Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Tutor Perspectives

Making Math Fun (a tutor’s perspective!)

I first moved to Washington D.C. to attend college at American University in the
summer of 2014. Coming into this great, big city, I was slightly overwhelmed as to what college life was going to be like in such a famous city. I wanted to get involved in something because I wanted to make the most out of my college christineandjocelynexperience. During the first month of college I attended my school’s involvement fair. As I walked around, I saw a table that said “FLOC.” I was intrigued to figure out what those letters stood for so I walked up to the table and introduced myself. As we were talking, I found out that FLOC stood for “For Love of Children.” I asked some questions, got some pamphlets, and then proceeded back to my dorm room. Over the next couple of days, I looked through the massive amount of emails and papers I received from signing up for every little club and organization possible. The one organization that kept resurfacing was FLOC.

I am an intended elementary education major with a mathematics minor, so I thought that this was the right thing for me. I decided that this was a perfect way to get some experience with something that I will be doing for the rest of my life. This opportunity was perfect for me because I was able to combine something I love while having the chance to help out someone. I decided to sign up for one of the training sessions and it has been the best decision I have made here in D.C.

I came to the conclusion that tutoring in math would be the best option for me due to the minor I had chosen. From the first day I met my student, Jocelyn, I instantly felt that we were a perfect match. We seemed to mesh really well together and I knew that the rest of the year would be something incredible. I loved FLOC’s mission to make math fun for the students. I look forward to coming to FLOC every Saturday morning and working with Jocelyn. I enjoy playing store with Jocelyn and helping her add up all of the Frozen themed items she has bought.

Each and every Saturday, I look forward to working with Jocelyn and seeing her grow as an individual. Every week I learn more and more about her, like how her favorite color is purple and she loves seeing the pandas at the National Zoo. I especially love seeing Jocelyn pass unit tests and watch her expression after realizing she solved a math problem correctly, all by herself. FLOC has given me such an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t receive anywhere else and it has been the best decision ever!

(Christine Mazzocchi is a first-year tutor in the Saturday Morning Math program at FLOC and a student at American University.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

Math at Jubilee: NTP is growing!

Last week, a year’s worth of hard work and planning came to fruition. The Neighborhood Tutoring Program launched a new site: Thursday night Math at Jubilee Housing Services. This is NTP’s ninth tutoring program and fifth off-site program. The program is led by Felise Ortiz, an AmeriCorps member who was previously a site coordinator for the Thursday night Math program at FLOC. While this program started small, it could grow to as many as 15 pairs.

jubilee 2

The Thursday night Math program is consistently one of the most popular programs for students and tutors, often being the first to fill up. Having an additional Math program at the same time and within a block of the FLOC offices allows us to serve even more students. We anticipate that this will become another popular program.

Jubilee Housing Services has been a partner of FLOC for several years, working together towards the same goal of providing all DC students with quality out-of-school-time services. We are grateful for the hard work of the Jubilee staff, specifically Katherine Spinney (Director of Youth Services), which allowed us to expand our reach within the Adams Morgan community.

(Lauren Phipps is the NTP Curriculum Coordinator.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Mark

MarkFabrosMark Fabros serves as a tutor with the FLOC Neighborhood Tutoring Program. In this role, he tutors high school student Bryant on Saturday mornings in Math.

This is Mark’s second school year tutoring with FLOC. He heard about FLOC through his girlfriend, who knew he wanted to volunteer in math tutoring.  Mark has always enjoyed and been good at math, so he felt it was important to help improve students’ math skills. Mark feels that a big problem this country is currently facing is income inequality, which is driven by inequality of educational outcomes.

Mark enjoys seeing his students persevere through concepts they struggle with and ultimately make progress.  “It’s even rewarding to see how they learn from their mistakes when they don’t pass the test the first time around.”

Bryant, Mark’s student this year, is the oldest student Mark has worked with since joining FLOC, and so they relate to each other easily.  Bryant is really smart, works hard, and is always anxious to learn something new. They are currently working on multiplication with larger numbers, and Bryant is doing well, so he and Mark are very excited to be moving onto long division soon.

(Vanessa Hanible is the Recruitment and Outreach Associate.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

Summertime and the Learnin’ is Easy



Summertime is here and all our favorite aspects of this humid season are in full bloom—salt water taffy, sunscreen, ice cream, and, of course, tutoring. Summer session for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program (NTP) began on Monday, June 23rd.

The summer academy operates only slightly differently than our school year program, specifically in the fact that there are two programs per week in reading and math rather than one (and that programs last a little over one month instead of seven, 11 sessions each compared to 27).

Students and their tutors play soccer.
Students and their tutors play soccer.

While most students would be horrified to spend time during their summers doing work, our program and curriculum allows our students to enjoy tutoring in conjunction with games, friends, and our wonderful volunteers.

