Monthly Archives: July 2013

Meet our award-winning tutors

Partnership Cert_group

Innovations for Learning has recognized eight organizations for their outstanding support of the TutorMate program.

And it has singled out two tutors for particular recognition:  Tracie Zettler of General Motors as “most dedicated” and Julia Martin of Weyerhaeuser as “most inspirational.”

The annual awards were sent to the recipients on Tuesday.

IFL picked one outstanding organization in each of the cities in which TutorMate operates.

They are:

Miami – Veterans Hospital
Oakland – Farella Braun + Martel
Seattle – Weyerhaeuser
Detroit – Comerica Bank
District of Columbia – Booz Allen Hamilton
New York City – JP Morgan Chase
Chicago – CBRE (CB Richard Ellis)

Tracie Zettler was named “most dedicated” because she tutored twice a week after realizing that her student needed more help. (The standard requirement is to tutor once a week for 30 minutes.) If Zettler ever called and didn’t get an answer, she made sure to reschedule and call back until she got through.

Julia Martin was named “most inspirational” because “the level of detail in Julia’s tutoring feedback each week was amazing,” said Cary Zakon, national director for TutorMate operations.

“Reading them, it was so clear how much she cared about her student and also how much fun she was having with him. It was also clear that she was writing for the teacher’s benefit, too, and sometimes even included a message for her student there.”

The winning organizations were recognized for the following criteria:

  • Outstanding and engaged support from our coordinators
  • Meeting and exceeding tutor recruitment goals
  • High participation rates in the end-of-year tutor/student meet-ups
  • High levels of tutor persistence and dedication
  • Notable atmosphere of collaboration within your tutoring team(s)

In reply, we’ve heard from some grateful and enthusiastic recipients:

Tracie Zettler, General Motors, Detroit, “Most Dedicated”: “I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed tutoring this year. I was terribly disappointed that I could not be at the ‘meet your student’ day but I received a card that my student (Daniel) made me and it brought tears to my eyes and a huge smile to my face. This was such a rewarding experience; knowing that I made a difference in this little boy’s life means so much to me.

“I was so shocked by my award today! When it came up on the screen, my eyes were as big as lunch plates! Thank you so much for that; I am going to print it and hang it in my cube next to the newspaper article of Daniel and I tutoring.” 

Julia Martin, Weyerhaeuser, Seattle, “Most Inspirational”: “I’m very honored. And I was very fortunate in my assignment. The kids were highly engaged and the teacher (Cate Simmers with Arbor Heights) highly supportive. AND I didn’t have to deal with ‘yellers’ in the background at all which made my job really, really easy!!

“I’m really looking forward to next year!! (2013-14 that is!!)”

Joan Ai, Employee Engagement & Volunteerism, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “Thanks Cary, for your kind message and the award.  The recognition is not necessary as we are glad that we were able to participate in such a meaningful program to benefit the children in your program.”

Stephanie Beck, Human Resources Manager, CBRE:  “Again, thank you.  We all loved the experience with the kids.  Thank you so much for the recognition.

Lori Hulvey, Asset Quality Review, Comerica:  “Thank you so much, Cary … this is so exciting!! Can’t wait to display this in the office.

Karen VeitenhansManager, Community Investment & Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund:  “Hi Cary.  I just wanted to weigh in and thank you …  This is a such an innovative idea and great opportunity for our employes to have a significant impact on student achievement.  We’ve been pleased with the positive feedback our employees have provided, and look forward to growing this effort.  Thank you again for approaching Weyerhaeuser and providing us with the opportunity to engage our employees!”

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“Long-overdue technological revolution” under way in education: The Economist

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A revolution is under way:

At its heart is the idea of moving from “one-size-fits-all” education to a more personalised approach, with technology allowing each child to be taught at a different speed, in some cases by adaptive computer programs, in others by “superstar” lecturers of one sort or another, while the job of classroom teachers moves from orator to coach: giving individual attention to children identified by the gizmos as needing targeted help.

In theory the classroom will be “flipped”, so that more basic information is supplied at home via screens, while class time is spent embedding, refining and testing that knowledge (in the same way that homework does now, but more effectively).

The promise is of better teaching for millions of children at lower cost—but only if politicians and teachers embrace it.

So says The Economist in its current issue.

The British-based news weekly takes a global look at what its headline writer calls “e-ducation.” What it finds is mostly hopeful. (“Used properly, edtech offers both the struggling and the brilliant a route to higher achievement. The point is to maximise the potential of every child.”)

But it also notes that “edtech will boost inequality in the short term, because it will be taken up most enthusiastically by richer schools, especially private ones, while underfunded state schools may struggle to find the money to buy technology that would help poorer students catch up.”

[That passage underscores the importance of  Innovations for Learning’s mission: We work in America’s largest urban — read “cash-strapped” — school districts as a nonprofit seeking to make tech-based education in the primary grades as available as possible.]

It’s an excellent overview, showing the impact of a phenomenon that has started in America and spreading across the world. It’s well worth your time.  Here’s the full version.

Illustration: The Economist

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