A One-to-One Relationship is Helping Dominic Get Back to Grade Level
By Eric Steckel | December 7, 2018
“When they feel safe, and that you’re on their side, they’ll take a risk in learning.” – Leslie Carey, Path2Math Tutor
Dominic is an enthusiastic, confident second-grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Oakland. However, like so many of his classmates, Dominic is substantially below grade level in math and reading.
“This has affected his ability to do and complete math and math word problems,” said Ms. Trosper, Dominic’s teacher. “Although he is stronger working with numbers, he has a hard time catching up in math due to the fact there are more word-heavy problems and equations he needs to solve.”
Second grade is a crucial year for Dominic. “It is a fun year to teach because we don’t have standardized testing and we can catch students up with their reading and math skills that they might not have through first grade or kindergarten,” Ms. Trosper continued. “A lot of things are at stake for Dominic next year because 3rd grade begins standardized testing, and these scores will follow him throughout his academic career.”
With the launch of our all-new Path2Math program in many of the same schools where we have our Succeeding by Reading clinics, Dominic has a unique opportunity to develop both his math and reading skills and get back to grade level. He will receive individualized instruction in both subjects from the same tutor, Miss Leslie.
“I just wanted to connect more with kids in a school community,” Leslie explained. “I’m distressed by the inequality in our country, and even within the city of Oakland. I think that education is part of addressing that problem.” Leslie, who started as a reading tutor last year, believes in the power of one-on-one relationships with struggling children. “I think it’s really going to be very fun because I get to see Dominic twice a week and I will be able to build a stronger relationship with him. When they feel safe, and that you’re on their side, they’ll take a risk in learning.”
“I love that he has built up his confidence so that he can participate in class and really provide his insight and be very social.” – Aasha Trosper, 2nd-grade teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
The goal is to help Dominic reach grade-level by the end of the school year. “I’ve been trying to bring reading into the ‘Math Club’ (as the students call it), so when we do the math club rules, the last time we had him read the rules aloud at the beginning. That was really nice, to just help him see the connections between things.”
At the end of a recent Path2Math session, the Math Club played shop. Dominic was given the chance to run the cash register, receiving “cash” payments from his classmates and giving back the correct change. “The Math Club is super awesome because we get to count money and use the cash register,” he boasts. But Leslie also makes him feel smarter, “Because she helps me. When I don’t know what I’m doing, she helps me.”
Early indications show that Dominic is prepared to put in the hard work. “One thing I love about him is that he’s really enthusiastic,” Leslie observed. “He’s always the first one with his hands up, trying to answer the problems. He’s eager to try the next thing.” Ms. Trosper agrees. “I love that he has built up his confidence so that he can participate in class and really provide his insight and be very social.”
There’s nothing like a supportive friend to give a struggling child a boost of confidence to get back to grade level. That’s the power of a one-to-one relationship.