By Rylee Seavers | Staff Writer
Communities in Schools is recruiting Baylor students to work as tutors in local schools. According to Communities in Schools’ website, it is the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization.
Communities in Schools’ goal is to keep children in school, said Courtney Powell, volunteer director. Its mission is to surround students with support which will empower them to complete their education, Powell said. The tutoring program is a part of that mission because is gives students the academic support they need to do well in school.
“The students that we serve are generally an at risk population. Essentially, the students have to meet the state of Texas’s definition of ‘at risk’ to receive our services, and tutoring is one of those services,” Powell said.
Texas has 13 individual criteria that classify a student as ‘at risk,’ including being held back or being expelled. Ninety-nine percent of the students that Communities in Schools serves, stay in school, and 97 percent graduate on time, according to a Communities in Schools report.
Waco has a large population of at-risk students, which was one of the reasons Communities in Schools chose to work in the Waco school district, Powell said. It is vital that those students are surrounded by support Powell said.
Communities in Schools has federal work study positions and volunteer tutoring positions available. Work study tutors focus on math and reading, and volunteer tutors can choose any subject.
“Especially if you’re an education major. It’s really great experience in the classroom, one on one, working with kids,” Powell said.
Tutors make their own schedule according to their classes, said Wichita Falls senior and Communities in Schools tutoring manager, Ethan Talley. Talley works with high school students and primarily focuses on math.
“It never crossed my mind that I wasn’t gonna go to college. A lot of these kids may not even consider it,” Talley said.
Talley also said that being around college students exposes younger students to the idea of going to college themselves. He said the main goal of the program is to get students into some type of higher education.
El Paso senior Samantha Fernandez has been a Communities in Schools tutor for a year and said helping students realize their abilities and achieve success is the most fulfilling part of her job.
“It is everything to me to be able to sit there and just work with someone and let them know that they can do it,” Fernandez said. “When they get simple things, like when they understand something in math, you can see it in their eyes that they feel like they accomplished something.”
For those not interested in tutoring positions, Communities in Schools also has mentoring opportunities available. Mentoring focuses less on academics and more on building friendships with students.
Information about all these opportunities can be found at communitiesinschools.org.