Tag: Students

Sep 2

Students of the Month – September 2015

Jonathan, one of our Students of the Month

Region 3 – Westside

Lilly, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Lilly, 5th Grade. Lilly is truly a shining star! I met Lilly at the tail end of the 1st grade, and now she has recently entered the 5th grade. We have gone from stuffed animals to an iPad, from Princess Cowgirl to songwriter, from tears to laughter, with many great adventures along the way. At every session, whether helping with homework or using tutorial materials from the SOW website, I am constantly called to be innovative and speak to Lilly’s native intelligence and her often experiential learning style. We have used an imaginary restaurant setting to learn math and money skills, used card games such as “21” for math and strategy skills, created games involving blocks, action figures and Lilly’s huge imagination to help with estimating measurements and creating logical narratives, created similes and metaphors that speak to Lilly, written a song about Tennessee and used a good old fashioned map to trace Lilly’s day. Lilly loves to sing and has performed for me quite frequently. And she has natural drawing talent that seems to creep into every lesson. Lilly also loves to eat and cook – recipe books have roamed into our lesson plans. Sometimes I question whether Lilly is understanding a math concept, and then several weeks later, I find she has mastered it. She is a “stealth learner”. Sometimes Lilly can get overwhelmed when presented with unfamiliar material, so I have learned not to pressure her. Lilly has taught me the value of being spontaneous in teaching, incorporating real life examples and not to sweat the small stuff. My favorite moments of tutoring are when Lilly quietly says, “Can I tell you something?” I know she is really asking me a life skills question, and it is important for her to be heard. The funniest moment was when I had a lot of stubble on my face one session (thinking to grow a beard) and she said, “What is wrong with your face!?” I shaved that same night.

Peter Westermayer, Tutor

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Andres, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Andres, 2nd Grade. Andres is seven years old and an enthusiastic second grader! Andres has been working with Daisy since the beginning of this year. They have tackled math, reading and writing during their tutoring sessions. Andres is a great student who is working to improve his math skills and is making great progress. He continually shows that he is able to work hard and try his best. We are very proud to recognize Andres as the Student of the Month for September! Keep up the great work!

Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator

Region 6 – Inland Empire

Dontavion, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Dontavion, 10th Grade. I nominated Dontavion for Student of the Month because he is an energetic and motivated student who always comes to our sessions with a smile on his face. He’s funny, ambitious, and brings new perspectives to every discussion we hold. His dream is to become an actor, and his hard working nature and positive attitude will definitely help him achieve his dream!

Mathangi Suresh, Tutor

Region 8 – Ventura County

Ruby, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Ruby, 9th Grade. Ruby, besides being a Raiders fan, is a consummate organizer. Despite being the youngest in the house, she is the first to jump into a project, pull out her homework, do more than was asked, and be the one helping someone else. She is a positive and energizing student!

Eileen Vocke, Tutor

Region 10 – South Orange County

Shaury and Zizzy, School on Wheels Students of the Month

– Shaury and Zizzy. I have been working with Zizzy and Shaury on math over the summer. They are sisters and both understand math concepts very well. I was surprised that they would often come to incorrect solutions to problems. As we reviewed their work step by step, we figured out they were lacking some of the basic fundamentals that they missed during one of their moves to a new school. Once we reviewed these basics, they caught on very quickly and their problem solving abilities were tremendously improved. It has been a pleasure working with Zizzy and Shaury, and I am proud of their efforts during the summer.

Tsuyoshi Johnson, Tutor

Region 12 – North Orange County

Jonathan, School on Wheels Students of the Month

– Jonathan, 1st Grade. I have had the privilege of tutoring my learning partner, Jonathan, this summer and am excited that he is being recognized as Student of the Month for being an active participant in our tutoring sessions. Each week Jonathan is eager to learn and engage in any activity that I bring for him. It is evident that Jonathan truly enjoys learning.

Although he was hesitant about mathematics at first, Jonathan’s attitude towards the content changed from apprehensive to positive. I quickly learned that he has a strong interest in drawing and coloring. Incorporating his interest in visual art into the mathematics lessons became an effective instructional tool. I know that Jonathan will have continued success in first grade because of his eagerness to learn and commitment to education!

Naomi Sunshine, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Railene, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Railene, 6th Grade. When we had our first session with Railene, she was very shy. After many more sessions, she has bloomed into this funny, outgoing girl. Over the past several months, we’ve taught Railene how to multiply and divide big numbers, and she has improved so much since our first session together. However, it wasn’t always easy! One time we were writing down problems for Railene to do. When she saw them, she said, “NO, NOT DIVISION!” and we all laughed. Now she is a lot more comfortable with math. We also read together from time to time to improve her reading skills. We’re so happy to be able to catch Railene up with some of the skills she needs to help her thrive this next school year, and we’re even happier to continue tutoring Railene for as long as we possibly can.

