MAILED: July 20, 2000
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Human Development Center recently received a renewal of grant monies from the Dayton's Community Giving Program for the funding of a tutor/mentoring program designed to serve at-risk and disadvantaged students in the Eau Claire Public Schools.
The grant will provide $3,000 in funding for the tutor/mentoring program this year. Funds will be used to continue tutoring and mentorship programs established at Lincoln and Lakeshore elementary schools throughout the upcoming academic year.
Sixteen university students will serve as tutors and mentors to approximately 30 students in first through third grades at each of the two schools, said Dr. William Frankenberger, director of the Human Development Center and grant coordinator. The tutors are all students who are involved with the Human Development Center as psychology, education, special education, communication disorders and nursing or social work majors. Throughout the school year, the tutors go to the elementary schools twice a week and work with the children for an hour immediately following their school day.
The program provides the elementary school students with training in academic and social skills, according to Frankenberger. Each session begins with a snack time when students and tutors interact socially. The students also take part in activities that are planned by the tutors and the elementary school teachers.
The two schools chosen as sites for the program were selected for several reasons, according to Frankenberger. "Lakeshore and Lincoln serve large populations of low-income students in the district, and both have fairly high minority student populations as well," he said. The proximity of the schools to the university also was a factor, he added.
This fall marks the beginning of the tutoring program's sixth year. Frankenberger said he worked with Lakeshore principal Mary Seitz in the initial development of the program in 1995. "We wanted to create a collaboration between the university and the public schools that would be mutually beneficial," he said
Frankenberger said the program has been successful over the past five years. It has had a positive impact on the students served as well as on their teachers, parents and the UW-Eau Claire tutor/mentors, he said. Teachers have reported gains in academic achievement by their students along with increased confidence, responsibility and motivation as a result of the tutoring program. Tutor/mentors have gained valuable experiences working with the children, and some have even been inspired to change career paths as a result, Frankenberger said.
The tutor/mentoring program has received support from the elementary school principals involved as well. "This program has filled a strong void in our past programming," Lincoln principal Heather Grant said "We have been extremely fortunate to have this program in place at our school."
In a letter of support, Seitz said of the program at Lakeshore, "The tutoring program has become firmly embedded in our structure. It is a program which is highly regarded by our staff, the children and the parents of our students."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 24, 2000