Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

Spring Successes in Saturday Reading

Spring is definitely a busy time here at FLOC. Within the past couple of weeks, we’ve had several new students and tutors start during our Saturday PM Reading Program. Students are starting and finishing new chapter books each week. This past week, Maniyah and her tutor finished reading The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Additionally, I’ve been impressed by how much our students have been testing. Testing is one of the ways FLOC sees that a student understands the material and can move onto more challenging concepts. Our last two reading sessions, our testing list has been two solid pages. During our last tutoring session, our testers gave a total of 31 tests!

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We had a friendly competition start between two of our middle school students, Gabriel and Nata, in the reading program. Gabriel and Nata (6th and 8th graders, respectively) were working together on their Wilson lessons, until we could find a sub for Nata. Gabriel passed his test with flying colors and so Nata and Gabriel parted ways. In the true spirit of competition, Nata wanted to test and be on the same lesson as Gabriel. Nata passed the test and wanted to test again in order to be farther in the curriculum. Nata passed a total of 3 Wilson tests in one day, while Gabriel found a new way to practice using his vocabulary words—by writing a letter trash-talking Nata. This playful competition challenged Gabriel to think about the multiple meanings of his vocabulary words and how to use them most effectively.

(Tamarae Hildebrandt is an NTP site coordinator for the Saturday Afternoon Reading program.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Samuel

samuel yasmineSamuel Belkin serves as a tutor in the Thursday night math program here at FLOC. In this role, he works one on one with a ninth grade student named Yasmine, providing assistance to help improve her math skills.

After working 30 years as a federal employee with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Samuel was interested in exploring some options for “post-retirement” activities.  He had always enjoyed helping his kids with their math homework, so in June of 2014, he decided to see if he liked tutoring.  On the D.C. Public school system website, he found FLOC on a list of organizations that provide tutoring services within the DC area.

Samuel did some homework and found that FLOC checked out as a well-reviewed local charity, so he sent off an email asking whether FLOC still needed another math tutor to help out for the summer. In his words: “The response was quick – ‘YES,’ followed by a supportive and reassuring welcome message.  I went for orientation and was all set to begin.”

Soon after orientation and training, Samuel was paired up with Yasmine, a delightfully friendly and hardworking young student. When they first met in summer 2014, she was getting ready to start high school with the expressed desire to become a veterinarian. After some brief introductions and “handshaking” lessons (essentially, says Samuel, the same lessons he learned from his grandmother at the tender age of 13) they set to work.

Samuel finds the experience of tutoring math not only a big change from his profession as an optometrist, but amazingly fulfilling. Yasmine has made amazing improvements in her multiplication and division skills since the summer.  Yasmine’s first time taking a multiplication test called the “Product Test” took almost 8 minutes to complete.  Now she can complete it in about 1.5 minutes; they are aiming to be under 1 minute by the end of the semester. Samuel is extremely satisfied with the great progress his student has made since last July.

Additionally, Samuel learned new things as well. He learned a new way to multiply (called the lattice method multiplication).  Working with FLOC has been a great source of joy for Samuel from the beginning, and he hopes to be able to continue providing tutoring assistance for students in the future.

(Vanessa Hanible is the Recruitment and Outreach Associate.)


What’s New with 12th Grade Scholars?

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During the month of February, the senior Scholars have worked through the final components of the postsecondary application process with their coaches. The major focus of their Mondays together shifted from searching for colleges to searching for scholarships and other forms of financial aid.  To support this work, we have provided workshops covering FAFSA, DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG), the Fred Taylor Scholarship, and the New Futures Scholars Program.

In preparation for some scholarship applications, FLOC  asked the Coaches to MauraAyalahelp the Scholars outline essays and prepare a resume. Coaches have brought in copies of their own resumes to help students draft their own. We look forward to seeing the final product of their resumes when the Scholars submit their Fred Taylor Scholarship application later this year.

We have also continued to celebrate acceptance letters received by our students, our most recent one coming from Maura who received an admission acceptance from Dartmouth College.​

(Joseph Peralta is the Postsecondary Success Coordinator in FLOC’s Scholars Program.)

Development, News

Words from FLOC’s First Executive Director and the 50th Anniversary Launch Video

Award-winning and journalist, Leon Harris and Fred Taylor, FLOC founding director.
Fred Taylor (right) FLOC’s founding executive director, visits with journalist Leon Harris (left) at the 2014 Fred Taylor Scholarship Dinner.

Looking back on FLOC’s past 50 years is exciting for several reasons, one being that a handful of those who helped to start the organization are still active in the organization today, whether by supporting FLOC monetarily or sharing their talents by volunteering. One of them is our founding Executive Director, Fred Taylor. I was able to get some of Fred’s thoughts on FLOC’s first 50 years as an organization. Fred writes:

As I celebrate FLOC’s first 50 years, three things stand out for me as truly inspiring:

1) the vision and energy with which FLOC began during the rising tide of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and FLOC’s capacity to persist and thrive even as the energy of that great national movement waned;

2) the vision and courage of the FLOC Board in 2003-05 (after my retirement) to risk the huge change from primary financial dependence on DC government contracting to become totally self-supporting through fundraising, and to shift from multiple service programing to concentrate on equipping and empowering DC youth with limited support and prospects to get a 21st century-worthy education with the interior discipline and vision to match through out-of-school programming (catch up, stay in school, graduate high school, gain acceptance, graduate from college, get a job with a future); and

3) the wisdom and boldness of the 2013-14 FLOC Board to revisit the vision that drives the organization by undertaking and adopting a daunting comprehensive five-year strategic plan. This plan envisions FLOC once again as a catalyst for systemic change for left-out and left-behind children and youth in this potentially great city. It commits FLOC to approximately doubling in size and outreach in order to model and nurture the kind of widely shared citywide effort required for achieving educational justice for the young. It dares to believe that a single organization operating from the margins of the city educational system can succeed as a catalyst for system change, provided it functions as a team player for a much larger goal than its self-glorification.  Lastly, as I look back over what I have written I think “Wow! This still developing history is worth celebrating, and I am so grateful to still be a part of it.” 

Keeping in mind Fred’s words, take a look at the video that highlights some of our students and their experiences at FLOC:

(Kate Fleischer is FLOC’s Development Associate.)


Spring into Reading with FLOC! Recommended Reading from FLOC’s Tuesday Evening Reading Program  

Why not start the new season with a few good books?  During this Tuesday’s Language! program, I went around and interviewed some of our tutor and student pairs, asking them what some of their favorite books are. Here’s what they said…

Noah (5th Grade)

Amulet (graphic novel collection), written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi

Nirvana Chetty (Volunteer)

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Wesley (5th Grade)

Boxcar Children collection, by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Vivian (3rd Grade)

judy blume
Judy Blume collection, by Judy Blume

Jenna Truglio (Volunteer)

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rebecca (5th Grade)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney

JuJuan (3rd Grade)

Salt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream, written by Deloris Jordan & Roslyn M. Jordan, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Chanel (3rd Grade)

A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Natasha Bell (Volunteer)

half broke
Half Broke Horses, by Jeanette Walls

Jessica Smith (Volunteer)

round trip
Round Trip, written and illustrated by Ann Jonas

Devin (3rd Grade)

Wayside School Is Falling Down, by Sachar Louis

Kelly Meany (Volunteer)

alice original
Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Samantha – 4th Grade

Dork Diaries collection, by Rachel Renee Russell

Moises (5th Grade)

wild things
Where The Wild things Are, written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak

(Queen Travers is the Program Coordinator for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program, and the site supervisor in the Tuesday night elementary reading program at FLOC.)