Sophia Batalha & Natasha Batalha, Sisters & Online Tutors

Aug 21

Making Math Fun

This workshop reviews ways to identify your student’s ‘math break,’ while also providing tips and techniques to make math fun for both you and your student. Increasing the ‘fun factor’ during tutoring sessions will keep your student engaged and help eliminate learning gaps.

Suggested activities for “Making Math Fun” (PDF)

About the Presenter:

Anita Weir started college as a math major, before eventually earning a degree in Business Administration from University of Phoenix. She recently retired from her third career as an Executive Assistant. In previous careers she worked as an Insurance Claims Examiner and an Employee Benefits Specialist. She has been tutoring School on Wheels students since 2012. She lives with her family in Playa del Rey, CA.

Aug 14

Student Talent Show

On Friday, August 14, some of our students showed off their abilities at our end of summer Talent Show. Before the students took the stage, parents and children got to enjoy delicious hot dogs and burgers for lunch, which were being grilled outside our Learning Center. Meanwhile, all of our guests enjoyed carnival games and face painting. At 1 pm, we walked over to Inner-City Arts for the main event. We had all types of performances including break dancing, singing, gymnastics, a magic show, rapping, poetry slam, piano and violin performances, and singing the ABCs (as seen in the video above).

Thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers and employees who made this day possible, and a special thank you to our incredibly talented students!

Aug 1

Students of the Month – August 2015

By Matthew, one of the Students of the Month

Region 3 – Westside

Jonathan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Jonathan, 12th grade. Jonathan is 17 years old and about to enter his senior year of high school. From the first time I met him, I saw that he was a very sensitive and intelligent young man. Although he feels his talents are in science and engineering, I found that he has a deep interest in people, cultures and philosophical questions. Although we’re focusing on writing, often we end up having long conversations about the issues behind the essays. He’s finding it easier to express his thoughts and feelings, which is the foundation for being a good writer. I’m also inspired by some of his pursuits, from anime to studying Japanese. I always look forward to my time with him.

Debra Kaufman, Tutor

Region 4 – South Bay, Long Beach

Secrete, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Secrete, 5th grade . I have been blown away this past month by Secrete’s many achievements. Her focus and determination granted her an “A” on her last math test, missing only two questions. She memorized all fifty United States states by location for her geography test (unbelievable!). And last month I had the privilege of watching her graduate from elementary school. I am so proud of this little scholar and cannot wait to see how she will amaze me next. Secrete is looking forward to fun times this summer playing four square, Connect Four, and catching up on some summer reading with her favorite author, Roald Dahl.

Lisa Utsinger, Tutor

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Lazara, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Lazara, 1st grade. I’ve been honored to see Lazara accomplish so much since I started tutoring her. When we began tutoring, she told me that her goals were to listen better and improve in math and English. However, at the beginning of our first session, she also told me she had reservations about tutoring with a “boy tutor”. Yet, by the end of the academic year, her teacher and mother were happy to inform me that she became one of the top in her class at math, and improved greatly in reading and writing. I am so thankful that I was able to connect with Lazara. We both look forward to our sessions every week; I can’t wait to see Lazara’s continued success!

Tyler Edmonston, Tutor

Region 6 – Inland Empire

Matthew, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Matthew, 9th grade. Matthew is a freshman who loves basketball. He loves to watch, play, and talk about basketball at any given time. As a Team LeBron fan, he looks up to role models like this phenomenal basketball star. However, for Matthew, academic work did not come as easily as shooting balls. He severely struggled in many areas such as reading, writing, and math. Considering his age, this was a big concern for tutors and staff. Therefore, School On Wheels and the facility staff worked together to create appropriate academic plans for Matthew. As a result, Matthew’s reading and math have improved noticeably. Not only that, his self-esteem grew as he gained confidence in academia. Just like any teenager undergoing puberty, Matthew has his moments. On some days he is beyond moody. But he is loving and affable when he feels safe and secure. That is why the staff and SOW truly care for Matthew and are pleased with his accomplishments. We believe that, with his hard work and consistent efforts, Matthew will be able to live his dream to become a U.S. Marshall.

