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The City Journals

Elementary tutoring program benefits both CCHS, Willow Springs students

Oct 28, 2016 09:05AM ● By Julie Slama

A Corner Canyon High School tutor helps teach Willow Springs kindergartners in a small group, allowing more individual attention for students. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Draper, Utah - For every class period of the elementary tutoring elective, sophomore Ryan Sheppard rides with a friend, who also signed up for the Corner Canyon High School (CCHS) class to tutor Willow Springs Elementary students.

“One reason I signed up for the class is that I used to go here (Willow Springs) and know how I used to act, so I wanted to come back to help them learn,” Ryan said. “I feel that sometimes we connect and have a bond so the kids respond to us better, like we’re making learning fun.”

That is part of the reason Willow Springs Elementary Principal Marianne Yule developed the program four years ago as then an intern assistant principal at both schools.

“I saw the Latinos in Action model and thought we could use that to help our students at Willow Springs receive more small group and individual attention,” she said, adding that she also was a tutor with her own educational experience. “At the same time, it could give the high school students a leadership experience as well as a career path to explore.”

After the first year, the popularity of the Corner Canyon elective has grown, with four sections of the service-learning class being offered (15 students per class), CCHS Assistant Principal Marsha Morgan said. 

“We screen the students for such things as attendance and behavioral issues because these students are being role models to the younger students,” she said. “They develop a special connection.”

Yule added, “The high schoolers are rock stars. Teenagers mean so much to these kids.”

After checking in with the Willow Springs office — attendance is required for their pass/fail grades — Corner Canyon students report to the teacher to whom they are assigned. 

“The teacher will have the tutor’s assignments whether it’s to take a small group to work on a particular subject like math or maybe it would be to read with a child one-on-one,” Morgan said.

Yule said tutors may also sit next to a student who needs extra help during the class to make sure concepts are being understood. Throughout the tutoring time, teachers say it helps so they can continue to give individual or small group attention to others in the class.

“I love having three tutors to help throughout the day,” second-grade teacher Jessica Maughan said. “They sit and read with them one-on-one or if students need help focusing, they’re able to break it down to those students. Some tutors give alternative approaches to learning the material as they’ve worked with younger siblings at home or helped coach them and our students respond to them.”

Second-grader Jack West said he likes to read to the tutors.

“They make sure we get the words right,” he said. “It’s like we’re reading to a friend and it’s fun.”

Second-grade tutor Lexi Peterson said this is her second year tutoring.

“I had fun last year and learned I loved to work with kids, so I signed up again to help teach,” she said.

Senior Mallory Beckstrom also tutored last year and is helping in a kindergarten classroom.

“I want to be an elementary teacher, so I’ve taken from this experience to learn I need to be super patient, but it’s also so much fun,” she said. “I think we’re helping the teacher since it’s hard for her to be everywhere at once.”

Kindergartener Charlie Crittenden said the tutors help them when they are playing educational games.

His classmate, MaKae Carmody, added, “We need lots of help with our letters, our sounds and counting so they help us. I like to paint with them.”

Kindergarten teacher Kelsey Manglinong said she often uses the tutors in her classroom to break students into small group rotations.

“With high school tutors, I’m able to push the kids faster and they learn more in small groups or one-on-one,” she said. “It’s fun to see tutors interact with kids and the kids look up to them.”

Morgan said it helps the students learn how to be trusted figures as well as be responsible and dependable. They also learn skills such as communication, public speaking, strategic learning and become more confident so their self-esteem builds.

Yule said high school tutors also have a chance to be active citizens who serve their community.

“We’ve heard from their parents that they love the chance for their kids to give back and to be role models,” she said.