Category Archives: Tutoring At-Risk Students

Tutoring At-Risk Students to Help Them Get Back on Track

Tutoring can keep at-risk students in school and on track academically.

Everyone agrees that education is important. Even the most disillusioned youth will admit somewhere deep down that dropping out of school is, in regards to their future, a bad thing. However, it can be incredibly difficult for youth when there are extra-curricula, and sometimes unavoidable, factors inhibiting their studying.

In the modern educational environment, students who are in danger of falling out of the school system are known as ‘at-risk students’. But what exactly does this mean and what help is available? Individually tutoring at risk-students is widely accepted as an efficient way of ensuring those disadvantaged students don’t fall behind.

When is a Student At-Risk?

Being ‘at-risk’ is when, due to a wide range of potential factors, a student is deemed likely to drop-out of school.

According to education experts, there are several factors which might indicate a particular student is at-risk:

  • Having a disability (or more than one)
  • Being held back a year
  • Speaking English poorly
  • Living with only one or neither parent
  • Living at or below poverty
  • Having one or both parents who are unemployed

Of course, just because one of the above factors may be applicable to an individual does not mean that student is struggling at school. It simply means that the student may be facing challenges that other students are not.

One of the most accepted solutions is tutoring for at-risk students.

What Does Tutoring Entail?

Tutoring is usually one-on-one interaction between a tutor and student. Tutoring at-risk students in such a manner provides a level of engagement, interaction, and support that is just not available in the classroom.

Better quality educational experiences enable an increased level of learning and can help disadvantaged students bridge the gap to where they should be. It can help them get back on track.

Tutors are able to provide immediate feedback, point out and clarify errors, and thoroughly explain every area being studied. With a tutor, there is no hiding in a classroom and pretending you understand when in reality you do not. Tutoring at-risk students greatly improves their chances of not falling behind or out of the school system all together.

Such one-on-one attention gives the student a huge amount of confidence. It not only increase the child’s understanding but also gives them the confidence in their own learning ability. At-risk students who have been tutored achieve at a faster rate, thereby increasing their chances of academic success and bridging any learning gap that has already developed.

Does it work?

Fager (1996) lists a number of outcomes attributed to tutoring programs in general such as encouraging community relationships, improving self-esteem, building confidence, and increasing achievement. It is clear that tutoring at-risk students will greatly increase their chances of overcoming their disadvantages. Learn more about our tutoring services for at-risk students here.

Tutors for Special Education Students

Both you and your child benefit when you hire a special education tutor. Your child will love you for it!

If your child has disabilities, including physical, emotional, or learning, she probably qualifies for special education services. Unfortunately, classroom education is often not sufficient because teachers typically have students with an array of disabilities in the same classroom. Lessons are often disrupted, making it difficult for special education students to learn. After-school tutoring can help students with disabilities who are struggling in traditional classrooms.

Understanding Learning Differences

Highly qualified tutors are licensed teachers with the experience needed to work with a diverse spectrum of learning differences. Students with ADD/ADHD, and even those with diagnosed emotional disabilities, can benefit from one-on-one interactions with skilled tutors. These tutors also can improve educational outcomes for students with dyslexia as well as those with autism.

Home-Based Tutoring Advantages

In-home tutoring can be especially beneficial for students with disabilities. The tutor meets with the student at your home, at a time that is convenient for both you and the tutor. Being in a familiar setting can keep students focused on their homework assignments. For students with physical disabilities, traveling to and from tutoring facilities can be a hassle, especially if the location is not properly handicapped accessible.

Curriculum Accommodations

If students require changes for the curriculum to be useful, tutors with degrees in special education can make those accommodations. They are familiar with IEPs and can make sure their curriculum aligns to requirements established by the school and parents. You always have the right to ask the tutor about their accommodation plans.

Team Tutoring Opportunities

It is possible that students with specific medical conditions may need a team tutoring approach to meet their education needs. A team approach ensures the student is medically safe during the tutoring session. Although this is most likely if tutoring takes place outside the home, in-home tutoring may need to be designed in a similar fashion.

