The tutoring sessions between Each One Teach One tutors and the students of KIPP: Victory Academy are lively, and the active learning is evident in the excited conversations between tutors and students. Between Each One Teach One at KIPP and Hawthorn InvestiGirls, a tutoring and enrichment program at Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, over 100 WashU students commit two hours per week to tutoring and mentoring local students.
At KIPP, tutors are paired with first through third grade students to assist them in building math and literacy skills. Each One Teach One, founded in 2000, is currently in its fifth school year at KIPP, and it continues to grow in scope and impact. Assistant School Leader Lian States works directly with Each One Teach One Coordinators, Anna Schoenfeld, Class of 2020, and Vineeth Thirunavu, Class of 2019, to ensure that the tutoring students receive corresponds to their academic needs. This year, Each One Teach One has introduced a more data-driven approach, implementing assessments and providing students with more targeted help. The program is also navigating how to exit students from the program once they reach grade-level proficiency. Lian shared that this was a milestone for the program and indicative of the concrete effects of the tutoring students receive. The program mutually benefits the WashU students and the KIPP students involved. Lian said, “It gives WashU students the chance to get to know the St. Louis community and learn about education.” As for the KIPP students, she says, “The one-on-one time and attention gives them a chance to be more bought into school.”
The Gephardt Institute’s K-12 and Youth Initiatives offers opportunities beyond tutoring programs for WashU students to connect with local youth. K-12 Connections (a collaborative initiative of the Gephardt Institute, Institute for School Partnership, and Office of Government & Community Relations) joins the WashU community with local schools, primarily through classroom field trips to campus or special one-time events at schools.
Each One Teach One and K-12 Connections recently partnered to offer the students from KIPP a unique experience on WashU’s Danforth Campus. KIPP Victory Family Saturday, held on November 10, was the first event of its kind. About 35 students and 50 family members participated in a variety of activities, including a STEM activity, a craft activity, campus tours, and more. According to K-12 Connections Coordinator Sam Martorana, Class of 2020, this event fit in seamlessly with the mission of K-12 Connections. He said, “One of our main objectives is to get students excited and thinking about college regardless of their age, and this event fit that perfectly. Students were able to get a glimpse at what it is like to be a college student.”
Anna explained the motivation for hosting the KIPP students on campus: “We wanted to expand the program by giving tutors the opportunity to engage with students outside of the academic setting. The event allowed the scholars to see what WashU was like and gain exposure to college life, while giving tutors the chance to create even stronger bonds with their students.” Vineeth shared that KIPP Victory Family Saturday was also unique in terms of scale. He said, “Although the event required a lot of planning, especially on the part of Chris Mohr at the Institute for School Partnership, I think it is definitely worth having the students come and see what a college campus is like. Hopefully, we will be able to make this a tradition every fall.” Anna and Vineeth both stressed the collaborative component of the event. K-12 Connections had the resources and infrastructure to make a campus visit possible, and Each One Teach One had the relationships with KIPP students and WashU tutors to enable the event to be a success.
Anna, Vineeth, and Sam all shared anecdotes from the day and specific memories they enjoyed. Anna said, “One of my favorite parts of the visit was when students had a chance to try out different careers as they learned about college. They excitedly tried on doctors’ scrubs and stethoscopes, or scientists’ white lab coats and goggles, and you could see how much fun they were having, imagining all of the different people they could grow up to become. It was so great to see students happy and excited outside of the school setting, and to see the wheels turning in their head about their futures.”
Vineeth supervised the “insta-snow” activity where volunteers read Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day, followed by a craft activity where the students made their own snow. Students, parents, and teachers alike enjoyed the activity, with some of the adults asking to make their own snow, as well.
Sam led an activity that aimed to interest students in earth sciences by allowing them to create water cycle bracelets. Sam shared, “The kids kept raising their hands to answer different questions about the water cycle, and it was so exciting to see all of the kids smiling and having a good time.” This sense of enthusiasm and engagement in learning is what both Each One Teach One and K-12 Connections works to foster.
KIPP Victory Family Day helped both schools progress their goals and provided a learning experience for WashU and KIPP students alike. Anna emphasized this reciprocity, sharing that the event allowed WashU tutors “to spend extra time with the students and meet their families, while also helping the KIPP scholars start thinking about college, an important step to promoting equity in educational opportunity for these deserving students.” Vineeth noted the importance of the event in building strong campus and community bonds, saying, “Events like these help strengthen the connection between our campus and the community.” As for next steps, Sam hopes to collaborate with Each One Teach One again, saying, “I could see another event in the future happening if K-12 Connections is working with either students from Hawthorn or KIPP.”
Each One Teach One and K-12 Connections are both avenues for WashU students to engage with the community and learn alongside local youth. Learn more and get involved here.