Month: May 2016

May 17

Ask A Tutor Tuesday – 5/17/2016

Question: “I’ve been working in a small residential group home for three months where there are usually three-five male teens. The staff don’t seem very encouraging about continuing over the summer, when students don’t have any homework. I mentioned it to the students and they seem to feel the same way, but I know the School on Wheels program suggests working through the summer. I’m not sure what to do. I would like to keep tutoring there and I think the boys could benefit.”

Staff Note: First, contact your regional coordinator and let them know that there is some question about summer tutoring. They will follow up with staff and reaffirm that we tutor over the summer–and why. See below for some great ideas on summer tutoring!

Pa Bayha: Why not take them on an educational trip?  This does not necessarily mean a physical field trip.  When I work with the gifted program on the Navajo Reservation, I take my vacation pictures and some artifacts I’ve collected, and they love it. I have introduced students to the history of Borneo and the orangutans, The Silk Road,  Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, and I am working on a slide tour of the Huntington Library American Art Gallery. Start with a discussion of vacations you have taken or do a Google search for a country they know nothing about. These kids need dreams for the future. If you have never heard of it, why would you want to go there? You can even plan a lesson on where in the world would you like to go and then research what to do, see, and eat there. With 3-5 boys that would be 3-5 lessons. Education is not just about homework, and you can have a lot of fun with your students doing these sorts of creative learning activities.

Jackie Romo: Tutoring in the summer can be tough for any student, but bravo to you for wanting to take the time to enrich your students’ lives! One approach might be to make the summer a ‘lesson study’ on a topic of their choice. For example, during one summer, my student and I did a series of science experiments to study the scientific process. We discovered how scientists make a hypothesis, test it out, and come up with some kind of conclusion. We read several books about scientists, conducted a few experiments, and kept a journal of all the information we liked from various science books. We also made a list of things we still had questions about. By the end of the summer, based on weeks of study, we decided to visit the Discovery Science Center where there was a “Bubblefest” that allowed visitors to do hands-on experiments–our favorite! It was so much fun and more importantly, it was a valuable learning experience. (Remember to follow field trip procedures.)

Depending on your students’ interests, you can focus on a concept based on a content area (math, science, history, literature, art) and study it the entire summer to become “experts.”  Near the end of the summer, you, a fellow tutor, and your students can take your expertise and visit a museum to further your learning! It might help your students stay motivated for the summer if they know they’re working toward a museum visit.       

About the tutors: Jackie Romo has been a School in Wheels tutor for nearly 9 years. Aside from tutoring, she teaches first grade in Rowland Heights and recently earned a MS in reading. She is happy to help in any way she can to make your tutoring sessions successful!

Pat Bayha has been tutoring with School on Wheels for over a year, and also tutors at Tuba City Boarding School on the Navajo Reservation. She is a former teacher with the Montebello Unified School District and has many years of experience teaching in inner city high schools, including advanced placement students and bilingual learners.

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May 2

Students of the Month – May 2016

School on Wheels Student of the Month for May 2016

Skid Row Learning Center

Taree, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Taree, 7th Grade. If you have had the wondrous opportunity to meet Taree, you will not be surprised that he is May’s Student of the Month since he exemplifies everything you would want in a student. To start off, he’s kind and respectful; he greets people upon meeting them and asks for things politely. Secondly, he possesses a sharp, inquisitive mind. He not only enjoys learning school subjects (he’s at the top of his class) with his tutors but also what the tutor does for a living or for fun. Finally, Taree is such a joy to have around because of his positive outlook. Despite his living circumstances or scholastic workload, he looks at the bright side of life and makes the best out of every situation. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Taree, stop by and meet someone we’re going to be reading great things about in the newspaper one day.

Brian Lopez, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 2 – South LA

Sarah, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Sarah, 5th Grade. Sarah is Student of the Month because of her eagerness to learn and positive attitude despite various distractions at the shelter. She has been consistently attending her sessions for a year. She has shown great improvement academically and really enjoys her tutor. Sarah is in her last year of elementary school. I believe she will be very successful in Middle School.

