06/20/12 — Tutoring programs aim to help students keep pace with classes

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Tutoring programs aim to help students keep pace with classes

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 20, 2012 1:46 PM

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Chelsea Millard, left, a tutor at Focused Intervention, helps Tamia Bryant with her math skills assignment during summer camp at the center on Royall Avenue. Selena Worrell, owner, was a former educator and also works with the state on providing remediation services at schools in Wayne and surrounding counties as well as after-school and summer tutoring to students in math and reading.

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Ashiya Broadie reads a book as part of the Focused Intervention language arts curriculum.

Selena Worrell believes that with the right encouragement, students can succeed.

Her own career as an educator came about by accident, following cutbacks at the company where she had worked for eight years.

She learned about the lateral entry teaching program, using her background in math to leverage a job at Eastern Wayne High School.

"As I was teaching, I found myself always connecting with the students that would come, wanting to talk," she said.

She taught math at the school for five years, during which time she was prompted to pursue a masters degree in guidance counseling.

Then she learned about a "supplemental services" program through the state Department of Public Instruction, providing tutoring for reading and math in Title I schools.

"I applied, was approved in 2009-10, and started tutoring in schools," she said. "I go into school after school to do that."

That was three years ago, and she has enjoyed the opportunity of working with students in Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson and Durham counties.

Earlier this year, she opened an office in Goldsboro. Focused Intervention, at 1215-A Royall Ave., allows her to work more closely with parents and families.

"I'm in a centralized location where I would be easy to get to," she said. "I can still do both -- I can still go into the school if I can set up an arrangement for that school and they approve it. But if that parent is more comfortable or it's more feasible for them to bring their child here, they can."

In addition to working in the school district, she offers individualized and group tutoring.

She currently has a pool of part-time tutors who work with students. Most of her staff are retired educators from the school system or community college students working toward early childhood degrees.

The summer program is set up like a summer camp, complete with field trips and outside activities, including a garden on the grounds students can cultivate.

But it's the tutoring that is most critical, she says.

"My main focus is on language arts, math and writing," she said. "If you can get those, you're going to survive."

Everything is aligned with the state's standards, and in conjunction with preparing students for the end-of-grade, or EOG, tests.

While she continues to provide services through the state tutoring program offered to schools, free to parents, her staff also does private tutoring for a fee. She said she is also in the process of developing a non-profit program and is applying for state and federal grants to assist families unable to afford such services.

Now that schools have dismissed for the summer months, she is seeing more response to the program as parents choose to use the down time away from the classroom to ensure their child keeps pace.

"Many are recognizing that their kids need help," she said. "A lot of them had trouble with the EOGs and parents want to go ahead and get them prepared for the next-year grade level."

Some are enrolling their child for a week or longer in the summer program, Mrs. Worrell said.

Tutoring, available for grades K-12, is done individually and in groups.

"We meet together first thing in the morning, they're separated into grade-level groups," she explained.

The main emphasis is on reading and math, focal areas on the end-of-grade tests.

For more information on the tutoring program, call (919) 288-1405 or e-mail admin@focusedintervention.com.