El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services
Friday, March 24, 2023

Learning in the 21st Century

When schools and community agencies work together for the benefit of students, everybody wins! That’s the consensus of all involved with the 21st Century Community Learning Center partnership that includes the tutoring program at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services, teachers from Old Town Elementary, and the resources of the local school system. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools received funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the purpose of supplementing good efforts that are already underway, and so our invitation to participate was an affirmation of the work that our volunteers have been doing with students over the years.

Each of our 60 elementary students works one-on-one with a volunteer tutor twice a week, reading texts that are on their instructional level and practicing comprehension strategies with materials that are specifically prepared for that student. On alternating afternoons each child works in a small group with a teacher from Old Town School, receiving an extra dose of instruction to improve performance in the core areas of math and reading. Tutors and students alike are delighted with the arrangement—veteran volunteers declare this to be “the best year ever” in tutoring, while the students’ eagerness to greet both their tutors and the teachers demonstrates their approval of the new arrangement. Elementary tutoring supervisor Kelly Fortkiewicz is pleased with the support she has received from project administrators and with the enhanced collaboration with the school. Although our organization receives no direct funding from the project, our students are benefitting from the materials and instruction that supplement their school curriculum and enrich our tutoring hour.

End-of-year tests will show whether the program has a measurable impact on academic performance, but interim feedback is positive. The classroom teacher of two of our second graders said that they are improving significantly in reading fluency and comprehension. “I have seen their confidence grow in English both in reading as well as in speaking.”

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. –John Dewey