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Ohio University Chillicothe students provide valuable tutoring at Zane Trace Elementary

Ohio University Chillicothe's Early Childhood and Elementary Education program has enriched its long-standing partnership with Zane Trace School District with an intensive tutoring program for k-4 students with funding from a two-year grant through the Ohio Department of Education. Ohio University teacher candidates provide ongoing tutoring to Zane Trace elementary students to address learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a broader collaboration between Ohio University Athens, Eastern, Lancaster, and Chillicothe and six schools (Union Local, Bridgeport, Amanda-Clearcreek, General Sherman, Meigs Eastern, and Zane Trace).

As part of the partnership, each school is assigned a Graduate Teaching Fellow who serves as a tutoring program coordinator. Graduate Fellows are fully licensed teachers who work 20 hours per week in the school in exchange for tuition support to fund their master's program at Ohio University. Abbie Conley is the 2022-23 Zane Trace fellow. The program is in the process of hiring a 2023-24 fellow.

Ohio University education students are hired on an hourly basis to provide tutoring using a district-designed intervention. Junior early childhood education major Hailee Crowe is one of the OHIO Chillicothe student tutors. She enjoys building relationships with the Zane Trace students and appreciates the experience she is gaining.

“I have grown not only as an educator but as a person,” Crowe said. “They teach me how to become a better teacher each day. I love seeing the improvement in my students and watching them grow.”

At Zane Trace, teachers recommend students for participation in the program. Tutoring focuses on the individual needs of the students and covers phonics, letter, sound, number, and shape recognition, division, multiplication, reading, writing simple sentences, and help with unfinished work.

The program graduated seven elementary students in the fall semester who tested "on grade level" after receiving tutoring.

Abbie Meadows reads with Zane Trace Elementary students
Abbie Meadows reads with Zane Trace Elementary School students.

“While all Ohio University education students engage in extensive clinical experiences, this additional experience in the classroom allows teacher candidates to practice building professional relationships and using teaching strategies in a supportive environment,” said Dr. Amy Wolfe, assistant professor of early childhood education.

Zane Trace Elementary Principal Susan Congrove said her school benefits from having Ohio University Chillicothe tutors serve their students, and the Ohio University Chillicothe students benefit as well.

“Our school falls ‘in the crack’ when it comes to funding,” Congrove said. “We run on a skeletal crew with not very many extra hands to help, so this tutoring program has been a win-win for both the school and the tutors who are learning to become educators themselves. The children who needed the 'in person' instruction during the pandemic are making more progress in phonics, phonemic awareness, and comprehension as we work to close the gap.”

Congrove said the Ohio University Chillicothe tutors are helping her students are learning and grow, both academically and socially. She noted that her Zane Trace students are always eager and ready to get started with their work when their tutors arrive.

“They love the extra attention and help with their reading and math,” Congrove said. “The students feel more confident doing their independent work since receiving this extra help. Social-emotional skills have also been built, as I have witnessed when the students smile and greet their tutors! Relationships have been built between the tutors and our students which is key to successful learning.”

Rebekah McManaway tutors two students
Rebekah McManaway tutors students at Zane Trace Elementary School.

Congrove has watched the Ohio University student tutors learn flexibility and gain perspectives on the school working environment.  

“They have learned that there is trial and error with their strategies and lessons,” said Congrove. “They  have also benefited from having experienced mentors to help them along the way.”

Crowe said serving as a tutor has helped prepare her to be a teacher.

“This job has allowed me to work with over 70 students and find ways to better my teaching,” Crowe said. “I have become more creative, thoughtful, and patient through my experience. I now know the importance of differentiated instruction and classroom management. I cannot wait to have my own classroom.”

May 9, 2023
Staff reports