academics

Gordon McCaw Elementary School

McCaw_Featured

Gordon McCaw Elementary is one of Andson’s newest sites. Andson has agreed to maintain their funding so students can finish out the year in their after school programs. The school will soon to be transitioning into a magnet program. Not only will they be implementing our after school tutoring, but we will be assisting them in the process of finishing out their original curriculum before they begin the shift into new classroom material. This exciting new material will be centered on STEAM curriculum, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Andson will be at McCaw on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-4:00 p.m. with seven teachers and one support staff. These CCSD certified instructors will be helping grades 2-5 with homework and will provide small group tutoring. After this academic portion, students are provided a meal by Three Square, and then participate in a self-selected enrichment activity. During these times, the tutors will also be encouraging students to participate in setting goals for themselves to track their progress throughout the tutoring.

Unique to McCaw Elementary is the School of Mines. Current principal, Jennifer Furman-Born took us on a short tour and proudly told us all about it. What started as a paper mache project in 1998 has turned into quite an attraction. Teacher Janet Bremer along with then principal, Janet Dobry shared this vision. Today, with the help of community partnerships, students all over the valley can experience a simulated mine and learn about Nevada mining and history.

For more info on the McCaw School of Mines, please visit www.mccawschoolofmines.org.

Spotlight Site - Vegas Verdes Elementary School

V_Verdes_FEAT_IMAGE

Andson operates after school programs in several locations, three of which are Zone schools: Hollingsworth, Sunrise Acres and Vegas Verdes Elementary Schools. This month, we are focusing our spotlight on Vegas Verdes Elementary School.Andson’s Homework Help and Tutoring program is dedicated to offering homework help and tutoring from licensed tutors for every student at Vegas Verdes' after school program by partnering with City of Las Vegas’ Safekey Program. The purpose is to provide academic support by assisting students directly with the homework concepts they may struggle with in class each day. Andson provides tutors and aides Monday through Thursday to work with 3rd and 4th grade students.

To learn more, please take a look at the short video below:

Andson Academics Aides: How Our Youth Pay it Forward

Lied_Aides2

by Nevena Cvijetic

Andson strives to empower students through education. There’s no better way to fulfill that mission than to hire high school students to assist our CCSD certified tutors! Ambitious high school students from all around the valley are working for Andson as Aides to help children with their homework. Andson gives these students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and empowers them to be great. At Lied Memorial Boys and Girls Club (BGC), there are four students from Clark High School making a positive impact in the lives of the BGC members. Three of these students, Chris Luu, Shannen Tan, and Miriam Villedis, are in the Teacher Education Academy at Clark High (TEACH). They bring their knowledge about classroom management, discipline, and creating interactive and engaging learning activities to Lied BGC, where they can implement what they’ve learned. The TEACH program trains high schools students to become efficient teachers in the future – they learn about communication, brain development, diverse ways of learning, curriculum and boundaries between education and the students, and methods and management of education. It’s wonderful to have positive young people our BGC students can look up to. The fourth student, Kevin Rodas, is part of the Clark High School Navy Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC). He uses his leadership training and math skills to assist students with their homework and areas of academics they are struggling in. We are proud to have such high-achieving high school students as part of our team!

Wrapping Up Our Last Week of the Semester

end RESIZED

As the school year comes to a close, we are finishing up the last week of our Homework Help and Tutoring program until fall. As we wrap up, we are providing pizza and drinks to show our appreciation for all of our students’ terrific efforts at each site, as well as handing out certificates to students to acknowledge their successful completion of our program.

And, believe us, as the test results come pouring in, we see more and more how their hard work has paid off this year!

We are also doing a grand drawing of all the stars of the month at each site, and the winner will receive a summer pail of goodies, which includes passes to the Discovery Museum!

We just want our students to realize how important their efforts throughout the school year are to us, and we eagerly await seeing them again in the fall.

Money Matters

money matters RESIZED

As you all know, we at Andson are all about financial literacy and are dedicated to our mission of ensuring that our youth are financially literate! We love it when we find others with the same mission.

The article, “Teaching Financial Literacy, Starting With Teens,” in The Wall Street Journal discusses how Charles Schwab’s daughter, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, emphasizes the importance of educating youth about finances.

According to this article, “It’s no secret that financial literacy is rampant in the U.S., where less than one-third of the population can correctly answer questions on interest rates, inflation and diversification, according to a study by Annamaria Lusardi of the George Washington University School of Business.”

It also points out that “only 17 states require high-school students to study personal finance.”

Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz, like us, promotes teaching our youth to be financially literate and says that it is vital for money management skills to be learned and developed at an early age.

She has focused her resources on educating teens specifically about the importance of being financially literate, and has joined forces with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to accomplish this endeavor.

In order to ensure that financial literacy programs do, indeed, make a noticeable impact on youth, she conducted a year-long study on her Money Matters program, in order to, “ensure we were making a good investment and we’re having an impact.”

The results of the study were promising:

“At the start of the program, just 47% of participants understood the importance of paying yourself first, or automatically saving 10% of what you earn. By the end, 71% understood.”

Damon Williams, senior vice president and chief educational and youth-development officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs, agrees with the importance of financial literacy programs. “The Money Matters curriculum provides them with the knowledge they want but have nowhere else to get,” he said.

It’s awesome to know that we have partners out there who deeply care about our youth and their futures as well.

To read more about this, go to http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702304640104579487533888321814-lMyQjAxMTA0MDEwMjExNDIyWj.

 

Testing Time

aimsweb RESIZED

It’s that time again – time for our third and last Aimsweb test this school year! Although our kids might not be too thrilled about it, we certainly are because it’s from these tests that we are able to find out how far our kids have come - academically, that is. A year-end assessment is critical to meeting our goals, so it’s vital to our continued success.

Students complete the Aimsweb math portion first, as a group, and the one-on-one reading test second.   Depending upon group size, the testing process takes from 30 minutes to one hour.  In an effort to maintain testing consistency, we conduct the testing at our tutoring locations.

Our kids will be elated to know yesterday was the last day of testing, as it lasted from April 23rd to May 7th, but the actual tutoring and homework help will last until May 15th.

Now it’s time for us to do our part and calculate those results, so that we can continue to successfully monitor our students’ improvement and use these results to improve our program to ensure they get the best tutoring come fall.

 

 

Faces of the Future

breakfast RESIZED

As you know, our goal at Andson is to improve academic achievement and financial literacy among at-risk youth in Southern Nevada. For the past four years, we have been delivering programs that help kids learn the skills they need to succeed in today’s world. Our  upcoming  Faces of the Future breakfast is a unique and inspiring opportunity to bring together community members who would like to learn more about us, and make a difference in our  students’  academic success!

On May 21st, at this one hour breakfast we will share information, expertise, and insights, while addressing the importance and need for supplementary educational programs for our at-risk students in Clark County.  Amongst our elite speakers that morning will be Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, and Steve Schorr, who currently serves on the Governor's Task Force on Early Childhood Education!

We are honored to have these enthusiastic speakers attend our breakfast and are eager to hear what they have to say!

We Love This Letter

ellen student letter Resized

How many of you daydream of the day that your kids will tell you they are craving broccoli over ice cream, or yearn for the day when your youngsters will voluntarily choose schoolwork over their toys? How many of you fantasize about getting your kids to do things that are good for them that they just don’t want to do, without having to wrestle them to the ground or threaten their TV privileges?

Well, this dream came true for the tutors at the Gulbis Boys & Girls Club when one little girl wrote Andson a letter in which she said, “Tutoring was so fun. I’d rather be in tutoring all day than go to Wet and Wild.”

That’s what we love to hear here at Andson, that through our hard work, devotion and perseverance with these kids we are making a lasting impact in their lives! We love it when they love their tutoring sessions!

Oh yeah, the student also mentioned, “I loved the treats you gave us at tutoring that one day.”

…nothing wrong with a little incentive!

 

We're Excited to Add to Our Team

Nevena resized

We just hired a new site-coordinator, Nevena Cvijetic, who has been with us for about two weeks. She oversees two of our sites, Agassi and Silver Pines, and told us that she is extremely enthusiastic about her new position, as well as those she works with. When I became a member of the Andson Academic team, I knew that it would be a fulfilling position – I just wasn't aware of how much.

I knew that Andson Academics provides a high-quality tutoring program that encourages young students to become effective learners, but I wasn't prepared to see how much passion and heart our tutors and staff bring into this program.

Tutors such as DeAnn Sheehan, who brings in various games each day for her students, create innovate ways to strengthen students math and reading skills, while awarding good behavior.

Tutors such as Angela Wilborn, Jessica Webb, and Loretta Lee show us that this program isn't limited to only academics – they create a positive environment in which their students feel safe and important.

The student’s progress and excitement towards learning is a clear indicator that the hard work of our tutors pays off.

Andson’s remarkable staff and volunteers show, through their incredible effort, that they want each individual child to progress in all areas of life.

It is a great honor to have the opportunity to work for an organization whose members believe in making a positive difference in their community and working towards something greater than themselves.

