LYNN-The Lynn Public Schools are collaborating with Serving People In Need to provide elementary-aged students who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness with an evening tutoring program.
The program, which began with programs last summer and into the 2009-10 school year, is funded by the McKinney Vento Act and supplemental Title I funding. This provides the program with teacher salaries, curriculum materials and durable equipment such as tables, chairs and a file cabinet.
The School Department is able to use the SPIN Family Center free of charge, allowing the students to be tutored while many of their parents partake in English as a Second Language, GED, and budgeting and financing classes. Approximately 30 children in grades one through five are currently enrolled for the summer.
“The program provides the students with extra assistance using the Lynn Public Schools standard curriculum in English Language Arts and math,” Lynn Schools’ homeless liaison nurse Jennifer Spina said. “The grant enables us to provide our homeless students or those at risk with extra services to meet their educational goals and needs.”
Children learn from a well-rounded group of four LPS teachers who are all certified in elementary education. There is also a teacher who is bilingual certified and another who is certified in special education.
“They all have their own specialties, which has helped the children enormously,” Spina said. “Our group is very well rounded. It’s very diverse and represents Lynn. It looks like any school you would walk into in Lynn.”
She also said students learn how to socialize with each other during snack time, where they use courtesy and manners while they talk and learn more about one another. Student Assignment Manager Elizabeth Bozarjian said she thinks it is beneficial not only for the students but for the teachers as well.
“Some of the teachers have never worked with different schools and now, working with this program, they see children from all over the school system,” Bozarjian said. “They are really happy and grateful that they have the experience.”
She also said parents often get a bad rap for not being involved enough in their children’s education but it couldn’t be more untrue for many of the students the program services. Spina said parents are “extremely busy and having to work,” but they are still trying to see how they can better work with their kids.
“We have seen so much support from the parents with dropping off, picking up and actually staying, watching and seeing how the teachers interact with the children,” she said. “Not only does (the program) meet their educational needs, but it has assisted them with more academic structure for their children. Parents are able to see and model. I have seen people stay to see what teachers are doing or listen off to the side and that’s been a great piece of the program.”
Spina said she and Bozarjian are hoping to incorporate parent involvement and education about how to help their children more formally into next year’s program. They anticipate more than 50 students will participate during the 2010-2011 school year and are planning on using data provided by the schools to determine how much the children are improving in their studies.
“The main thing is continuing trying to cover more and double the enrollment that we have today because it is beneficial for the whole school system,” Bozarjian said. “The more they support the kids the better they will do in the classroom setting in behavior and academics.”