Song Jeong, Tutor

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Arman, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Arman, 5th Grade. Arman is a spunky, soon to be, 6th grader with an affinity for fast cars and any music by “The Weeknd.” He loves In N Out but hates his burger or fries “animal style.” He loves to play basketball at recess and wants to be a cop when he grows up. Arman, like most eleven year old boys, has a difficult time staying focused. So, between reducing fractions to simplest form and reading about how hot air balloons are able to rise, we discuss skateboards and the adventures he had the previous weekend with his “cool” older cousins. When reading is on the agenda, it doesn’t go over well… it goes over better when I let him use my iPhone to ask Siri to define words we come across that he doesn’t know. To get to know Arman and help him develop strategies to build up his confidence and learn some self-discipline has been a challenge, but it’s one that Arman has made serious strides toward. Arman doesn’t LOVE to read yet… but each week we get to work on it. And with that our journey continues…

Laura Hine, Tutor

Region 12 – North Orange County

Jeshua, School on Wheels Students of the Month

– Jeshua, 1st grade. Every Friday, when I am getting ready to tutor Jeshua, I have to be ready to face the greatest Pokemon master of them all. With his deck ready for me as soon as I get to the door, we start off our tutoring session with a quick Pokemon battle. As Jeshua unleashes his mighty Thundurus at me, we practice reading the attack moves and calculating how much damage a Pokemon takes. Besides his awesome skills as a Pokemon trainer, Jeshua is also a great reader and problem solver. From my one year of tutoring him, Jeshua has advanced from learning basic sight words to being able to read short stories with ease (even if he prefers math over reading).

Even though I am the one tutoring him, Jeshua has also taught me lessons as well. His ever-optimistic attitude makes me smile, and his confidence in his own skills has taught me to be confident as well. Thank you, Jeshua, for allowing me to tutor you. It’s been a great and rewarding ride so far.

Yuri Ceriale, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Ke’Juan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Ke’Juan, 7th Grade. Ke’Juan’s passion for math and science has fueled his learning and helped him achieve tremendous success. Since tutoring Ke’Juan, I’ve seen not only his learning improve but also his mentality and approach towards new challenges. He has demonstrated this, for example, in distributing and isolating variables. Also, despite his heavy involvement in basketball camp and activities during the summer, Ke’Juan put his academics ahead of other commitments and organized his schedule so that he could attend all of his online tutoring sessions with me every week. In addition, Ke’Juan’s passion and curiosity about the brain has been extremely welcoming; we have spent our time learning about growth mindset and the importance of knowing that the brain is a malleable organ that can continue to grow.

Overall, Ke’Juan’s approach to learning, his curiosity, patience, and persistence will only continue to help him achieve greater goals in life. It has been an honor and pleasure to tutor Ke’Juan and to watch him develop into a highly motivated student and lifelong learner!

Sagar Buttan, Online Tutor

Jul 31

How to Donate School Supplies for Homeless Students

Back-to-school season has begun, and we are in need of school supplies to help our students start the year with everything they need to succeed. With the cost of school supplies reaching up to $350 last year and always rising, many of our students are unable to afford the basic materials they need. Last year we gave over 6,000 backpacks and school supplies to our students. We couldn’t have done that without the generous donations from our supporters. Here is what you can do to help our students start the new year on the right foot:

  1. Donate in Person – Buy extra backpacks, notebooks, pencils, or any items on our Student Wish List while you’re shopping. Drop them off at one of our offices:
    1. 83 S. Palm Street, Ventura, CA 93001 or
    2. 600 East 7th Street, Ste 109, Los Angeles, CA 90021
  2. Roonga – Not near one of our offices? Now you can donate school supplies online. Browse our list of needed supplies, choose what you want to donate, and Roonga will send it directly to us.
  3. Online shopping – Many websites and online retailers – such as Target, Amazon Smile, iGive.com, or eScrip – will donate a percentage of your purchase to School on Wheels. Use these tools when you’re shopping online, and some of the money you spend will help us give our students the supplies they need – at no extra cost to you!
  4. Donate money for us to buy school supplies – Don’t have time to shop for supplies? Donate online: $50 buys a brand new backpack for a student. $100 provides a backpack and school supplies for the entire year.

Dan Cardinali, president of dropout-prevention group Communities In Schools said that when students don’t have the school supplies they need, “They lose a sense of belonging. They are, right from the start, set apart. It materially compromises their ability to learn.” Don’t let our students fall behind simply because they can’t afford school supplies. Your gift, however small, can make a difference.

Jul 2

Students of the Month – July 2015

Joseph, School on Wheels Student of the Month
Joseph, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Region 1 – East LA to Pasadena

Lariell, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Lariell, 11th Grade. Lariell is everything I could ask for in a star student. He is eager to learn, brave when he has questions, and tenacious in finding answers. Since I met him only a few months ago, he has raised his grades enough to play sports. He dreams one day of owning his own business which I know he can do, given his great drive and attitude. I can’t say enough good things about him. Keep up the great work, Lariell!