We are excited to have Nevena join our team, as her enthusiasm is proving to be contagious!

 

Carrying Out Our Mission

carry out our mission resized

We received this letter from Margarita Gamboa, Principal of Sunrise Acres Elementary School: Greetings Andson Foundation and City of Las Vegas Safe Key,

We would like to thank you for the opportunity you have provided to our students. Through the partnership between the Andson Foundation and Safe Key our students have been able to increase homework completion and academic learning time.

I walk through the Multi-Purpose Room every afternoon and see students grouped in 3’s and 4’s at tables around the room playing board games or physical games where social skills are emphasized, which is just what our students need. The significance of what these children are experiencing daily will assist our students in establishing positive relationships with adults and peers!

This program and the simple act of playing a board game with others has provided our students experiences that they otherwise may not get. They were taking turns, applying math skills and socially engaging in safe, risk-free recreation.

My visits to the library during homework help has been nothing short of amazing! To be able to provide our struggling third graders additional time and help on daily homework, that is an extension of what they are learning in their classrooms, has helped to increase the rate of homework completion, increase mastery and focus, and academic learning time for them.

We are so proud of our tutoring team, the recreation staff, and our students for all the effort each has made in making this program a success.

Most of all, we thank you! Without the Andson Foundation and City of Las Vegas Safe Key, this would not have been possible. You make a difference in children’s lives everyday!

We are grateful for our staff and students who are actively involved in our mission and whose incredible efforts and hard work are definitely noticed.

 

We're Much Obliged Bridger

bridger resized

We want everyone to know how much we value our partnership with Communities in Schools (CIS) and After School All Stars (ASAS)! Together, we ensure that no child falls behind in school, or gets into after school trouble! One example of these programs in action is at Bridger Middle School. At Bridger our after school Homework Help program impacts on average 55 kids per day.

Like all of our other locations, we provide Homework Help at Bridger four days a week. However, what’s really cool is that in addition to Homework Help, we also prepare students for exams (their midterms, finals, etc.). What’s even more awesome, however, is the fact that the program has expanded to the entire school, not just the ASAS and CIS kids.

What does this mean?

Homework Help is open to all students at Bridger – any student in the school can come for help!

On top of that, the majority of the tutors are dedicated teachers from Bridger. This is important for so many reasons! Not only does it mean that these teachers know the curriculum that they’re tutoring their students on like the back of their hand, but they’re so dedicated that they want to work with their students after their normal work day has ended.

We’re so thankful to work with such devoted and motivated people.

 

February Tutor of the Month - DeAnn Sheehan

P1100480

DeAnn Sheehan is the winner of our “Tutor of the Month” for February! We are thrilled to have such a passionate tutor as part of our staff. Currently a teacher at Goldfarb Elementary School, she provides IEP’s in general education, teaches special education, and has been a CCSD teacher since 1989. She made note that her favorite subject is science!

Outside of work she is also passionate about hanging out with her friends and family, being a dedicated mother and godmother, and traveling to places such as Italy, Turkey, and Barcelona.

She currently works at the Silver Pines Boys & Girls Club, and we are so lucky to have her on board!

Start Studying the SATs Right NOW For FREE

andson piccc

If you’re a high school student interested in going to college, then we have exciting news for you – it’s just gotten a lot easier and cheaper to prepare for the SATs! The College Board (creators of the SAT) announced that they are partnering up with Khan Academy to produce a redesigned SAT in 2016, and starting in 2015 students will have free online access to all the tools that they need to study and prepare for the redesigned test.

Not only are they redesigning it, but they have also made available to students hundreds of previously unreleased Math, Reading, and Writing questions from actual SATs and over 200 videos that provide step-by-step solutions to each problem that are accessible NOW for the 2014-2015 SATs.

“The SAT should reward merit and hard work, and success on the exam should be available to all. There is no better statement of our commitment to making the SAT a world-class, high-quality, and fair test than partnering with Khan Academy to provide free SAT preparation for the world,” said David Coleman, President and CEO of the College Board.

Now you can start studying right now from the comfort of your own home! You don’t have to pay, and you don’t have to leave your house to go to lessons at a tutoring center. You can study at your own pace and revisit tutorials as needed.

That makes studying so much easier!

But why are they redesigning the SATs on top of that?

The new SATs are being based on current research’s findings about what tools students need to be equipped with and what they should understand in order to to be successful in college.

To start studying for the SATs today as well as to learn more about the upcoming redesigned SAT, visit www.khanacademy.org/sat.

