Childrens after school achievement program

Educator Name: Fonda Green
School Name: Hope College

CASA (Children's After School Achievement) is a community program of Hope College. Its purpose is to help build academic and social competence in at risk elementary school children by providing free one-on-one after school tutoring and enrichment and individualized summer classes. In the school year, students attend one and one-half hour sessions twice a week. During this time, the child meets one-on-one with the same tutor and works on homework completion, reading, and enrichment activities. The program CASA is proposing is a more focused enrichment time during which tutors will instruct their students in specific life skills lessons. The topics will include cultural identity, respect, goal setting, and motivation, as well as several other topics that will be rotated on a two-to-three year basis. Each lesson will be covered for three weeks, allowing the tutor to guide the student's learning by using different activities and materials. All new topics will be introduced in a large group setting, incorporating creative input from tutors, Hope College faculty, and community resource people. Detailed lesson plans and all resource material will be given to each tutor, along with appropriate training and supervision.

CASA students struggle with school and most often fall behind their cohorts in learning achievement. By collaborating with each school that refers students to CASA, each child's academic and personal challenges are addressed. Through this new life skills project, students also will work on the broader picture of being life-long learners who approach every learning opportunity with personal skills that equip them to succeed. As Susan Kovalik puts it, "The everyday application of Lifeskills creates a powerful bodybrain-compatible learning environment and provides a firm foundation for character education and the building of citizenship."(in "Tools for Citizenship and Life," Pearson 2010). That learning environment includes the classroom setting where children can practice positive behaviors and values that move them to a higher level of achievement.

Outcomes will be measured by:
  1. Using the Daily Tutor Report to indicate days and topics of life skills studied.
  2. Asking for student and tutor reaction to the project in the Tutor Journal and semester evaluation forms.
  3. Providing opportunity for participants to give additional input through informal conversations.