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IU students tutor high school students through Early College program

Nesa Nourmohammadi | IDS | Date: 11/10/2008

While most college students would not think about returning to high school, the Bloomington Early College program gives IU students the opportunity to tutor students at Bloomington North and South high schools.

The Bloomington Early College program stems from the Early College High School Initiative, a “rigorous, yet supportive” program that introduces high school students to college-level coursework, according to its Web site. This year is the first for the program at both Bloomington high schools.

The Bloomington Early College program is composed of IVY 120, a course required for first-year students at Ivy Tech Community College.

Lauren Copeland, a social studies teacher and IVY 120 instructor at Bloomington High School North, said students enrolled in the course follow the same curriculum and textbook as students at Ivy Tech.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for a lot of kids who may not have the opportunity to go to college,” Copeland said. “We provide them with a lot of resources they need.”

Those resources include tutoring and mentoring, in addition to teaching students skills like resume writing and basic study habits.

There are no formal requirements necessary for students to join, but those in the 21st Century Scholars Program receive preference.

While enrolled in the Early College program, students need to maintain a 2.0 grade-point-average and a solid behavioral record. There are currently 35 students enrolled in the program at Bloomington North and 65 at Bloomington South. All of them are freshmen.

Some IU students have donated their time to tutoring students in the Early College program in math and English. Tutor coordinator Diana Schmalzried said to take part in tutoring, IU students must have taken college-level math and English courses. IU student tutors can set their own hours but must maintain commitment.

“It’s very important that they go on a regular basis,” Schmalzried said. “If they go once a week for an hour, that’s fine, as long as they continue to do it.”

Tutoring at Bloomington North occurs Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:40 to 4:15 p.m. At Bloomington South, it is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
A graduate student in the School of Education, David Smith tutors Bloomington South students every Tuesday. For him, the program is fulfilling, both professionally and personally.

“As an education student, it is important and beneficial for me to spend as much time as possible working in an educational environment,” Smith said. “As a resident of Bloomington, I think it is important to become connected to the community in a positive way. This is a fun way to begin making that connection.”

Though only a couple months into the program, Copeland has seen positive results in her students.

“You really see them grow and develop and explore who they are as a person,” Copeland said. “They’re sort of exploring things they enjoy doing, likes and dislikes ... strengths and weaknesses. It’s been really fun to watch them grow.”