tutor with us online and has had the opportunity to reconnect with her former students on Skid Row. Thank you so much, Katrina, for your continued dedication. We are very proud and very lucky to have you on our team!

In her own words:

I immediately seized the opportunity to continue working with School on Wheels as an online tutor. Through the online tutoring program, I kept in touch with Angie, one of the students I formerly worked with in person at the Skid Row Learning Center, and I guided her through learning the fundamental concepts of Computer Science. We began developing a practical understanding of basic coding, a skill that I wished I had picked up earlier in life and that I hope will help her in her academic career. It made me genuinely smile to see her engaged in an important subject that commonly is not (but should be) taught in regular school curriculum. I now tutor Alex, a student at the School on Wheels Digital Learning Center in Compton, and I have equally high hopes for him to succeed! Whether tutoring online or in person, I can truthfully say that I proudly align myself with School on Wheels and am truly making a difference for homeless children. Since tutoring with School on Wheels, I found that as the children I worked with were growing into well-rounded individuals, I grew with them, developing greater compassion and patience not only for the students, but also for myself. My students and I, we’re not that different; we can still learn so much, together. Thank you for the opportunity, School on Wheels!

Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator