Fort Lee children are than the usual sports, leisure and social activities at the Youth Center. Since June, students have benefited from the help provided by a dedicated tutor available to children utilizing School Age Services, Middle School and Teen programs.

The tutor position is just one of the resources created from the Army Family Covenant signed by Fort Lee’s leaders Dec. 7, 2007. The program is a result of the Army’s recognition that military Families face challenges and stressors during transitions in support of the Army’s mission.

“Deployments can have a negative impact on school performance,” said Geraldine Ragin, facilities director at SAS. “In addition, many Families coming to Fort Lee were doing so on a lower academic level than the Virginia standards of learning.”

Yovhane Metcalfe, a military spouse who knows how difficult transitions are, was selected for the position. She graduated with a degree in journalism and began working in a vocational training setting as a program administrator planning and writing lesson plans for adults with developmental disabilities. She enjoyed the educational work a great deal, so she enrolled in a master’s program in education and began tutoring math students. She also teaches an English as a Second Language class in Richmond.

The tutoring program at the Youth Center began in the summer when school was not in session; yet Metcalfe seized the opportunity to assist the participating children with preparation for their upcoming school year. She visited the Virginia Department of Education Web site to gather information on curriculum and downloaded the Virginia standards of learning. With the information collected, she created activities to lay a foundation for the materials students would be learning in the fall.

Metcalfe tutors on average five middle school and teen students and seven school age students daily. The homework assistance program that has existed for many years helps with homework tasks while Metcalfe tutors students on a specific deficiency. She has seen an improvement in students and their abilities.

“This is important and it is a very valuable resource,” Metcalfe said. “I have seen improvement; I feel great when a student comes up to me and says ‘look what I did, I got an A’ or ‘I got a B,’ or even ‘I passed.’”

One Prince George junior who had failed algebra two years prior to entering Virginia schools has been attending tutoring sessions with Metcalfe.

Marsha Allen learned of the tutor and told her daughter Chalise she could go to the Youth Center for help. She now walks to the center and receives help with her assignments, as well instruction on specific areas.

Marsha has seen a change in her daughter since she began using this resource.

“Chalise has a different attitude toward math and all of her subjects,” she said. “Her self-esteem suffered with every failing grade, and now she’s more confident and helps her younger sisters with their homework.”

Metcalfe believes parents should look for a tutor before the student gets so far behind that they mentally abandon the subject altogether.

“Students tend to avoid subjects they don’t like or they struggle in and that compounds the problem,” said Metcalfe. “Do not wait for a progress report or report card, and find the student is failing the subject.”

“Teachers move quickly and they have to cover a lot of subject areas,” Metcalfe said. “If the student doesn’t get one part of the unit then they aren’t going to get the rest. If the foundation is shaky then the entire subject area is going to be touch and go for them. The parents need to get assistance before they are failing the subject.”

Tutoring is available Monday through Friday to children and youth enrolled in the School Age Services or Middle School and Teen programs at the Fort Lee Youth center. Children must be registered with the Child, Youth and School Services. Eligible patrons include active duty military, active duty Reservists, Department of Defense Civilians and DoD contractors.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Virginia Education Standards of Learning

www.doe.virginia.gov

A direct link to the Virginia Department of Education. Compare the success rates of the local school districts to others nearby. Find curriculum guides for each grade level and subject matter. View past SOL tests students can use as practice.

Student Online Achievement Resources

www.soarathome.com

SOAR is an innovative program that makes it easy for parents to play an active role in their children’s education. SOAR is designed for military families, and is easily accessible worldwide.

Students take an assessment aligned to state standards and SOAR directs them to individualized tutorials to improve skills where needed. Parents can monitor their children’s progress from anywhere, and are provided with resource materials.

Elementary and Middle School Math Help

www.coolmath4kids.com

Appropriate for lower level math learners. Provides fun educational games and brain teasers. The bright colors and designs appeal to children.