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Recruiting volunteers

Rockland Woods holds training session for those interested in tutoring

Rockland Woods holds training session for those interested in tutoring

January 19, 2009|By JANET HEIM

As a new school, the staff and students at Rockland Woods Elementary School have the task of creating a community and developing traditions of their own this first school year.

There is no pool of volunteers on which to fall back as established schools have. To build this valuable resource, the Washington County Board of Education is testing a pilot program at the school.

Sarah Staley was hired as the Volunteer Maryland coordinator, assigned with the task of coordinating volunteer activities at the school, among other things. She has spent her first four months finding volunteers to help in the school.

A training session was recently led by Becky Parody, student achievement specialist at the school, for those interested in tutoring first-graders in reading. Tutoring began Jan. 12.

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Each volunteer was given a weekly schedule by Staley of students' names and times they will be working with them. The students tend to be lower readers "that with a little nudge will fly," Parody said.

She said once the students become familiar with their tutors, the 15-minute sessions will be something students look forward to and might even be the highlight of their day.

"We're here to support you because what you're doing is so beneficial for the children," Parody said.

Each volunteer will have his or her own basket, filled with appropriate reading materials to use and a folder for each student to track what has been accomplished. Tools such as word cards, story booklets that tie in with classroom work, story elements wheels, word sorts and word chains are a few of the ideas suggested by Parody for the volunteers.

"I want to make your job as easy as possible, so you can spend your 15 minutes productively with each child," Parody said.

So far, the volunteers are parents or family members, most of whom have volunteered in their children's previous schools. They have helped their own children with reading and want to help other students.

"I just love helping and I just love kids," said Barbara Morse, grandmother of first-grader Morgan Taylor. Morgan's mother, Tina Taylor, will also be tutoring.

Marlene Powell, mother of third-grader Spencer Powell, said she enjoys watching the students progress throughout the year and "really get it."

For more information on volunteering at Rockland Woods, call Sarah Staley at 301-766-8495.

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