Our longtime partner in McDowell County, West Virginia, Big Creek People in Action, has for several years been collaborating with the McDowell County Career & Technology Center on a tutoring program for students who need additional help in specific academic areas.
With support from Americans Helping Americans, BCPIA provides one of its AmeriCorps members and one of its own staff members to work with students four days a week at the vocational school.
The CTE provides the only vocational training available in the county where tutors work in the school with high school students who must complete National Occupational Competency Testing Institute workforce competency testing, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 training as well as pass a WIN career readiness program test to graduate from a CTE program.
“Performance on these tests is indicative of a student’s competency of basic skills and there are some students who require individual attention to bring their skills up to an average level,” explained BCPIA co-executive director Dyanne Spriggs.
Students who are in the tutoring program are chosen by the teachers as a result of the assessment of their basic skills. In addition, the tutoring program also works with students on credit recovery so they can graduate on time.
“The problem this year was when the school closed on March 13
due to COVID-19,” said Dyanne.
However, that didn’t put a halt to the vocational tutoring program.
“Schools remained closed until the end of the school year, but our tutors helped develop ways for the the students to work on their OSHA and WIN career readiness program from home,” Dyanne told us.
Among those students was Nicholas who remained in contact through Facebook as he was continuing his studies online who told them “I will miss you guys so much. Thank you for everything.”
Another was Alex, a criminal justice student who stayed in contact almost every day. “You are my best friends and I thank you for all you’ve done for me.”
And as for Adam, who is a computer technology program student, approached Dyanne in a local restaurant to express his gratitude for the tutoring he received. “Thank you guys so much for helping me with my credit recovery. There is no way I could have gotten it done on my own.”
Dyanne went on to report that with the highest illiteracy rate in the state and 40 percent of students not graduating from high school, “it is crucial that students get the help and support they need to reach their full potential and become successful adults.
“The kids who we work with are aware of the needs in their communities and how people view our area,” she continued. “Their self-esteem and self-confidence is very low.
“Our tutors are mentors as well and encourage and push the students to always feel and do well. They have been amazing in making students feel more comfortable and confident.”
And to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans, Dyanne wanted them to know:
“We really appreciate Americans Helping Americans choosing to support vocational training. Many kids in our area will never go to college and the training they receive can help them get a job.
“We appreciate your support in allowing us the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the kids that we serve.