Kenisha Edwards, Regional Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

Aramie, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Aramie, 6th Grade. Aramie is a beautiful soul. Besides being incredibly intelligent and dedicated to doing her best in school, she is creative and kind. It’s always a pleasure to hear her sing and laugh, and it’s great to know that her love of reading is a big reason why she does so well at writing her own stories.

Aubrey Beck, Tutor

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Nevaeh, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Nevaeh, 1st Grade. I chose to nominate six year old Nevaeh for Student of the Month. She is very hard working and has the kindest heart. When a fellow student was saying how they weren’t good a particular subject, she overheard me encouraging them and chimed in to tell them that mistakes are ok because we learn from them. She cares so much about all her friends and family.

A little bit about Nevaeh…

She wants to be a dancer when she grows up. She also loves to sing and act. In school her favorite thing is hard math problems. It makes her so happy when she solves them.

Devin McKinnon, Tutor Coordinator

Region 8 – Ventura County

Marleth, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Marleth, 6th Grade. Marleth was born in Colorado but spent most of her life in Mexico. In September 2014 when Marleth first moved to Ventura, she was reading at a pre-kindergarten level. She was recently tested and now reads at a 3.6 grade level! Marleth is active in dancing, volleyball and music. She is learning how to play the violin and the granada guitar. Marleth has been a joy to teach, very cooperative and eager to learn. Marleth has good observational skills as well as a good sense of humor. She wants to join the army which would enable her financially to go to medical school,indicating to me that she has lofty goals. I suspect she will soar academically once she becomes proficient in English. I feel honored to be able to play a small part in Marleth’s educational process.

Anne Klein, Tutor

Region 10 – South Orange County

Leo, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Leo, 1st Grade. Leo, one of the first kids I worked with, was especially memorable. Even though there was a major language barrier between the two of us, we ended up really connecting. It was especially rewarding to see him improve his English speaking and reading skills because we consistently practiced each week.

Ramita Sawhney, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Nelson and Luis, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Nelson, 5th Grade and Luis, 9th Grade. I have had the pleasure of working with Nelson who lives on Skid Row since the beginning of the year. Since then, Nelson has become faster with his math skills and has improved his reading and writing. Nelson has also become more confident; he now actively participates in our online tutoring session and in our free time, enjoys playing math and word games, and hangman. Nelson always says that the funniest part of his day is playing compound word games and sharing jokes during his online tutoring sessions!

Luis who lives in Compton has also grown in self-confidence. His attitude towards school has turned from negative to positive. He used to say that he was bored in some of his classes, but now he pays attention and achieves A’s in many of his classes! Luis says he enjoys being able to talk to someone about his day.

Both Luis and Nelson are extremely bright students who I believe have benefited immensely from digital learning and online tutoring opportunities provided by School on Wheels. I firmly believe that they will accomplish their dreams of becoming a scientist (Nelson) and a filmmaker (Luis)!

Alyson Gonzalez, Online Tutor

May 2

Tutors of the Month – May 2016

School on Wheels Tutors of the Month for May 2016

Skid Row Learning Center

Osmond Cruz, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Osmond Cruz. In his own words: As I was looking for volunteer opportunities, I stumbled upon School on Wheels. On my first day of tutoring, I didn’t know what to expect because there were so many kids and only a few tutors. However, the kids were very welcoming and excited to have me sit with them. It was so much easier for me as a tutor, knowing the kids were eager to learn. Even though I’m there to teach them, they’ve also taught me patience and how to be a positive role model. I look forward to coming to School On Wheels each week, excited on what new stories the kids will be telling me and what new thing we can learn from one another.

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 2 – South LA

Raquel Munoz, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Raquel Munoz. Raquel has been with School on Wheels for three year now, and unfortunately, this is her last year. She has been an amazing Tutor Coordinator and tutor.. Raquel has placed dozens of students with great tutors and has tutored over fifty students herself. Raquel will be greatly missed!