Finding a tutor that understands the special needs of your child is important. When hiring a tutor, be sure to let him know about your child’s disabilities or medical conditions and ask for the tutor’s special education qualifications. An accurate initial assessment will guarantee your child receives the best academic support from the get-go from a qualified special education tutor.

When Out-Of-School Youth Need to Improve Reading Skills

Without strong reading skills, out-of-school youth will find it difficult to find a good job. Private tutoring can help you improve reading skills and prepare for the GED exam.

Without strong reading skills, out-of-school youth will find it difficult to find a good job. Private tutoring can help you improve reading skills and prepare for the GED exam.

Reading is one of the basic skills that all students need to master, preferably in elementary school. Unfortunately, many students are not afforded that opportunity. Students in foster care, those who are homeless and disadvantaged teens often do not meet standards for reading and comprehension. These skill deficiencies often result in teens dropping out of school, experiencing homelessness, or ending up in prison.  Job opportunities are scare and your ability to make a decent living is limited.

Out-of-school youth who want to read better can now get help. The Workforce Investment Act provides funding that allows youth to receive remedial tutoring in reading. Expert reading tutors can help youth read more proficiently and even prepare the GED exam. In addition to working one-on-one with a private tutor, out-of-school youth can take the following steps to improve reading skills:

#1 Vary Reading Materials – It is important to find material that is interesting. Materials that are similar or too difficult will frustrate or bore you. Reading should be educational and fun, so add crossword puzzles or hobby magazines to your reading list.

#2 Visit the Library – The library offers access to many books and other reading materials without burning a hole in your wallet. You can find books on any subject that interests you. Most libraries participate in inter-lending programs so if your library does not have what you want, ask them to borrow it from a partner library.

#3 Break It Down – Learning to read can be an intimidating process at any age. Break reading passages into smaller, easier chunks that are easier to handle. Read out loud so that you can hear each sound you make when sounding out words. Use a dictionary to look up words you don’t understand.

#4 Choose Relevant Hobby – Reading doesn’t only come from books. Free time activities such as origami or building a car model require reading simple instruction manuals. You not only will find reading helpful but also rewarding when you complete these activities successfully.

#5 Make Time for Reading – Reading fluently takes practice – lots of practice. Set a time for reading an hour every day, even if it is simply reading the daily newspaper. You can spend time online reading your favorite blogs or news site. Whatever avenue you choose, commit to it so your reading skills improve faster.

#6 Be Realistic – Depending on your reading level, it may take quite a bit of time for you to see noticeable improvements in your reading ability and comprehension skills. There is no overnight miracle that will have you reading like an Oxford English professor. It is likely you will mispronounce common words or struggle over funny-looking words. And, that’s okay. Every student has been there at some point!

#7 Test Your Comprehension – You are learning to read now, but eventually you will be reading to learn. Check that you understand what you read by asking yourself questions before, during and after a reading session. Comprehension of a text gives meaning to its words and drives home the importance of reading.

A private tutor can determine your reading level and develop a plan to help you improve your reading skills in a specific period of time. Contact us to begin your reading-improvement journey today!

Tutoring Out-of-School Youth Who Need to Improve Basic Skills

WIA-funded tutoring can help out-of-school youth learn basic skills needed for successful employment.

Older youth who have dropped out of school may be eligible for WIA-funded tutoring. These services must be approved through your local workforce development center. While you may not want to participate in remedial education, it will be required for you to do so if you do not have the necessary basic skills.

Importance of Grade-Level Proficiency

Youth who meet proficiency requirements for their grade level are better prepared to meet needs of employers. In many cases, these demands are pretty straightforward. You need to know how to read instructions, write notes or emails, and even have decent research skills. For most jobs, you need to be able to add, subtract, and calculate percentages without using a calculator. With WIA tutoring, you get tutoring in:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Math
  4. Science
  5. Social studies

Review of these subjects is intended to help prepare you to take and pass the GED exam. One goal of WIA is to help youth get a secondary education degree or certificate. For older youth, that means getting a General Education Development (GED) degree because they are too old to return to high school.