The summer academy is also a time for tremendous gains for our students. Last summer our math students achieved an average improvement of three months of grade level after an average of 11.7 hours of tutoring, our reading students five months after 13 hours—overall over 40% of our summer students last year made one year improvement or more.

Beyond that, there is evidence to suggest that students who transition between our school year programs and summer programs make a much greater leap than even that (although the numbers are too small to jump to any conclusions).

Needless to say, our team is excited to see all the gains that our students can make during these sweat-soaked months, and along with four wide-eyed, enthusiastic interns, we’ll attempt to make this summer more successful than the last.

(Jim Coleman is an NTP Site Coordinator at FLOC).

Events, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Scholars Program, Staff Perspectives

FLOC celebrates 9th Annual Recognition Event and Empower Awards

Last week, FLOC held the 9th Annual Recognition Event and Empower Awards at the Woman’s National Democratic Club. The event was well attended with a great mix of students, families, and volunteers from both the Neighborhood Tutoring Program (NTP) and the Scholars program. What I loved most about the event was that we highlighted everyone together. All of our honorees were recognized for embodying the values of dreaming, advocating, and bridge building. For those who were not able to attend the event, I would like to share some of the important moments of the event.

The first is a sentimental moment where a colleague and I were able to honor one of our FLOC advocates who had recently passed away. Her name was Fanny Canar and she first arrived at FLOC’s door in the fall of 2006 to get tutoring support for her daughter. Although NTP was not the right fit for her daughter, she ended up enrolling her into the Scholars program and later became an advocate for many other families who needed FLOC’s free educational services. Over the course of 8 years, Fanny would ask questions about the enrollment process, take applications and she would even follow up with families when we needed help. She was a true believer of FLOC and she will be dearly missed. I am so blessed to have known her and to have participated in the portion of the ceremony commemorating her.

Another memorable part of our ceremony was when we honored our 8th graders for being halfway to college. We named that portion of the ceremony, “Halfway Day 2014”,  because that is exactly what my mentor did for me when I was in 8th grade. She bought shirts with our college graduation date on the front for everyone in my class and she encouraged us to dream and plan for that date. I was strongly impacted by her gesture and her involvement in my life that I thought it would be appropriate to replicate that with our 8th graders. Here is a picture of the four 8th graders who attended the event and received a shirt!

Eighth graders celebrate being halfway to college!
Eighth graders celebrate being halfway to college!

Finally, the event ended with a very touching and powerful video that showed our students, families, and volunteers talking about their dreams, their bridge-building skills, and their motivation to be advocates.

Overall, the event was a success and I am so glad to have been part of the planning process. I couldn’t have done it without my co-chair Kimberly Davis, the Scholars Program College Access Coordinator, and the committee: Elizabeth Metz, the Recruitment and Outreach Manager, Jim Coleman, NTP Site Coordinator, Lauren Ballinger, Scholars Program Instructor, and Ibsaa Adam, NTP Site Coordinator. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and all of the FLOC staff who helped us bring the event to life! We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

(Aurin Agramonte is the NTP Bilingual Program Coordinator)

GW Interns/Tutors, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight

Meet Juel and Julian

Juel hugs his brother Julian.
Juel hugs his brother Julian.

Juel, 7, attends H.D. Cooke Elementary School. He is in first grade. At FLOC, Juel goes to the Tuesday Night Reading program and has been at FLOC since October 2013.

In his free time, Juel likes to play soccer with his friends and build Legos. Before tutoring, in the student room, he likes to play Jenga with his brother Julian. Juel’s favorite subjects in school are gym and math.

Juel is a very energetic child, and never fails to provide FLOC staff, tutors, and his fellow students with a laugh. When I asked him what he thinks his brother should be when he grows up he said “a rock star!” When Juel grows up, he wants to be Iron Man from Marvel’s Avengers.

This year in school, Juel hopes to do better in reading in school and reach grade level. Juel enjoys coming in every week with his brother. You can always see them playing together in the FLOC student room before tutoring starts.

Julian, 8, is in the second grade and also attends H.D. Cooke Elementary School. Like Juel, he has been at FLOC for one year and attends the Tuesday Night Reading program.

Julian plays Jenga before the start of the tutoring program.
Julian plays Jenga before the start of the tutoring program.

Julian’s favorite class in school is science because he likes to learn “how things work”. In his free time, Julian likes to go outside, play with his friends, play Uno, and relax. Julian and his brother Juel are big fans of the Marvel’s Avengers. Julian told me he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up just yet.

Julian’s favorite part of coming to FLOC is “learning new things” and “having fun” with his tutor Rebecca. Julian says that FLOC has helped him advance a level in reading at his school.

(Benjamin Harris is a tutor in the Thursday Night Math program at FLOC).