Everyone is learning through one-on-one tutoring opportunity.
Olivet Nazarene University’s School of Education is continually innovating new ways for pre-service teachers to gain relevant teaching experiences.
In early 2018, Olivet received funding from a generous donor who wanted to find ways to give back to Olivet and also support special education in the local Kankakee area. As the first project in this mission investment, under the leadership of Dr. Brian Stipp ’02, Olivet’s School of Education launched the Exceptional Students Tutoring Lab (ESTL). The funding subsidizes the cost of running the lab so that community families pay only $20 per semester to participate. In its first semester of operation, the lab provided tutoring services to 15 elementary and high school students from schools throughout Kankakee County.
With 10 years of classroom experience in the Chicago Public Schools before joining Olivet’s full-time faculty, Dr. Stipp understands the importance of hands-on practice for pre-service teachers. He was keen to incorporate more enactive experiences into the School of Education.
The ESTL provides unique opportunities for Olivet education candidate to connect individually with students, tailor their lessons to specific needs, and make adjustments on the fly. These are classroom management skills that will be incredibly important when they assume full control in their first teaching position.
Each week, tutors create lesson plans for the session and submit them for review to the ESTL Supervisor, Sarah Matyskela ’17. Sarah is a K-2 teacher in a classroom for students with special needs at Lavasseur Elementary School in Bourbonnais. As one of the first graduates of the special education teacher training degree, Sarah is impressed with the growth of the program in the past two years.
“I love coming back to Olivet to be with pre-service teachers,” Sarah says. “Seeing their fun, eager energy is so exciting.”
ESTL sessions take place in Olivet’s Weber Center every Tuesday, giving tutors and their students plenty of space to connect and work together in a classroom. Not all of the students have diagnosed disabilities or IEPs; many simply need a bit of help developing necessary skills and a boost in confidence.
By all measures, the tutoring lab is a success. Parents report increases in students’ grades and test scores, but perhaps more importantly, they are noticing positive changes in their student’s attitudes toward education and learning. The ESTL will return for the spring 2019 semester with nearly 100 percent of students returning.
To learn more about Olivet’s School of Education and other areas of study, contact the Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-648-1463.