Benefits of Tutoring

Being academically proficient is only part of the story. Youth need to have additional skills to be attractive to prospective employers. These skills are often what make one applicant stand out from the others:

  • Communication skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Time management skills

Youth can learn these skills through intensive tutoring. Tutoring may take place in small groups or on an individual basis. All tutoring services are based on an initial academic assessment and resulting individual learning plan.

Why Tutors Make the Difference

Youth who are not eligible to participate in WIA-funded tutoring are often left to their own devices. It can be challenging for them to find the motivation they need for independent study. Tutors do more than provide academic instruction. They also provide much needed:

  • Social support
  • Encouragement
  • Mentoring
  • Problem-solving guidance

Keep youth on track to meet academic goals is an important role for tutors. Good tutors take this responsibility serious. They want students to succeed. Completion of a WIA tutoring program gets students one step closer to being a successful adult.

Educating Homeless Children Must Be a Priority

Homeless students often need additional academic support to meet grade-level proficiency requirements.

More than one million students are now enrolled in public schools across the country. The most recent data from the 2010-2011 school year shows that number represents a 13% increase over the past year. That is a statistically significant change in only 12 months. Perhaps more importantly, it is the highest it has ever been. Of course, this does not take into account the number of homeless children who are not attending school.

Nearly 90% of all states reported increases with 15 experiencing at least a 20% increase. Unfortunately, there were five states that experienced 35% to 47% increases in the number of homeless students. A report from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that overall, homeless students enrolled in school increased by nearly 60% since the economic recession of 2008. Of course, this varies greatly from one school district to another and from state to state. Michigan is one of the hardest hit states, with a 315% increase in homeless students from 2008 to 2011.

Educational Outcomes

Children who are homeless face various educational obstacles. As a result, they tend to lack basic skills and be several grade levels behind peers. Absenteeism rates are high for these students because they are often dealing with illnesses and moving around from one shelter or location to another. Access to resources such as computers is severely limited. Without proper educational intervention, homeless children are likely to be homelessness as adults, turn to prostitution to earn money for food, or become pregnant at an early age.

How McKinney-Vento Helps

Because of this federal law, schools are required to designate a staff person to be the homeless student liaison. The liaison is responsible for making assessments and referrals to help homeless children stay in school. Tutoring is an important service the law provides for to help homeless students bridge gaps in their education. Schools refer students to appropriate services and pay for tutoring sessions.

Tutoring for Homeless Students

Tutors can meet with students at homeless shelters when a designated room is available. Public libraries and community centers also provide ideal tutoring locations. A tutoring service that specifically works with homeless students can help bring them up to the same academic level as their peers.

It is expected the number of homeless children will continue to grow. Tutoring can provide a safety net for students who are homeless but want a better future. Talk to your school liaison today if you need help achieving your academic goals.

Education Rights of Homeless Students

 

It takes special tutors to help homeless students achieve academically. Students may be dealing with anger and fear while trying to learn.

As the number of homeless youth in this country continues to increase, it is imperative we do our part to make sure they receive services that address their basic needs. In addition to food, clothing, and shelter, all children have the right to a free and decent public education.

Understanding McKinney-Vento

The McKinney-Vento Act guarantees homeless children specific education rights. These rights are intended to make it easier for homeless students to access free educational services through the nearest public school system. The Act states they have the right to:

* Stay in the same school regardless of where they live

* Transportation to get to school

* Enroll in school without required records

* Appeal school or district decisions that affect them

By eliminating as many barriers as possible, it should be relatively simple for homeless students to attend school and participate in activities. Of course, that is only true in theory.

In Addition to Rights

Having the right to do something does not mean it is actually possible to do. For this reason, McKinney-Vento provides additional resources to schools so they can help homeless students take advantage of their educational rights. Each school with homeless students enrolled is required to have a liaison that works to identify community resources to help them. One such resource is qualified tutoring services with a track record of successfully improving educational outcomes of homeless students.

Accessing Educational Resources

Matching homeless students to the right tutor is critical. The tutor needs to be compassionate and understanding. It is not uncommon for homeless students to have poor social skills and act out negatively to express their anger and fear over their situation. For many students, their tutor provides a sense of security that is much needed. Because of the risks inherent in their living situation, homeless students are frequently victims of violence and develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can make individual tutoring challenging. Students may feel safer in a small group setting.

