Tupper Lightfoot tutoring program rises to challenge

Published 6:22 pm Monday, September 21, 2020

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Pike County Commissioner Charlie Harris has made a $500 donation to the tutoring program at Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge.

Theresa Trawick, library director, said Harris’ donation will fund the purchase of a computer tablet to be used at a time when the pandemic has necessitated elementary students take online classes and the social distancing of each student and tutor to different rooms of the library.

“The library is adjusting to a new normal,” Trawick said. “The new tutoring year began with the buses not delivering students to the library’s doorsteps. Parents need to call ahead and bring children to the library on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. In order to assist parents and students, the library staff has become familiar with Schoology, PCES’s Online Learning Management System. In the short term, the library will try to assist in any way to help parents and students in getting a great start to the new year.”

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Trawick said parents’ comments about Tupper’s tutoring program prior to COVIC-19 have been very favorable.

“A parent commented that her child’s reading comprehension improved as well as sight word identification,” Trawick said. “The child has expressed her enjoyment of the tutoring sessions.”

Another parent said her child’s DIBELS scores have increased, class participation increased as has his confidence in his abilities.

“One child’s reading increased from 30 words per minute at the beginning of the school year to 96 words and he also made the A-B honor roll,” Trawick said. “Parents have seen steady improvements in their students’ abilities and they attribute the successes to participation in the tutoring program and also to the more positive attitude their children have toward learning.”

Trawick said the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library’s tutoring program began four years ago and was led by Jennifer Amlong, Tupper’s children’s librarian, and Rebecca Brooks, Pike County Elementary School teacher.

“Rebecca saw a huge need and knew parents were struggling to help their children,” Trawick said. “The library was willing help to fill the need with the initiation of a tutoring program.”

Initially, the plan was to enlist the students from the Pike County High School Academies as tutors. However, their schedules didn’t permit.

“With the help of Rebecca, her daughter Abigail, several volunteers and Tupper’s staff, the library’s tutoring program began but without some growing pains, including enlisting tutors for the program.

“Three events provided a strong foundation for our tutoring efforts,” Trawick said. “Ann Dunn, former reading coach at Banks and Cathy Lott, Pike County Elementary School instructional reading coach, met with the library staff and shared expertise and advice.”

LaVentrice Terry set up a meeting with Troy University’s Office of Civic Engagements that resulted in the arrangement for tutors.”

Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County Schools, arranged for students enrolled in the tutoring program to be dropped off at the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“In May 2018, the “most improved” awards at PCES were all presented to students in the tutoring program,” Trawick said. “That was a good indication of the far-reaching benefits of a tutoring program. ‘Tupper’s’ tutoring program is now under the leadership of Garneshia Lampley and she is rising to the challenges of this time of reinvention.”