REACH stands for Raising Education Attainment Challenge. The REACH Program at the Cornell Public Service Center is a student initiative consisting of Team Leaders, America Reads/Counts Challenge tutors (ARCC), and volunteer tutors committed to supporting community organizations and schools serving children’s academic and social needs.

The purpose of the program is to recruit and mobilize a diverse, talented group of tutors so that they may have the necessary resources, peer support, and leadership to assist in the enhancement of academic achievement of children and youth in grades pre-K-12th.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

REACH on the Cornell Chronicle!

Check out this article on Svante Myrick, our very own Paul Schreurs Memorial Program High School Team Leader and Publicity Co-Chair, and his reflections on four years in Cornell and REACH.

And on that note, we give our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all our graduating seniors for your hard work and dedication to the REACH organization. We thank our tutors, team leaders, and board members, especially

Brian Donovan - Chairman/president, BJM Elementary Team Leader
Svante Myrick - Publicity co-chair, Paul Schreurs Memorial Program High School Team Leader
Rif Rahman - Administrative co-chair, Boynton Middle School SuperCAT Team Leader
Susan Duan - Service learning co-chair
Teisha Swint - BJM Elementary Team Leader
Lindsay McAleer - Gossett Residential Center Team Leader
Danny Araniz - MacCormick Secure Center Team Leader
Emma Loughman - Parkside Gardens Team Leader
Jonathan Ray - Parkside Gardens/West Village Team Leader
Ugorji Emenike - Southside Community Center Team Leader

We all wish you the best of luck in your future plans! REACH could not have made such an impact on the community without you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Reflections on the First Year of a New REACH Site - Ann Martin (Odessa Montour High)

My name is Ann Martin, and I'm the team leader at Odessa Montour High School. This site was just added to REACH in the fall of this year, and I was new to REACH last semester as well, so I feel like I've been through a lot of "firsts" with the OM site: the first time I drove to OM with Ben Ortiz to meet the principal and the guidance counselors I've worked with over the last year, the first time I tutored, the first day that we had our own dedicated classroom to use after school, and the first time a new member of the team drove to Odessa with me. I can't believe how quickly the year has flown by, and I'm really excited to put the lessons of this year to use to make the program stronger and more enriching in the fall.

With this in mind, I've been spending a lot of time looking at and thinking about different enrichment activities that I can bring to Odessa Montour, which is a pretty small school (about 500 kids in middle and high school) in a very rural community about 40 minutes from Ithaca. For my contribution to the blog, I thought it might be fun to share links for some of my favorite activities that make learning about science, math, and social studies fun:

  • Mega Math at Los Alamos National Labs: A bunch of conceptual math activities, relating to ideas like, "What's an algorithm?" or "Why can all maps be colored in using just four colors?" I'm a really big fan of the Hotel Infinity, an activity used by one of my teachers back when I was in high school.

  • Activities on the Nature of Science: These activities help students uncover the "point" behind the scientific method, by applying it to situations in the real world and their own lives.

  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific: A list of cool astronomy-related activities that can be found on the web (I'm a grad student here in astronomy, so I'd be happy to help you out if you'd like to try any of these activities!)

  • Language Arts at the Educator's Reference Desk: Language Arts lesson plans/activities for a lot of different age levels.

  • Education World: Mysteries!: A bunch of activities involving solving mysteries, which blends critical thinking and language skills into one fun experience.

  • Social Studies at the Lesson Plans Page: This one's more of a mixed bag, so you have to look around to find the best stuff (or you can get ideas from the lessons that aren't very well explained), but there are some great activities covering topics like what makes a community strong and voter involvement for really little kids.

Since it's the end of the year, we're all engaged in a lot of reflection (especially at the awesome In-Service Training!) but I'm hoping this list will also help with looking forward and thinking of fun ways to engage all REACH participants with learning and fun challenges.

Check out this NYT article on the Achievement Gap!

What do you think about it?

Negative Numbers, Positive Impact - Brian Donovan (BJM)

This quick little anecdote is something that recently happened to me that made me realize the immediate impact that volunteering has on the kids at my site. It started with me walking into the library where we do homework tutoring and one of the teachers who I have been working with over the past four years was relieved that I was there to explain addition of negative numbers to one of the students there. I took some time and went over a useful and simple way of thinking about those types of problems with the student until I was beckoned to help another tutor explain a word problem to another child. When I came back I realized that not only had that first student finished her negative number addition section, but she was explaining the method that I had just taught her to one of her classmates! It was truly fulfilling see both the help I had provided that child, but through clear explanation, the help that she was able to then give her peers. It is times like those that make all of my hard work more than worth it and make me love what I do.