Fall 2012

Plymouth/MICAH/MPSTutors Adopt Gaenslen K-8 School!

Through an emerging partnership between MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope) and Milwaukee Interfaith - MPS Tutor Program, Plymouth has taken steps to put our faith into action. Plymouth volunteers will be directly supporting an MPS school, classroom, teacher and students in a way which can make a profound difference for all. The MICAH/Interfaith partnership will provide training, support and facilitation for churches wishing to “adopt” one of the MPS schools targeted to receive services for next school year by the Interfaith - MPS Program. Plymouth has an opportunity to be one of the pilot congregations for this partnership. MICAH/Interfaith tutors will specifically be provided training in the MPS Comprehensive Literacy Plan, which is used in every MPS school.  Interfaith has already trained, placed and supports over 200 tutors in MPS.  Plymouth tutors will provide support to a specific classroom, once a week during the 90-minute literacy block.

 

At a meeting of prospective tutors during the Education Hour on Sunday, July 8, the group decided to adopt Gaenslen K-8 School for the project.  Eleven volunteers from Plymouth have stepped forward to make this idea of putting our faith in action, on the ground in MPS, a reality.  They are committing to completing applications for volunteering with Interfaith and MPS, four hours of initial training, a meeting with their assigned teacher and an Interfaith/MPS Master Tutor, and tutoring for at least one 90 minute literacy block per week (during the school day) for the next school year.  

 

Gaenslen K-8 School is located at 1250 E. Burleigh in the Riverwest neighborhood.   From Gaenslen’s website with updates from MPS 2010-2011 Report Card:  “Our school serves approximately 673 students in K3-8th grade. 46% of our student population has special needs. These students contribute to the diversity and enrichment of the school. The ethnic breakdown of Gaenslen’s population is as follows:  71% African-American, 13% Hispanic, 14% white and 1% other. Gaenslen is a SAGE School (1 teacher/ 15 students), K5-3rd grade. Our mobility rate is low, 15%.  Our special education population is very stable.  When the special education students come into our school as preschoolers, the parents usually choose to keep them at Gaenslen until they graduate from 8th grade.  Many parents of our special education students also choose to send their regular education siblings to Gaenslen in order to keep all of their children at one school.”  Gaenslen’s special education teachers serve a continuum of special education needs, including a significant number of children with orthopedic impairments.

 

As we move forward at Plymouth, we hope to form a team that will meet regularly together to share our triumphs, our frustrations, to learn from and to support each other.  Lou Frank who is a retired MPS teacher and a long-time volunteer at Neeskara School, has offered to be a resource of ideas and strategies in the tutoring relationship.  Jane Audette, an MPS school social worker can be a resource for behavior intervention strategies with students.  We will also begin our journey with Debra Jupka as our Master Tutor at Gaenslen, who will support the day-to-day organization within the school building and school day.   She is a retired MPS Principal and experienced tutor.

 

John Becker, one of our MICAH/Plymouth Tutors has already been involved with the Interfaith/MPS program for two years.  He has shared about his experience of reaching out in faith and finding himself enriched by the experience:

“Tutoring at MPS, in the Interfaith program the last two years, may be the most valuable service of my 72 years.    Thanks to Roger Brooks and Plymouth for getting me involved.  It was a great education for me.  It was rewarding because I think that I may have been a life changer for a few.  One 4th grader who could not read at all, cried when she found out she could sound out any word.  (Many of the words were not in her limited vocabulary).  Her teacher cried when the girl read to the class.  Children from the class I tutored the previous year smiled and shouted my name when they saw me in the halls.

     Tutoring has been challenging.   The first months, I couldn't wait until the kids left for lunch.  Later, I came early and tutored for two to three hours. “

 

If you would like to learn more about the Interfaith/MPS Tutor Program, please explore the website athttp://home.interfaithmilw.org/rsvp-volunteer-program/55+-tutor-program/menu-id-204 ; then follow the link on the page to the Tutor Resource Website for even more in-depth information.

 

Please contact Jane Audette at 414-763-3801 (yaner@aol.com) with any questions.  She is a member of our MICAH Core Team and currently the Plymouth facilitator for our volunteer recruitment for this project.

Summer 2012

Imagine Plymouth members “on the ground” making a difference every week in the academic achievement and classroom climate in one of our MPS elementary schools!  Imagine building relationships with teachers and students which will nurture success and demonstrate directly the care of the community for our public schools.

 

Plymouth is being given an opportunity to make this image a reality, through an emerging partnership between MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope) and Milwaukee Interfaith - MPS Tutor Program.  The Interfaith – MPS program has replaced the RSVP program in MPS and adults of any age can volunteer.  A subcommittee of the Education Task Force of MICAH has been working to develop this partnership: the MICAH Tutor Team.  This partnership will provide training, support and facilitation for churches wishing to “adopt” one of the MPS schools targeted to receive services for next school year by the Interfaith - MPS Program.  The MICAH Tutor Team is hoping to pilot this partnership for the next school year with three congregations (or groups of congregations).  Plymouth has an opportunity to be one of those congregations.

 

MICAH/Interfaith tutors will specifically be provided training in the MPS Comprehensive Literacy Plan which is used in every MPS school.  Interfaith/RSVP has already trained, placed and supports over 200 tutors in MPS.  MICAH tutors will provide support to a specific classroom once a week during the 90 minute literacy block.  There is also a possibility for tutors with experience in teaching math to get in on the ground floor, as Interfaith moves into developing their training of tutors for the CMSP (Comprehensive Math and Science Plan). Plymouth will be able to choose specifically which school our tutors would support.  Our congregation can also choose to serve several different schools rather than partnering with only one.

 

After completing an Interfaith - MPS application, tutors will need to volunteer tutor at least once a week during the 90-minute literacy block.  They work closely with the classroom teacher.  Tutors must be available during the school day.  Tutors need to take part in an initial 4 hour training provided by RSVP on the Comprehensive Literacy Plan.  An Initial meeting with the teacher they will be working with, facilitated by a Master Tutor.

 

Tutors are also provided ongoing support while they tutor throughout the school year.  That support consists of a Master Tutor who works with tutors at the school site to improve their tutoring and to provide support with structure, management, materials, modeling, demonstration and the curriculum.  Additionally, tutor Training Sessions are provided throughout the year by RSVP at Interfaith’s main office which is located at 600 W. Virginia.

 

A core group at Plymouth will be putting together a plan for regular support for tutors, both individually and as a group as we build our relationship with the school and with each other.

 

On June 17th, during Education Hour, Plymouth member Jane Audette will be joined by Interfaith - MPS Master Tutor and fellow MICAH Education Task Force member, Debra Jupka. We will provide details of our Tutor Team program.  Debra is a retired MPS principal and has been involved with the Interfaith Program from its inception.  Please join us for information and for inspiration as we work to put our faith to work in our public school classrooms.

 

In Debra’s words, “There is nothing more powerful then witnessing the “ah ha” moment when the light of knowledge and comprehension goes off in a child’s eyes.  Suddenly a world of possibilities has been opened to a student, that didn’t existed a second before.  Selfishly, you as a tutor are there to witness that miracle and know you had a role in it.  Knowing that an adult from the community gives of  themselves is an amazing gift for students to receive.  Students sense the commitment and care from the tutor and respond in kind.” 

 

See you on Sunday, June17th during Education Hour!  Please feel free to call          Jane Audette with questions at 414-763-3801, prior to the meeting.

 

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