Tutoring homeless students requires more than academic knowledge. Tutors need to know how to interact with students who move frequently or possibly live in an abandoned building. Student priorities generally will not be the same as tutor priorities. However, with consistent encouragement, tutors can make a positive difference in the lives of homeless students.

Tutoring for At-Risk Students: What to Expect

Specialized tutoring for at-risk students can help them improve academically while preventing them from dropping out of school.

Various factors determine if a particular student is “at-risk” for academic failure or even dropping out of school. For students who are attending school regularly but continue to struggle academically, tutoring can provide much needed help and support. Tutors help students with homework assignments, suggest ways to improve study skills and organization, and give students a boost in confidence.

Determining Need for a Tutor

Sometimes it is the student’s teacher or guidance counselor that recognizes he might benefit from extra help. At other times, it is the parent who needs other options to engage or motivate their child to do homework or study for tests. Consider the following questions when trying to determine if your child might need tutoring:

  • Does your child have a learning disability or experience emotional problems that interfere with his school days?
  • Does your child talk about dropping out of school?
  • Does your child struggle in a particular subject area or with a specific type of homework assignment?
  • Does your child find it difficult to study for tests?
  • Does your child completing projects on time?
  • Does your child seem anxious about homework assignments or upcoming tests?
  • Does your child constantly fight with me about doing homework or studying?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you might want to consider hiring a private tutor for your child.

Choosing the Best Type of Tutoring

Depending on your child’s needs and your schedule, there are several options available to you. Private tutoring is convenient because the tutor can meet with your child at your home or a public place such as a public library or community center. If your child is not comfortable with one-on-one tutoring, online tutoring may prove beneficial. He receives the same quality of tutoring but in the comfort of his own room. Some students do better in a small group setting where they receive instruction along with other students in the same age group or grade level.

Finding the Right Tutor

The tutor you hire should be able to address the issues you and your child are dealing with otherwise she will not be effective as a change agent. If your child has diagnosed learning disabilities, you should only consider tutors who have helped similar students achieve academic success. This is not the time to give a “nice” tutor the chance to help your child. There are professional agencies like Educational Tutorial Services with the expertise to effectively tutor at-risk students.

With help, it is possible to get your at-risk child back on the right academic track. A great tutor provides encouragement and fosters self-confidence in students. Learn more about tutoring opportunities available to you and your child today!

Helping At-Risk Students Meet Standards and Achieve Academic Goals

Private tutoring can give at-risk students the confidence they need to succeed.

Expert tutoring services rely on research-based best practices to help low performing and at-risk students succeed in school. Effective instructional strategies are required for tutors who may only meet with students a few hours each week. Low-achieving students can easily bridge learning gaps and become motivated to do well in school. It just takes the right tutor to help make classroom lessons relevant and boost student confidence.

Short-Term Impact

The fastest way to determine if a tutor or tutoring service is being effective is to review student academic achievement and test scores. The primary goal of tutoring is to improve educational outcomes so at-risk students do not fail in school or later in life. When you use a tutoring service like Educational Tutorial Services, your student will be required to complete a pre-assessment and post-assessment to accurately measure their improvement. Our tutors also provide students with additional resources they can continue to use for on-going academic growth after the tutoring ends.

Long-Term Effects

In addition to the immediate benefits students receive from tutoring, there are long-term outcomes that impact students, parents, and the community. Long-term benefits that result from tutoring at-risk students include:

  • Students become motivated to succeed
  • Students are proud of academic achievements
  • Students stay in school until graduation
  • Students who have dropped out of school earn their GED
  • Students successfully transition to adulthood
  • Students become productive and contributing members of society

These very real benefits of tutoring have been well documented in various research studies over the past two decades. Even if your child has severe learning disabilities, intensive private tutoring can provide the one-on-one attention she needs to succeed in the classroom and in the real world.

Getting Started

The academic success of at-risk students depends on the adults in her life. A good tutoring service can match your child to the tutor that will be most effective in helping her meet academic content standards and achieve academic goals. It makes sense to let the tutoring service perform this function since it requires expertise to recruit, hire, and monitor qualified tutors. You risk your child’s academic future if you try to assume this responsibility yourself.