Liz Reznak, Tutor

Region 2 – South Los Angeles

Beautiful, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Beautiful, 1st grade. Beautiful is a six-year-old student with a huge desire to learn. She has a very shy demeanor yet is quick to participate in every learning activity presented to her. Beautiful enjoys reading short stories, especially ones with Disney princesses. She is always eager to assist her siblings with school related work when she notices them struggling. Beautiful deserves to be Student of the Month because she displays an aspiration to learn and works earnestly as part of that desire. Beautiful is such a pleasure to have in group. With her gentle enthusiasm, I know she will be a great pleasure to her community.

Raquel Munoz, Tutor Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

Joseph, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Joseph, 1st Grade. There is no single word I could use to describe Joseph that would adequately portray his character. He is thoughtful, always ready to share with his younger brother and other students. He is committed, always completing his homework before our sessions. He is brilliant; one time he corrected me on an exercise and I loved it! But beyond this, Joseph is an incredibly talented student bursting with joy, and I am so lucky to be his tutor. Among students, Joseph is respectful and soft-spoken; he is a natural leader. Joseph loves to draw so we try to incorporate it into every learning activity. In preparation for this summer, we are completing an “ABC Book” in which Joseph chooses a noun for each letter of the alphabet and then draws that object. Joseph is a passionate learner. I can’t wait to continue working with him as he enters the first grade.

Mahsaw Motlagh, Tutor

Region 8 – Ventura County

Rhianna, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Rhianna, 3rd Grade. I am a new volunteer with School on Wheels, and was lucky enough to be paired with my student Rhianna. She is a delightful eight year old girl who just finished second grade. Bright and cheerful, Rhianna is a good student, but math is not her strong suit. We are going to work to change that this summer!

Using School on Wheels’ pre-assessment tool and numerous website resources, Rhianna and I are going to work to improve her math skills. Our specific goal is for her to master her multiplication tables. We’re starting with skip counting by fives, using computer games and flashcards. I’ll strive to keep it entertaining.

Jennifer Moore, Tutor

Region 10 – South Orange County

Chase, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Chase, Kindergarten. I tutored a kindergartener for a few months and faced more challenges than I had anticipated. As we spent more time together, I realized how to help my student. What he needed was a fun-based approach with games, incentives, and the occasional big challenge of cracking a beginner reader book. It took me many attempts and readjustments to match his learning style with my teaching style, but the end result was his reading confidence and my pride at his progress.

The tutors for the four brothers, all members of the School on Wheels at UCI Club, managed to make reading gains with their students by playing games and working with manipulatives, which I made at home. I grew to be quite fond of Chase. During the last few sessions with him, he was visibly proud to be able to read basic sentences and eager to tackle new challenges. He grew to be motivated not by the tangible incentives I gave him of snacks, high fives, and praise, but by the sense of accomplishment he felt after reading a word correctly without any help. His toothy and excited grin, in turn, encouraged me to keep working to find other learning strategies suitable to his age and personality. Unfortunately, my tutoring sessions with Chase and his family have since ended, but I now recognize my struggles in working with him as learning opportunities for the future.

Kylie Toy, Tutor

Region 12 – North Orange County

Mark, School on Wheels Students of the Month

– Mark, Grade 8. It has been an amazing opportunity to tutor Mark because I truly enjoy watching him learn and grow. Mark and I have focused our time on studying mathematics and reading. At first, I was doubtful how spending one hour a week could help with his academics, but Mark has proven me wrong. After a few months of tutoring, Mark’s report card showed incredible progress. In addition, he won two recognition awards during a year-end awards ceremony at his elementary school. Working with Mark has been my pleasure. I am thankful and proud of having him as a student.

Mark is interested in playing drums; one day, after a tutoring session, he thoughtfully decided to teach me some basic drum beats as a way to give back to me. Recently, Mark has also been sharing his talent as an artist to help me improve my drawing skills.

InJae Yoo, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Jonathan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Jonathan, 3rd Grade. Jonathan has made huge gains since online tutoring 1-on-1 with his tutor, Farrah Haddad. From the beginning, Jonathan’s mother told me that she was worried about Jonathan because they’d been moving from shelter to shelter, which meant that he missed a lot of school. Since Jonathan joined us at the shelter, I noticed that he often felt like he wasn’t good at anything. He looked defeated and wasn’t motivated to participate in activities with the other kids. After a couple of online tutoring sessions with Farrah, sometimes twice and even three times a week, Jonathan was able to excel in school. He also smiles a lot more now, is more energetic, and is just more confident all around. Recently, Jonathan has been coming to my office everyday telling me how smart he is and how much he’s been improving in math. He’s always reciting his times tables in and around the shelter!

I just want to say how thankful I am for School on Wheels and Farrah for helping Jonathan. It’s so great to see Jonathan grow and thrive. Thanks so much. You guys truly make a difference!

Michelle Baek, Jonathan’s Shelter Staff