An after-school tutoring program that produced promising results for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at Patrick Henry Elementary School last year will start again next month and will include first- and second-graders.
The program, called "On-a-Roll," is divided into a reading lab and a computer lab that meets two afternoons a week for 75-minute sessions.
This year, the program has expanded to include 36 students from first and second grade in addition to the 60 students in third through sixth grade.
Teachers and volunteer tutors from Cameron Station Army Depot and the Defense Logistics Agency, the school's adopt-a-school partners, assist students with their reading and math homework.
Aimed at bringing students' standardized test scores up to national averages, the sessions are held from November to April, just before annual standardized tests are given.
All the students selected for the program last year scored below the national average in reading or math on the standardized tests taken in 1989 or had received D's or F's on their report cards. Results from last spring's tests were positive, and teachers associated with the program link the after-school tutoring to higher test scores.
Twenty-five of the 63 students who participated in the program scored above the 50th percentile on the reading test, and 17 achieved that level in math.
Of those students, report cards show that 59 percent of them improved one letter grade in reading or math, 10 percent improved two letter grades in reading and 8 percent improved two letter grades in math. Ten percent improved one letter grade in both reading and math.
Sixth-grader Corey Williams was one student who raised his grade dramatically. "I started at a D and now I'm at a B," he said. "Before I started after school, I hardly understood what I was doing, but since, they've helped me learn better. And at the end I got a big plaque. It's on the living room table to show everyone."
"What we want to do is raise their test scores, and last year we were able to do that," said Lucretia Jackson, a fifth-grade teacher at Patrick Henry and a coordinator of the program. "I feel that we have such an enthusiastic staff that the students don't feel intimidated. They enjoy the extra support and individual attention."
Added Principal Leila Engman, "These children were not motivated. In the past, we had tutoring sessions that didn't work. We would lose the kids who'd rather go to the recreation center instead. Now, they like coming here. They enjoy working on the computers."
Engman said expanding the program to include first- and second-graders will be beneficial. "The tutoring will just continue to reinforce these skills in them," she said.
"The thing I like the best about it is that it's quiet and we get help," said sixth-grader Quinlin Lindsey, who received a certificate for raising his grade in math. "Before, I couldn't keep up in class. Now I'm doing much better."