Incorporating Technology into Tutoring for Special Education Students

Assistive technology, when incorporated with online tutoring, can help students with special education needs meet academic goals..

What has long been an established item in mainstream classrooms – the use of technology in teaching – is gradually seeping into special education tutoring at home, too. The long held view that students with special needs would not be able to cope with online tutoring or using online learning aids has thankfully been proven wrong.

Technology can benefit a whole range of students, irrespective of their abilities, disorders or challenging behavior. Used imaginatively, parents, tutors and students can make technology work for them very effectively.

From strengthen awareness to simple life skills – make technology work for you

At the PACER Center and at FCTD (Family Center on Technology and Disability), students and parents can share for free in a fully-captioned assistive technology awareness series of videos, aptly named AT in Action. The videos are designed to improve awareness of assistive technology devices that can support students with disabilities, helping them to thrive at their own pace in their special education tutoring programs at home, at school and in their communities.

There is information on technology devices that help younger children with communication, learning and mobility issues and details on clever devices that enable students with fine motor and learning disabilities to use computer tablets as part of their Individualized Education Program (IEP). FCTD provides a free fact sheet for parents (in English and Spanish).

FCTD and Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIC) across the country offer information on assistive and instrumental technology resources for children with special needs or disabilities.

Incorporating Technology into Focused Learning Stations at Home

Parents whose children receive special education tutoring at home should discuss with their tutor and their child how technology – assistive or mainstream – can be built into their mini work environments or work stations. Simple tablets for example make use of a child’s natural curiosity to explore, to touch, play and to delight in bright colors.

It is important to encourage children with special needs to develop a love of learning and education. Allowing children to have  input in the design of their workstations will give them this and a sense of achievement but will also permit them to work at their own pace and level, once their workstation is fully set up.

These can be workstations that meet specific sensory needs in younger children or mini-environments designed for special education tutoring of older students who want to learn and socially interact with other students via the internet as part of their home study program.

Examples of Workstations

Learning through play is very much part of tutoring for special education students and for younger children this means their workstation could include toys and dolls’ clothes to encourage dressing up skills and imagination but also teach life skills such as tidying up after play.

Workstations can also be geared towards specific subjects such as math, using small and larger blocks or different size balls or boxes. Using scales or other forms of measurements, parents and home tutors can encourage exploration of shapes, sizes and weights, while teaching how to count, how to subtract, divide or add at the same time.

Special Education Tutoring within the Context of the IEP

Intensive in-home tutoring to students with special education needs is coordinated with the student's IEP.

Although Educational Tutorial Services offers nationwide private tutoring and test-prep tutoring to students of all ages, we are perhaps best known for our special education tutoring programs for at-risk students within the foster care system.

Having Somebody Speak Up For You

When families with special needs children first hear the diagnosis of their child’s disorder or disability, it can be numbing, devastating and deeply upsetting. Many parents ask “Where do we go from here?” It is common to turn to advocates like us to help guide you through the tutoring process.

Having one-on-one special education tutoring is important and can turn a child’s life around – since the in-home tutor will be far better able to recognize an individual child’s needs. For example if a student’s learning has improved and their development requires the IEP to be adapted to incorporate this, the monthly progress report will alert the school and caregivers to this.

Taking a Personalized Approach

Students are far more likely to improve and succeed in their learning if they feel secure, happy and their individual needs are met. We recognize this and tailor our teaching approach accordingly. Our tutors are very compassionate and have experience working with all learning abilities.

There are pre- and post assessments and monthly progress reports which are sent to carers, parents, teachers at the student’s school and to school administrators, but there are also the skills tutors have acquired by working with foster children and at-risk students – they are trained not just as special education tutoring providers but to recognize a child’s development needs as professionals within the context of foster care.

Often tutors come from the same community as their students and, therefore, have good insight into the concerns of foster parents and other caregivers as well as the challenges families face every day.  Because many of our tutors are certified in special education, we are uniquely qualified to provide special education tutoring. Learn more about our special education programs.