 

A Passion for Learning

passion for learning Resized

Holly, a kindergartener at our Southern Highlands location, took matters into her own hands this week when she grew impatient waiting for tutoring to begin and lead the other kindergarteners into the tutoring room early. Her explanation to her tutor was merely, “Sorry Ms. Elias, we just couldn’t help ourselves.” She and the others then proceeded to sit down and waited for their tutoring to begin. Holly’s mother says that Holly is always so excited to go to tutoring and so sad when she has to leave.

If through all our efforts and hard work we ended up inspiring this little girl and the other kindergarteners to the point where they get excited to learn, then our goal here at Andson is met, though our work is only just beginning!

This is our reward – when we see students not only learning and understanding their work, but also developing a passion for learning.

A few of our other Southern Highland students’ family members have also told us that their children are excelling in their school work.

Third grader Elliot’s mother said that she loves the tutoring program and that Elliot’s math grade has gone up tremendously.

Fifth grader Patrick’s grandfather says thank you Andson and that Patrick has learned to enjoy math and is continuously improving his math skills.

Fifth grader Marae’s mother says that Marae is always excited to go to tutoring and that she has not seen her daughter that excited to learn before.

Here’s to reaching out to even more students!

Who knows, maybe there’s a future teacher or two among these kiddos.

Now that would be awesome.

 

Flip That Classroom!

Flipped Classroom

Starting in 2010, Marc Seigel, a mere chemistry teacher at Middletown High School South in New Jersey, made his students’ wildest classroom daydreams come true. He not only allowed them, but even encouraged them to use their cell phones during class time.

According to the article “Flipped Out” written by Jennifer Miller, Marc Seigel is one of a few brave teachers who are trying out a new method of teaching called a “flipped classroom.”

The idea behind the whole flipped classroom is that students do homework in the classroom and watch their lessons at home through video tutorials. This allows students to pause or rewatch lessons as many times as they need at their own pace, while receiving more one-on-one time with their teacher and homework help in the classroom.

Seigel even got rid of the cell phone ban at his school and set his students up with Google Apps so that they could upload images of their completed homework from the classroom and keep track of it in an organized folder online.

Sounds cool, right?

However, after a few weeks his students weren’t challenged enough with their video lessons and lost interest in their studies again, so Seigel revised his online lessons to interact with his students.

According to neuroscientist Dr. Gary Small, “Watching video is a passive experience.” It’s the decision making in lessons that activates students’ neurons.

The problem is that the education system's focus is on having students memorize facts, rather than on developing their cognitive skills. This is not enough to prepare students for jobs in the 21st century.

Pretty much, in this fast-paced world students have shorter and shorter attention spans due to the media and technology. Students just aren’t stimulated in the classroom the way that they are outside of the classroom. Our traditional learning models just aren’t cutting it.

The article goes on to say that when students are required to learn or memorize information for a test, they remember this information only when they take the test (as opposed to learning a musical instrument and being able to recall it all the time). Therefore, the information they study does them little good outside of the classroom with this method of mere fact memorizing.

Well get this.

When kids play video games their brains release a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This happens when they experience pleasure. Active participation and decision making is one instance in which this happens. This is the reason why video games are addictive.

The flipped system is like a video game. If you succeed in a video game, you get to another level. However, even if you failed you immediately come one step closer to understanding why. Immediate feedback in school gives more motivation and understanding to students than delayed feedback (the old fashioned school system of having to wait for questions and homework help). Whether students do their homework correctly or incorrectly, they understand why right away in a flipped classroom.

This is why Seigel allows his students to retake tests and emphasizes interactive labs over problem sets. Like a video game, they “replay” until they succeed and understand.

Not a bad idea, huh?

To read the article in full for more details on this innovative idea go to http://www.spiritmag.com/features/article/flipped_out/.

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada College Kickstart Program

kickstart Resized

According to Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall, “Research has found that children with a college savings account are up to seven times more likely to attend college than those without an account, regardless of family income, ethnicity, or the educational attainment of the child’s parents.” According to research, it doesn’t matter how much money is in the children’s accounts, but just the fact that the children know that college is something to save for is what makes so large of an impact on them. Fascinating!

That is why today Marshall participated in an exciting new beginning of a program that will immensely benefit many children as she launched the Nevada College Kick Start Program at Walter Bracken Elementary School.

The concept is to provide an initial $50 deposit in a college savings account for students. That is how the seed of anticipating a college education is getting planted in these children.

This is not only happening in Las Vegas, but all over Nevada. Another incredible part of the program is that it is funded from program manager fees paid to the state, not from tax payers’ wallets.

