This workshop helps tutors build their students’ college knowledge by nurturing college-going aspirations, which come from intrinsic motivation and the belief in one’s ability to achieve and succeed. School on Wheels students often face hardships that can make it difficult to view college and other opportunities as attainable. Learn activities for different grades to nurture an “I can” attitude that includes how to plan and prepare for college, but also stresses the value of lifelong learning.
Dr. Corina Espinoza received her Doctor of Education from USC, where she specialized in education psychology. Her research focuses on the role of adults in the formation of a learner identity for students and in fostering college-going aspirations. Using a standards-based college knowledge curriculum she developed, Dr. Espinoza works with schools and teachers to build college knowledge in the classroom.
LeAna, 8th grade. LeAna arrives at the Skid Row Learning Center every day with her headphones in her ears and a dance in her step. A big fan of dancing, LeAna works hard to be a positive role model to her little brother as well as to the other kids at the center. On multiple occasions she has helped tutor kindergarteners, completed administrative tasks, assisted with snack and still had the energy to supervise her brother on the commute to the shelter. She ensures that he safely gets on the bus and they make it to dinner in time. After a long day of commuting on the bus, multiple classes, after school tutoring, helping tutors at the center, and helping with her sibling, I can rely on LeAna to offer a warm hug and a big smile as she walks out the door.
Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor
Region 2 – South Los Angeles, Compton, Lynwood, Inglewood, Watts, Gardena, Torrance
Star, 10th Grade. When I first met Star she seemed a little shy and nervous. During the past few months, I have been able to watch Star come out of her shell and become a fun, interactive people to talk with. She has a sense of humor that always makes me laugh. From working through the more challenging math problems to reading, she maintains a positive attitude. She inspires me to keep an optimistic outlook on everything I do in life. As Star continues on her path of education, I hope that she continues to grow as she has over the past few months and that all of her dreams come true.
Rejoyce Green, Tutor
Region 4 – Long Beach, San Pedro, South Bay Cities, Carson, Bellflower, Lakewood, Norwalk
Rayvon, 6th Grade. In October Rayvon had many new experiences: a new home, a new school district, starting middle school and his first tutor. Rayvon is a bright, well spoken, and friendly 12-year old with a winning smile and a winning attitude. At school Rayvon learned the school routine, made friends, enjoyed art class and worked on improving his personal best running time. At home he learned about keeping a schedule and fulfilling his responsibilities. He also had a specific academic goal for tutoring. He learned to be on time and ready to learn with his tutor every week. He worked hard and tracked his progress. In March that first goal was achieved. Way to go, Rayvon! Now these lessons can be applied to many future subjects.
Deborah Chankin, Tutor
Region 5 – Echo Park, Hollywood, Highland Park, Silverlake, Mid-City
Viviane, 11th Grade. Viviane has made enormous strides from the day we first met. She comes prepared and on-time for our study sessions. She has improved her grades from D’s and F’s to all A’s and B’s on her most recent report card. She completes her school work on the days we do not meet and is making a lot of progress in all subjects. Now that the school year has ended, Viviane has expressed interest in her future career, one in which she wants to help others. I am excited by what the future has in store for her.
Akina Lantow, Tutor
Region 7 – Canoga Park, North Hills, North Hollywood, Sylmar, Glendale, Van Nuys, Sun Valley
Hailey, 5th Grade. Hailey is currently in the 5th grade and is probably one of the most unique kids you will ever meet. She’s a part of the chorus at her school, enjoys reading books and is in love with the movie Frozen. Whenever she finishes her homework early, she loves to look up images of Queen Elsa, a character in Frozen, and shows me her favorites. Hailey hasn’t decided exactly what she wishes to be when she grows up but her choices are either a teacher, an aerospace engineer, or an artist. She is one of the smartest kids I have ever met. She has a vast imagination that allows her to think so creatively about everything. Hailey is a great listener and an outstanding student. I honestly can’t imagine tutoring anyone else!
Samantha Montes De Oca, Tutor
Region 8 – Ventura, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley
Marleth, 5th Grade. Marleth has been a joy to teach. She is eager to learn and very cooperative, something teachers hope for in their students. Her writing teacher indicated that she is very bright and on grade level despite having moved here from Mexico only four months ago. We have been working on phonics and constructing both oral and written sentences. Marleth has good observation skills and an above average ability to focus. She also has a good sense of humor, and plays the jokester occasionally. 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.
Ann Klein, Tutor
Region 10 – Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Irvine, Lake Forest, Fountain Valley, Westminster
Erick, 6th grade. Once Erick had a math assignment that I couldn’t explain to him. The problems were simple, how to convert fractions into decimals into percentages, but I wasn’t prepared that he had no understanding of fractions. When I realized this, it stumped me. I had learned fractions so long ago that I didn’t know how to explain them or even where to start. So we began to work on it together, breaking the parts into little sections. After a few sessions he was able to solve the problems. I was so excited by what he learned that I couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the session.
The drawing is something Erick’s little sister drew. Apparently I’m the middle one with the big ears and Erick is the one on the right.
Eric Chang, Tutor
Hannah, 11th Grade. Seeing my student prosper during our online tutoring sessions makes it all worth it. When I began tutoring her, Hannah was barely able to set up a problem on the CAHSEE practice exam. I noticed that after a few weeks of tutoring she started to approach the problems on her own and began to do more and more each week. Our tutoring sessions turned from weekly to biweekly lessons that dramatically enhanced her understanding of math and sparked her passion for learning. I asked her whether she was considering college as an option. At first told me, “No, it’s too hard,” but after spending time with her, her views have greatly changed and she’s more confident with herself.
