Twice a week, the hum of voices echo through Bishop Elementary School halls, announcing the volunteer tutoring session are in full swing. Mayflower …
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Twice a week, the hum of voices echo through Bishop Elementary
School halls, announcing the volunteer tutoring session are in full
Mayflower Church Pastor Paul Ramsey suggested enlisting tutoring
volunteers to Bishop Principal Linda McCaslin.
Ramsey said he and the congregation saw this as a way to help
the students at the community school.
The program was launched in January and has grown as additional
volunteers stepped forward as tutors.
Now, there are tutors who spend part of each Tuesday and
Thursday evening helping 10 to 15 children a night improve their
reading skills. The 45-minute session are either one-on-one or a
teacher working with two students.
Former teacher Juliana Powell doesn’t attend Mayflower Church
but asked to join the program because she said she loves kids and
saw tutoring as way to give back to the community.
Across the room, Carolyn Clayburg tutored Tina Selimagic and
Selimagic said she volunteered to come to the tutoring sessions
because she was having a little trouble reading and with her
She explained her family is Bosnian and speak only their native
language at home but she has to speak English in school.
“The tutoring has helped me a lot as I try to do better in
English,” she said. “It also helps me as I teach my dad about
Salas said she too was having a little trouble with English. She
said the tutoring helped her learn and understand new words and
that helped her read better.
But it isn’t all work. The first 30 minutes are devoted to
music. Randy Runyon, a music teacher in Denver Public Schools,
teaches the students about rhythm and musical beats by guiding them
as they turn plastic buckets and even a wash tub into drumming
instruments. The room and the halls echo with the rhythmic beats
they produce as the session’s best percussion section.
Runyon said he attends Mayflower Church and, when the pastor
presented the idea he immediately signed up to volunteer to
He said he teaches middle school and looks forward to working
the younger kids twice a week. He said he has fun with the sessions
and tries to make sure the kids have fun as they learn about rhythm
and musical beats.
After music, it’s time to eat. Each week, a volunteer takes his
or her turn to provide what is needed to make a light meal for the
Once everyone has finished eating, the students adjourn to the
classroom to spend time with the tutor working on reading.
Bishop student Nichole Rains was working on her reading skills
during a recent session and she said the tutoring sessions have
helped her read a lot better.
“The tutoring is awesome,” the girls said. “I learn better
working one-on-one. It’s quieter so it’s easier to concentrate here
than in class and it’s a lot easier to ask questions. On a scale of
one to 10, I’d rate my improvement as a reader as a nine.”
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