Nonprofit aims to help Wake's struggling students

Posted February 18, 2010

— More than 1,600 students dropped out of the Wake County Public School System last year, and one organization is fighting that trend.

First-grader Danielle Childress said the tutoring she receives four days a week after school at the Heritage Park Learning Center has helped.

“They help me do my work and always help me get my stuff right,” she said.

Non-profit aims to help Wake's struggling students Nonprofit aims to help Wake's struggling students

The Heritage Park Learning Center is one of five learning centers operated by the nonprofit group Communities in Schools of Wake County.

All are nestled in Raleigh's public housing communities, where kids might lack resources and family support.

“There is a mentoring piece in place that students are so glad to have someone outside the community to come in to help out with homework,” said Melodie Braswell with Heritage Parking Learning Center.

The volunteers include college students, law students and corporate employees who tutor 130 students in five centers, grades kindergarten through 12th. Many of the students were failing school just a few years ago.

“We have seen a major progress,” Braswell said.

Fifty-six percent of students receive nothing lower than Cs, according to Communities in Schools officials.

After coming to a learning center for three years, Janetta Alston is now on the Honor Roll.

“I would (like to) say ‘thank you,’ because they help me improve in certain subjects that I need to,” Janetta said.

Communities in Schools staff also meets regularly with the students’ teachers to track progress. They also have learning centers in Capitol Park, Chavis Heights, Mayview, and Kentwood.


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  • MileageWarrior Feb 18, 2010

    "there is nothing in the article that says that the services are only offered to black students. That would be illegal"

    uh, no. its NOT illegal. did you not see the article just a week or so ago about a 1.5 million dollar grant for MINORITIES...specifically BLACK minorities, who have an 'achievement gap'?

  • working for deadbeats Feb 18, 2010

    This is a very positive story and these kids are getting a fantastic service. I hope it helps them become something in life.

    Why a negative spin on it? It's the same old cycle in the, ummm, lower income communities. People have kids who shouldn't and the cycle continues. Go to Walnut Terrace and you'll see generations of families who never broke the cycle. I wish the best for these kids and we all want them to succeed!

  • Remy Feb 18, 2010

    Thanks for adding a little more negativity to a positive story!

  • time4real Feb 18, 2010

    "Why is there so much negativity in these blogs?"
    you really don't know? here's a clue, parents are fed ffffffflipping up with this so called "great" school system and the decisions that the past boards and especially Burns and Delaney have burdened families with have them simply fed up. There's a new crop of school board loathers out there, watch out, they have no intentions of helping anyone and will only cause even further downward spiraling of this system. Watch and see.

    On a positive note, this group helping kids, GOOD FOR THEM. God will thank them one day and so will their future employers!

  • bpjamesncsu Feb 18, 2010

    MileageWarrior...there is nothing in the article that says that the services are only offered to black students. That would be illegal. Since white students also live in public housing, I'm sure the non-profit serves them too, and anyone else who lives nearby.

    There are some online tutoring programs that are free or relatively inexpensive. Also, talk to your child's teacher or principal; some of them offer additional tutoring or can point you to additional resources. You can also consider posting an ad on Craigslist for a nearby college student, particularly one familiar with autism, to help tutor at a low cost.

  • showsomelove Feb 18, 2010

    Why is there so much negativity in these blogs? It's ok when little Johnny or Sally's parents pay out of there rearends for tutoring! Does that mean there parents are off doing something else as well? Children can't help but have negative attitudes and behavior, look at the parents! It all starts at home! I commend them for trying to help the students out. Keeping them off the streets! Job well done! Maybe Johnny and Sally can go get some help as well, they to struggle in school...

  • me2you Feb 18, 2010

    Sounds like something like this works without it being about dollar signs.

  • Makeitso Feb 18, 2010

    I volunteered with CIS for a while a few years back. I greatly enjoyed working with the kids. Both sides get something from this. Kids can learn from more than one source - programs and centers like this just offer another option to help at risk kids excel. And most of the time, parents of at risk kids are very grateful that someone cares enough about their kid to be involved and give them time and effort and even knowledge they may lack. How is that ever a bad thing?

  • Remy Feb 18, 2010

    thatsgreat - "Where is mom and dad during these tutoring sessions? Something tells me the parents would learn more than their children."

    There is nothing in this story that indicates the parents are not present. It even says they communicate with the student's teachers. Why jump to the negative? Sounds like they do great work. Maybe you should think about volunteering to help those less fortunate instead of criticizing.

  • MileageWarrior Feb 18, 2010

    Why do people assume that kids struggling in school have parents who are lacking? My son went to therapy for 3 years for his autism. Do you assume I dropped him off and left him there? I video taped every single one of his therapy sessions to a)learn what the therapist did and b) to track his progress.

    Now that he's in first grade, he's doing ok, but he's still struggling. He and I do double the amount of schoolwork that is even required of him because I feel he needs the practice, and yet, he is still struggling.

    It's funny how many people here assume the worst about parents who have kids that fall below the benchmark. I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only highly-involved parent who still has a child that is struggling academically.

    Unfortunately, because we are white and we aren't on welfare, we don't qualify for any of these programs. All my son has to rely on is me, and I'm doing all I can to help. Some professional assistance would be nice.