Program Increases College Readiness

Posted on January 2, 2013 by Sally Mesarosh

LiteracyOutreachProgramMesa, AZ – Jan 2, 2013 – Mesa Community College is working with local high schools to assist struggling students by enlisting the aid of high school juniors and seniors who have passed the reading and writing portion of the AIMS test. The students become literacy coaches to help their fellow classmates as they prepare for college-level work. The goal of the literacy outreach program is to increase the number of students testing out of developmental courses at the college level.

The program benefits not only the tutored students, but the tutors as well.  Twenty percent of the tutors have earned Presidential Scholarships as a result of their service learning hours through the program and many have increased their ACT scores.

“This program sparks interest in many students,” said Megan Garvy, MCC’s Literacy Outreach Coordinator.  “They express interest in the teaching profession and we invite them to become involved in MCC’s Teachers of Language Learners Learning Community (TL3C) Project, which provides teacher preparation and professional development support for aspiring and practicing teachers.”

During Fall 2012 semester, MCC worked with three high schools in the Phoenix Union School District. The high schools nominated students for concurrent enrollment in MCC’s EDU 101 course. The online course taught them tutoring strategies and the students received real-time instruction by Garvy, enabling them to earn tutoring certification. Students then tutored two students 2-5 times a week and averaged 30-90 service learning hours per semester.

Central High School student Alize Ervin said she enjoyed her tutoring experience.

“It gave me a sense of accomplishment,” said Ervin. “I would recommend it to other students. I don’t want it to stop with me. I’d like to see others continue the work.”

MCC is gathering data as the program continues. After receiving tutoring, 80 percent of the students participating in the Fall 2012 semester passed the AIMS test.

The high schools determine what the focus of the program will be, whether it’s AIMS assistance, ESL tutoring or helping student athletes. Many of the high schools allocate Title funds to pay the fee for the EDU 101 class, so there is no fee to tutors.

Garvy said the program will expand to 7 schools for Spring 2013 semester. She will work with three high schools in Tempe in addition to Phoenix and is also talking with Mesa Public Schools. Approximately 65 students served as tutors in the fall and she anticipates about 125 students will participate this spring.

“It was a great experience,” said Luis Delgado, a National Honor Student at Central High School. “I saw improvement every week in the students I was tutoring. It felt good that I could help another student pass what they needed to graduate from high school.”

Another student, Jesan Ifam, said the effort he put into the program was very worthwhile.

“As I helped prepare with two individuals for the ACT, I learned things myself,” Ifam said.  “It taught me about not only education, but also life.”

For more information on MCC’s Literacy Outreach Program, visit: https://sites.google.com/a/mesacc.edu/literacyoutreach/

About Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District.

Please direct media inquiries to Angela Askey at angela.askey@mesacc.edu or Sally Mesarosh at sally.mesarosh@mesacc.edu  or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 480-461-7445.  IA website:  www.mesacc.edu/ia.