In Hannah’s own words:
Catherine is a great teacher and she has a way of making me feel comfortable asking questions about math. I feel more confident in my math abilities and in going to college. Thanks Catherine!
Yesenia, 9th Grade. When I first met Yesenia, she was shy about speaking the little English that she knew. She, however, is not a shy person. Soon enough, her bubbly personality lit up our sessions. As I continued to work with her, I realized how intelligent Yesenia is. Her English dramatically improved; I was constantly surprised with her progress and impressed by her thought process. Whenever we worked on writing sentences for her English homework, I was moved by what she asked me to help her translate. When I helped her spell words in English, she would write them down correctly. I always found it funny that she would pat herself on the back, saying, “Me amo,” or in English, “I love me.” She’s such a positive individual with a great sense of humor. It has been a wonderful experience working with her!
Amarilis Bolaños, Tutor
Region 3 – Westside
Dillon, 2nd Grade. I had the privilege of meeting Dillon this winter. Dillon is a great student who is full of energy, intelligence, and a rather contagious optimistic attitude that made our tutoring sessions a blast. Each week he was ready to tackle his next homework assignment and was motivated to finish his weekly assignments days in advance. When we weren’t working hard on homework, we had interesting conversations that expressed his imaginativeness and genuine curiosity for all things math and science. This included conversations about the subtle wonders of Newton’s Laws of Motion and the physics of Newton’s Cradle! I have no doubt that Dillon has the potential to do great things in his future and to achieve his dream of becoming a scientist. I wish him all the best!
Ruben Maldonado, Tutor
Region 4 – Long Beach, San Pedro
A’janna, 5th Grade. I feel as if I’ve hit the jackpot with my student A’janna! She is curious about all things science related, which has challenged me to prepare interactive projects and experiments for us to do. She often tries to finish all her homework BEFORE I arrive when I let her know I have materials for a new project. I greatly enjoy our sessions and the opportunity to encourage her love of science.
In the photo, we sewed together the major organs of the human digestive system, and used pipe cleaners to represent the small and large intestines. A’janna asked for a project on the digestive system because a different group in her class was assigned this topic and she wanted to learn more about it. Her curiosity knows no bounds!
Jessica Prosper Seymour, Tutor
Region 5 – Echo Park, Hollywood, Highland Park, Silverlake, Mid-City
Madison, 12th Grade. When I first met Madison, she greeted me with a loud “Hi Miss!” She explained to me that she had not turned in a single Algebra assignment since starting school because she doesn’t know how to do the math. Over the past 2 1/2 months, Madison has amazed me with her progress. She understands and retains what I show her and works hard the entire time we are together. I was so excited when she came home from school one day with her first graded assignment in Algebra. Madison got her first A and I couldn’t be more proud of her! I truly believe she will become an awesome nurse one day!
Way to go, Madison!!
Ruba Hsen, Tutor
Region 7 – San Fernando Valley
Jeremy, 5th Grade. Jeremy is a 5th grader who has a genuine love of learning and a mind that works as fast as a bullet train. He’s a high spirited young man who has learned to channel his energy in positive directions. Jeremy is considerate of the children and adults around him, always offering to help others and do more than is expected of him. He expresses himself articulately and has a wonderful sense of humor. Our sessions have consisted of completing homework and reviewing any concepts he doesn’t understand. We then chat about the content in his reading comprehension and other issues in his life. Finally, as a reward for his consistently excellent work and attitude, we play a game. Of all the games at his shelter, and there are dozens of them, Jeremy nearly always picks Scrabble, which happens to be my all-time favorite game. It’s been a joy to share my skills and knowledge of this challenging game with a boy who absorbs the information like a pro. I hope I’m making a difference in this incredible boy’s life. Perhaps one day, when he’s a successful adult, Jeremy will remember the lady who enjoyed his company, laughed at his jokes, marveled at his intelligence, and enjoyed playing Scrabble with him.
Debbie Bloom, Tutor
Region 10 – Southern Orange County
Bruce, 6th Grade and JR, 5th Grade. We are amazed at Bruce’s giftedness in seeing patterns in mathematical brain teasers! He loves tackling difficult problems and often shows us alternative ways to find an answer. Sometimes we feel like we are the ones being tutored! He is so upbeat and never runs out of things to say. Bruce is an analytical thinker with an adventurous spirit.
JR comes to sessions ready to work! If he completes his homework assignments before the tutoring session ends, he is open to extra review problems or mathematical brain teasers. We can always count on JR to share interesting facts that he is learning from his science class. He has a love for learning new things…and did we mention his love for paper airplanes?! We would not be surprised if one day he is building real planes and flying them too!
Anne and Cameron Deguzman, Tutors
Kaliyah, 2nd Grade. Each tutoring session I have with Kaliyah is filled with enthusiasm and humor! She is always excited to approach complex math problems and apply newly learned concepts to spelling and reading exercises. She has also developed a habit of writing down specific concepts that she struggled with during the session. She does this towards the end of the session and then studies these concepts during the week. During the following sessions, I quiz her on the concepts that she originally struggled with, and she is able to answer all of my questions with ease. I highly admire her work ethic because she makes the effort to study outside of our tutoring sessions. Such qualities and habits will pave the way for a bright future for Kaliyah.
According to Kaliyah’s teacher:
Kaliyah received 100% on her spelling test this week and she is on grade level now. Kaliyah says that her favorite part of tutoring is when “I get to write out all of my math problems and if I get it wrong my tutor allows me to do it again!”