Last Spring a dream came true for many of us that have been at Chets Creek for a long time. "The ARC" is located in the midst of a 1000 trailer park community in our attendance zone. Because there are so many families in such a small concentrated area it was a natural place for us to target. Working with the leadership of the community, our School Leadership Team worked to bring two hours of tutoring every day to the children in our school who live in that community. With leadership from our Media Specialist, KK Cherney and our Interventionist, Liz Duncan (both have been "Chets Creek Teachers of the Year" and are Nationally Board Certified), we have two small rooms in an office building that our teachers have transformed into an oasis. The leadership at the community donated five computers and our county donated another five. Teachers volunteer their time! I am fortunate to be able to go on Tuesdays for two hours. On that day I am joined by three other first grade teachers, Rebecca Roberts, Toni Chant and Maria Mallon and we serve about 15 first graders from the community. Many of them are second language students so we are lucky to have Toni who is fluent in Spanish to greet the parents and talk with them about whatever school problems that they might have. Since we have common first grade homework it is easy for us to work on the homework when children bring it in. We work on spelling words and sight words and have the children practice reading the comprehension passage that they will be tested on at the end of the week.
All of the children can spend some time on either a reading or math computer program. Often the children do not want to leave and a parent will sit down with a child and watch or help him on the computer past the hour tutoring. I have five students from my class who attend regularly. They are not all at-risk students. I am able to individualize what I do with them depending on their needs. I give them extra behavior points the next day for coming. Now other children in the classroom who do not live in the area are asking where the ARC is and how they can get to come!
This really is a labor of love for the teachers at our school. Our first grade colleagues who have young children, family responsibilities or classes, who are not able to volunteer, donate books and activities and more than that - encourage the children from their class to come spend time with us. They are supportive and appreciative of those of us who go to represent our grade level. This is simply a win-win all the way around!