Here’s to watching those seeds grow!

College Isn’t Cheap – Fill Out Your FAFSA!

fafsa Resized

As Sophomores and Juniors, you may hear your Senior friends talking about “FAFSA” a lot.  You may figure, “no need to worry, I’ve got years  before that.” Then, you wake up. Your parents are freaking out about your college applications, and senioritis is seriously kicking in.

According to https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm, “Completing and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the single most important thing you can do to get assistance paying for college.”

You might ask yourself what in the world does this have to do with me?

However, if you are in high school, or are considering going to college or returning to college, this has everything to do with you!

Many students do not know how easy it can be to get money to help with college.

The FAFSA website mentioned above also goes over many fears or myths that students might think would stand in their way when it comes to receiving money for college. These may include thinking that you or your parents make too much money so you won’t qualify for aid, that you have to have good grades to receive aid, that you’re too old for financial aid, or even that the form is too difficult or complicated to fill out.

NONE of these are true!

We already went over why you need it, so let’s go over more specifically what it is.

It is merely a FREE application for federal student aid that can come in different forms including: federal grants, loans, and work-study.

See how easy it is to be walked through the application process and have all your questions answered. Visit the above mentioned website - https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm.

Also, be sure to check out this awesome website https://getschooled.com/fafsa-resources.

This website, Get Schooled, has tons of helpful tips and links from not only the experts, but also students like you.

Their topics include:

  • Finding out which parent to use for the FAFSA
  • Getting an estimate on your aid package
  • All of the different types of aid that you might qualify for
  • FAFSA tips from your peers
  • FAFSA on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube

Go check it out! It’s not scary at all.

 

Nevada calling for Mentors, Tutors, and Motivators

CAA-strongstart

Strong Start Nevada is a community outreach program with similar education goals as Andson that believes that early childhood experiences lay the foundation for that child’s success throughout life. According to an article they wrote, “Young children’s brains develop 700 synapses [neural connections that support learning and skills] every second. Research shows that children begin developing their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills well before high school, middle school or elementary school.” How awesome is that!?  The younger the child, the more the child’s brain will retain information.

The Problem-

Nevada’s children have fallen behind in education. According to Strong Start Nevada, in Nevada we rank 50th in education in the nation. What exactly does this mean?

  • 70% of our children never go to preschool
  • 75% of our fourth graders cannot read proficiently
  • 71% of our eighth graders cannot do math proficiently
  • 42% of our high school students graduate late

The Result-

The destructive impact this has on our young adults who are struggling and not keeping up in Nevada’s current education system is limitless. Young adults are ill prepared for the world and work force, and in most cases they are not equipped to meet the standards that industries look for in their hiring processes. How many of our young adults are we talking about?

According to Strong Start Nevada:

  • 75% of young adults (ages 17-24) would not qualify for the U.S. military, or meet the physical, behavioral, or educational standards that industries also look for today.

At-risk children are:

  • 25% more likely to drop out of school
  • 40% more likely to become teen parents
  • 50% more likely to be placed in special education
  • 60% more likely to never attend college
  • 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime

The Plan of Action-

What do we need to do to better prepare our children in Nevada?

  • Get personally involved in your children’s education. If you are a working parent, send your children to an after school program where they can receive the mentoring, tutoring, and homework help that they need to keep up to speed with their education, and keep their learning process as stress free as possible.
  • Donate to organizations that support educating the children of Southern Nevada. Help provide learning resources and tools for them, as well as make sure they are affordable for all students.
  • Volunteer. Personally make a difference in a child’s life by volunteering in organizations, such as Andson, and becoming a child’s mentor, tutor, and motivation.

 

 

 

January Tutor of the Month - Laura Bastian

jan tutor Resized

Laura Bastian is the winner of our January “Tutor of the Month” here at Andson. Currently a speech-language pathologist at William Ferron Elementary, she treats speech and language disorders from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Laura has over 10 years of teaching on her plate and has taught preschool, first and fourth grade, and special education in both middle and high school. She has been both a tutor and a tutoring coordinator for much of that time in both Illinois and Nevada. Laura also has quite the busy life outside of the classroom. When she is not with students, she loves traveling with her family, visiting unique museums, and having one-of-a-kind experiences. Other activities she and her family do together include volunteering across the Valley.

Also near and dear to Laura are her efforts to educate her students about college. Therefore, in order to kindle an interest in college in her students, she has her students currently doing a pen-pal project with her daughter’s sorority at Iowa State University.

Thank you Ms. Bastian for all you do for our students!