Tutoring programs for some students under-used – QNS.com

Tutoring programs for some students under-used

The school year is ending, but some education issues remain.
In the city’s public schools, tutoring programs for low-income students are under-enrolled, according to a report released on May 14 by the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The report revealed that during the 2005-2006 school year, the most recent year for which the office has done analysis, only 36 percent of eligible students participated in these tutoring programs, also known as Supplemental Educational Services (SES).
This school year, the average citywide participation is 38 percent, while in Queens it’s only 32.5, said Andrew Jacob, spokesperson for The Department of Education.
Offered after school or on weekends by about 300 city schools, the SES programs help students in math, English and other subjects.
The programs are a requirement of The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which the federal government passed in 2001 to boost student performance.
Under this act, any school receiving NCLB funds has to meet academic goals set by the education department of its state. If a school fails to do that for three consecutive years, it has to provide its low-income students with SES programs.
Since these programs offer not only remediation but also enrichment, even well-performing students are eligible for them, explained Jacob.
SES programs are not mandatory, so it’s up to parents to sign up their children.
Ozone Park’s Middle School 210, at 93-11 101st Avenue, is one of 37 schools in Queens that have SES programs. According to the comptroller’s report, the enrollment at M.S. 210 was 4.3 percent in the 2005-2006 school year, when the school’s SES programs started.
This academic year the enrollment remains low, said principal Rosalyn Allman-Manning. She said she cannot provide exact figures.
Twice a week, M.S. 210 offers SES programs after school in math and literacy for all grades, said Allman-Manning.
The school informs the families of eligible students about SES availability through sessions, flyers, letters, and phone calls, among other things, explained Allman-Manning. “A lot of communication goes out on our end to eligible parents,” she said.
Allman-Manning attributes the low enrollment mostly to the fact that this year her school’s SES program didn’t start until November, when the State Education Department approved the vendors tutoring her students.
However, the students who sign up learn a lot, Allman-Manning said. “The children that come faithfully and religiously and they do their work,” she said.
The after-school program at M.S. 210, which helps struggling students with math and literacy, to an extent makes up for the low SES participation, Allman-Manning said. In the spring, the after-school program also helps eighth-graders with science and social studies because they take a state exam in these subjects, she added.
If a student doesn’t attend SES classes, chances are that he or she attends the after-school program, Allman-Manning said. She said she was unable to provide figures though.
Unlike M.S. 210, Long Island City’s Intermediate School 235, on 30-14 30th Street, had 93.7 percent enrollment in 2005-2006, according to the report. The number remains high, said principal Carmen Rivera.
Known as The Academy for New Americans, the school educates newly-arrived immigrants with little or no knowledge of English.
I.S. 235 officials attribute the high enrollment of their five-year-old program to good promotion as well as to a high degree of parent and student responsiveness.
The Academy for New Americans holds information sessions with the tutoring vendors, spreads flyers and assists parents with the application process, said Rivera.
The parents respond to these outreach efforts instead of taking them for granted, said parent coordinator Carmen Santiago, who’s part of the outreach effort.
“The parent has likely been struggling to bring the kid here. Anything I offer is greatly appreciated; the simplest thing is so big in this school,” Santiago explained.
The same goes for the students, she added. “They feel that they have been given a great opportunity. It’s the anxiety and wanting to be Americanized,” Santiago said.
If a school does not have high participation, it can follow the report’s recommendations.
They suggest that schools contact eligible parents way before the beginning of the school year and post program notices in less traditional places such as supermarkets and cafes.
The report also advises schools to develop a system for evaluating their SES promotion.
The SES programs started in the 2002-2003 school year.
The federal government paid $76.6 million for the program in the 2005-2006 academic year, according to the report

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