Friday, January 10, 2014

Serving Our Students: A new way to help TFCA’s students succeed.

This article by Ruth Fitz-Gerald, TFCA's Student Services Coordinator, first appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of the Royal Review.

When Mrs. Burgess first approached me about considering the brand-new Student Services Coordinator position I quickly dismissed the idea.  I loved my teaching position and couldn’t see any reason to change.  In the days that followed God kept bringing the idea back to my mind and I started praying about it.  The long and short of it is that God convinced me to jump into this new program, and I have not regretted my decision.

Helping TFCA students find their God-given purpose, and experience academic success, is my primary goal. Much of my time implementing Student Services during the first semester has been spent observing in classrooms, administering diagnostic assessments, and researching strategies to help students achieve success.  Classroom teachers have been receptive to adding tools in their “teaching baskets” to meet the needs of their students.  While I envisioned myself working one-on-one with students I have found that I have only a small amount of time for this type of student support.

Ms. Boone has been a great help meeting student needs.  She is our Title 1 specialist and works one-on-one with students in grades K-5.  Title 1 focuses on reading and math skills.

To help reach students who need extra practice I am developing a peer tutoring program called Student to Student STEPS (Students Thinking Exploring, Practicing, Succeeding).  We now have a number of peer tutors in grades 6-12 who are ready to begin tutoring students in grades k-6 in the coming months.   Tutors will meet with their students once or twice a week to practice reading, writing, and math skills.  Research has shown that both the peer tutor and the student benefit from this type of educational opportunity.

In the future I hope to add a STEPS program for students who would benefit from an added challenge.  My idea is to work on projects and activities that require higher level thinking and logic skills.

God has created each student at TFCA and has a purpose for each one.  It is exciting to watch students experience success as they journey towards their God-given purpose.