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Linda Mah
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Mid-Day Tutoring a Hit at Milwood Magnet

New Program Lets Students Get Help During the Day

There are a lot of after-school tutoring programs, but Milwood Magnet School is now offering homework help and drop-in tutoring during the day for students.

The program began in October and is coordinated by Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo.

“We talked to parents and teachers about what students are really having trouble with and it was homework,” said Missy Best, the senior CIS site coordinator at Milwood. “The students say they can’t remember how to do it or they don’t have the supplies to do the work.”

Best said she modeled the program after drop-in tutoring labs at the college level.

One January afternoon, students had stopped by the tutoring and homework lab to work on everything from an essay on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to reading to math homework.

The tutoring runs during the lunch hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It had been offered just two days a week, but students asked CIS to expand the program to three days. It is run by CIS staff such as Shannon Jones, a former math teacher, and volunteers like Dr. Jim Zhu, a Western Michigan University mathematics professor. They work with the students one-on-one or in small groups.

Zhu, who is a WMU liaison to the schools, said he was interested in volunteering in the schools because he wanted to help students and to see what was happening in the educational “pipelines.”

Zhu said he’s happy to help the students work through problems, because from his own experience as a parent, he knows the power of practice when it comes to math.

“It’s not enough to teach concepts. Students have to practice,” Zhu said. “It makes a huge difference. What makes learning math work is the practice.”

Student Arrianna JentinkBriston, a seventh grader, said she often comes for math help, but she also appreciates the space because it’s a nice quiet place to work. She’s used it to finishing missing homework or to work on poems.

“There are different tutors. They actually help and explain things,” she said.

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