The state’s Department of Education has accepted LML’s application to take part in the Supplemental Education Services program.
On May 11, the notification arrived: Let Me Learn had been selected by the New Jersey Department of Education to provide tutoring in reading and writing for students served by the state’s Supplemental Education Services program. The free tutoring program, which is open to students who face both academic and economic challenges, is federally funded (via Title I) but state-managed. LML will begin providing tutoring services at the start of the 2011-2012 school year.
“Let Me Learn will provide online tutoring services to eligible students in grades 3 through 8 in Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Ocean, Cape May, and Atlantic counties,” says Joel Johnston, LML executive director. Students will be able to use Face2Face (F2F) interactive online services either from home or school. Tutors will be New Jersey teachers who are certified in using the LML Process® in tutoring, and the student-to-staff ratio will range from one-to-one to three-to-one.”
Learning How to Learn
There will be twelve 90-minute tutoring sessions for each student. They will be wholly informed by LML principles and practices, and they will build progressively on one another.
- Session One: The tutor will administer the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI) and discuss how the student’s Learning Patterns work as a team.
- Session Two: The student will build a personal learning profile and begin to decode school tasks.
- Session Three: The tutor will measure the success of strategies given in the preceding session, revisit them, and apply them to more subject areas, and guide the student to create his or her first learning strategy card.
- Session Four: The tutor and student will work together to develop more strategies for working independently at school or at home, create another strategy card, and practice activities to improve the student’s understanding of his or her internal self-talk (metacognition) and to regulate his or her Learning Patterns.
- Session Five: The student and tutor will chart student growth, revisit learning strategies, and develop an action plan for continued growth and independence both at home and in school.
“Let Me Learn tutors will continue for an additional seven weekly sessions,” Johnston says, “to provide guidance and practice in decoding assignments.” Throughout the term of instruction, tutors will collect data based on Learning Patterns to monitor each student’s progress and to identify how the intentional use of their Patterns is essential to their achieving academic success. “All progress will be shared with the teacher and parents after each session,” Johnston adds.
“The tutor will work not just as a tutor, but as a mentor,” Johnston stresses. “The goal is for students to become more confident in their abilities to read and write—across the curriculum.”
Meeting the Standards
Let Me Learn received state certification to provide the tutoring services after completing an application process in which LML demonstrated that the LML Process® was wholly compatible with the New Jersey standards for the teaching of reading and writing. “In the application,” Johnston notes, “you have to demonstrate how your tutoring services will meet the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (NCCCS). We provided a document that shows how Let Me Learn addresses the standards in reading and writing in fiction, nonfiction, science, social studies and technical writing for grades 3-8.”
The document was specific, linking LML instructional practices such as Learning Pattern awareness, decoding, word walls, and identifying the intent of writers (such as test writers) to standards falling under broad categories such as “Key Ideas and Details,” “Craft and Structure,” “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas,” and “Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity.” Johnston believes that linking Let Me Learn concepts and principles to the standards was critical to LML receiving certification to participate in the SES tutoring program.
As LML prepares to launch its tutoring program this fall, it has begun to create a document directed to parents whose children are eligible for Supplemental Education Services help. This will prioritize parental involvement from the start, and give parents a tool to help them decide which tutoring provider to choose.
What’s most important about this extension of LML’s mission, Johnston says, is that “it provides us an opportunity to work directly with the student.” At the same time, it strengthens LML’s identity as an online academic coach—a direction he feels the organization should pursue. “It’s a nice affirmation of our effort,” he adds.
For students, teachers, and parents, the increased exposure to the Advanced Learning System that is the LML Process® can only be a plus. Johnston and his colleagues see LML’s certification as an SES tutoring provider as a great leap forward for the organization—and for the learners whom it is dedicated to serve.