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HCC link helps middle-schoolers

College students helping tutor youths through partnership program

College students helping tutor youths through partnership program

November 24, 2008|By JANET HEIM

Dillon Rowe thinks it's "cool" to be tutored by Hagerstown Community College student Kimberly Gehr.

"She didn't give me the answers. There was somebody there to give information on how to do it better," Dillon said of math help he recently received from Gehr.

Dillon, an eighth-grader at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, is one of many students at the school who benefit from the volunteer efforts of HCC students.

"I just want to do my best and get good grades," Dillon said.

The partnership began last year as an after-school tutoring program, with about 15 HCC students volunteering their time. This National Network Partnership of Schools project was the idea of Hicks seventh-grade teacher Mark Lysiak and was coordinated by Jeannine Stonestreet, assistant professor of psychology and education at HCC, and Bruce Buhrman, media specialist/magnet coordinator at E. Russell Hicks.

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Students in Stonestreet's Introduction to Education or Introduction to Special Education classes are invited to participate in the voluntary program. She said her students have benefited from the hands-on teaching experience as much as the middle-school students.

"I just think it's been so rewarding for my students. They're working with students who are struggling," Stonestreet said.

This year, with the blessing of Principal Duane McNairn and as a way to expand the program, the 30 college students have been providing tutoring during the school day on a regular basis, as their schedules permit.

Lysiak, NNPS coordinator at Hicks, has prepared a schedule in one-hour increments and said he has HCC students helping teachers as needed in every subject, every day. The program began in mid-October.

The HCC students receive extra credit from Stonestreet, as well as a letter from McNairn and a certificate from E. Russell Hicks in recognition for their efforts.

Tutor Jessica Tapley has yet to choose a major, but is "leaning toward education." The program offers her a chance to help younger students, while gaining insight into a possible career path.

She looks forward to working with the same students every week so they can get familiar with her.

"I like the fact that I'm helping them. I hope they understand when I'm helping them. It's a good feeling," said Gehr, a 2006 Clear Spring High School graduate who plans to transfer to Frostburg next year.

Lysiak is pleased with the way the program has grown in such a short time.

"The program has really blossomed and people are noticing the partnership that we formed with HCC. Without Mrs. Stonestreet and her hard work, we would never have had the opportunity for this program," wrote Lysiak in an e-mail.

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