In Raquel’s words: Since June 2013 I have volunteered with School on Wheels, thanks to a very persistent friend of mine who insisted that I volunteer. Initially I thought there was absolutely no way that I could fit tutoring into my busy schedule, which included school and work. However, here I am three years later, and so glad that School on Wheels is a part of my life.

As an evolving professional, being a tutor and a Tutor Coordinator has been such an enriching experience. Because of my experiences with School on Wheels, I feel better prepared for this next chapter in my life, teaching English to young children in China.

Kenisha Edwards, Regional Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

Group Tutors Bible Tabernacle, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Group Tutors Bible Tabernacle. This month I would like to highlight some of the tutors that go to our Homework Club night at Bible Tabernacle. Four or five tutors have been going there consistently for about a year now, and are doing a great job with the kids. Whenever I stop by, the kids know all of the tutors by name and are excited each week to come to group tutoring for help with their assignments. Thank you so much for all of your help! I’ve really seen the group of kids grow over the year and tutoring has been a big part of that!

Kyle McDonough, Regional Coordinator

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Devin McKinnon, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Devin McKinnon. Devin is a fantastic tutor and Tutor Coordinator! Since Devin started with School on Wheels in September 2015, she has been a strong leader and has helped many students improve their education. She plans fun educational activities for the students in group tutoring and helps coordinate the tutors! I truly appreciate her hard work, dedication to caring for children and positive attitude!

In her own words: I am lucky enough to have found my passion in life and that’s working with children. It’s the greatest thing in the world. Their energy and unique personalities keep a smile on my face all day. I found School On Wheels in an online volunteer search and thought it was such a great program. The students we tutor at the San Fernando Mission are so bright, positive and full of life. It is truly an honor to be able to spend time with them every week.

Brianna Grothe, Regional Coordinator

Region 8 – Ventura County

Anne Klein, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Anne Klein. Anne has been a tutor with School on Wheels since March of 2014. For the past two years Anne has been an exceptional tutor, seeking new ways to help and support the students she is working with. We are very grateful to have amazing volunteers such as Anne as part of our organization.

In her own words: I retired from a 25 year teaching career in Miami, Florida. I taught special education at all levels in public schools. The majority of my students were first generation Cuban; so I am quite familiar with the Hispanic community. I moved to Ventura nearly four years ago with the intention of doing volunteer tutoring. I was so happy to discover School on Wheels! I have been with them for many years and have been tutoring Marleth since February 2015. I want to ‘give back’ and my main motivation is my love of kids. Really, really miss them!

Lisette Gaeta, Regional Team Leader

Region 10 – South Orange County

Ramita Sawhney, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Ramita Sawhney. In her own words: I’ve always loved working with kids; at a very young age I started babysitting and spent my Sunday mornings working at a church’s childcare program for over six years. Once I graduated from college and started working full-time, I had extra time during the week and decided to volunteer. With my past experience tutoring kids, School on Wheels is the best way for me to give back to the community. I started this past year. It’s so nice to help the children with schoolwork, and to get to know them more personally. It’s rewarding to encourage them to utilize their maximum potential. I’ve found that they are great listeners and are very keen to learn.

Lilian Pahn, Regional Coordinator

Online Tutoring

Alyson Gonzalez, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Alyson Gonzalez. Since joining School on Wheels in August of 2015, Alyson has tutored more than ten students online; currently she tutors Nelson on Skid Row and Luis in Compton. Alyson’s warmth, passion, commitment, and preparedness are qualities that have helped her students improve both in their character and their academics. Thank you, Alyson, for your hard work and dedication!

In her own words: Before beginning tutoring with School on Wheels, I assumed that most homeless children did not have the same attitude to learning as their counterparts. Now, after tutoring Nelson and Luis, I see that I am wrong. Nelson and Luis are extremely bright; even though they lack stable environments and are often transient, they are extremely forward-looking and have the most positive outlook on life. They know that they can achieve anything as long as they strive for their goals. I am happy to help them and look forward to continuing to support them as long as I can. As much as I am an inspiration to them, they are also an inspiration to me. I truly believe that, thanks to School on Wheels.

Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator