The strategy for the Ready-for-fifth campaign calls for:
- getting students to be willing to put in the effort to learn (actually to take responsibility for their own learning results)
- getting teachers to pledge to get EVERY student to the 100% grade level mastery level which includes coming up with differentiated approaches so that EVERY student is on track to achieve the 100% mastery goal
- getting providers of learning tools and enabling technology to pledge that no student will be limited in their ability to achieve the goal of 100% mastery due to lack of access to needed learning resources.
However, as we presented in the “why many fail” section of the web site, one of the primary reasons for student not achieving the learning goals is the lack of a learning-conducive home environment. This could be due to parents uninterested in helping their children learn or parents unable to help either because of lack of time (e.g. working multiple jobs) or lack of knowledge to be able to help (parents that do not speak the language or never received an education themselves). The problem can also include the lack of physical learning space or time (e.g. parents that expect their children to work to help the family). Regardless of the reason, something has to be done to mitigate the impact of an ineffective family environment.
We also call for the teacher to provide differentiated approaches that are appropriate for each student. The problem is that few teachers have the time to provide that the number of different learning approaches that their students need if they are each going to achieve the 100% mastery goal.
The solution is to provide enough mentors and tutor/coaches so that every group of students needing differentiated solutions have the encouragement and support they need to keep them on track as they learn to be independent learners capable of learning on their own with the guidance of teachers and others.
How can we help arrange sufficient Mentor/Tutors?
There are actually 3 aspects to providing enough effective mentor/tutors:
- getting enough suitable volunteers throughout the country
- providing mentor/tutors with effective training and access to effective leaning tools to work with the students with
- providing mentor/tutors with an effective support infrastructure that they can turn to to get help and support of they need it to maximize their effectiveness as mentor/tutors.
There are a number of quality organizations already providing mentor/tutors to schools (e.g. United Way, AARP-Experience Corps, iMentor, etc.). Ideally we would partner with one or more of these organizations whereby:
- we would
- as part of our publicity campaigns, encourage people to volunteer as mentor/tutors and direct them to contact the local affiliate of an existing mentoring/tutoring organization to volunteer (in addition to our mass publicity efforts, we would also encourage our local advocate network to implement local initiatives to maximize local mentor/tutor volunteers – e.g. among seniors, local college and high school students, etc.)
- we would encourage learning tools publishers to provide special online training for mentor/tutors on how to maximize success in working with students using their learning tools. In addition we would encourage these publishers to provide special real-time support to mentor/tutors.
- we would provide a national support website where mentor/tutors can exchange problems, solutions and help one another.
- we would hope the partner organizations would:
- provide a mechanism for volunteers to indicate that they are volunteering for the Ready-for-fifth initiative
- join in the publicity campaign to encourage teachers to pledge to get 100% of their students to 100% grade level mastery before the end of the school year and let them know that the partner organization is there to help them find qualified mentor/tutor volunteers
- join in the publicity campaign to encourage people to volunteer to help local teachers get their students to 100% grade level mastery before the end of the school year.
It is intended that a special team will take on this project and start the reach-out campaign to appropriate potential partner organizations in the near future. If you would like to be part of this team, or if you are affiliated with an organization that is involved in encouraging education or providing mentor/tutors and would like to find out more about the initiative or how you could be involved, please contact us at one of the following addresses:
Thank you for your interest in improving education and the future prospects of our society.