Rider, TCNJ unite to tutor in Trenton schools

Sophomore Kristin Anderson helps a student at Stokes Elementary School in Trenton with his work. This is part of the project aimed at raising test scores.By Julia Ernst

Although there are plenty of ways to become involved in community service at Rider, there is yet another program designed for helping others.

Rider University and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) have initiated a partnership with two Trenton-area schools: Stokes Elementary School and Columbus Elementary School. Tutoring programs at these two schools are aimed at raising scores among Trenton students.

“The hope for this program is to raise mathematic standardized test scores,” said Heather Holland, the coordinator of Community Service.

Holland also said that Rider hopes to “build a sustained partnership between institutions of higher education, local elementary schools and the city of Trenton.”

The Bonner Foundation is an organization in Princeton dedicated to community service. Rider was able to initiate this program, in part, because of its help.

“The program is currently a service site for Rider students involved in Rider Community Scholars and Bonner Leaders,” said Holland.

Sophomore Kristin Anderson, a geosciences major, and senior Melissa Melendez, a biochemistry major and philosophy minor, are two students currently participating in the project.

“I became involved through Rider Community Scholars,” said Melendez. “My decision was easy. I grew up in a similar environment, and so I understand the need for mentors and tutors.”

Anderson shared similar feelings on her decision to participate.

“In general, I decided to tutor because, when I was younger, there was a program through my school with tutors that I went to as a tutee,” she said. “Then I wanted to tutor because it helped me a lot.”

Although the program is currently for Rider Community Scholars, Holland recommends that anyone who is interested go see her.

“If other Rider students are interested, perhaps math or education majors, I would encourage them to come talk to me,” she said. “If they are willing and able to commit to a regular volunteer schedule with Stokes, that would be ideal.”

Holland also noted that although tutoring has started, the real results of this program’s benefits will not be truly clear until the end of the school year.

“The true achievement will be after the youth take their standardized tests at the end of the year,” said Holland.

Although Rider and TCNJ are the only schools currently participating in this tutoring project, Holland said she hopes to expand the program and reach more people.

“The goal is to incorporate more involvement in the future from other institutions of higher learning and elementary schools,” said Holland.

Both Anderson and Melendez are thoroughly happy with their decisions to become tutors.

“I am enjoying it very much,” said Anderson. “I’m having a great time with the kids I work with.”

Melendez gave yet another positive result of becoming involved in tutoring.

“Knowing there are kids interested in succeeding motivates me,” said Melendez. “The best part of the program is seeing those smiles. The students have a lot of potential; it would be a shame to let a standardized test say otherwise.”

Not only are the tutors happy with their decision to participate, but they would also encourage others who are thinking about tutoring to check it out.

“I would wholeheartedly encourage others to get involved if they wanted to,” said Anderson. “It’s a good, fulfilling thing to do.”

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