Peer tutoring program helps studentsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Local businessman Ford Cauffiel has helped more than 15,000 elementary school students in Northwest Ohio school districts improve their academics through a peer tutoring program, Students for Other Students (SOS).
Cauffiel said he has invested more than $1 million in the SOS after-school program. He established a nonprofit corporation, Students for Other Students, to fund the program he began more than 20 years ago.
Cauffiel reported that the SOS program has received funds from the Rotary Clubs in Northwest Ohio and numerous other local companies and organizations.
“I want to raise some big money for this program,” Cauffiel said.
He plans to approach educational foundations and philanthropic organizations for grants and donations with the goal of raising $1 million per year for the SOS program.
Since its inception, Cauffiel reported the peer tutoring has been applied in urban, suburban and rural school districts in four Ohio counties, and districts in Illinois, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Rhode Island.
Cauffiel said the program pays older, academically bright students to tutor younger, struggling students in need of assistance in their studies. Paying students up to $8 per hour to tutor their peers has proven to be a win-win for both tutors and students, he said.
Struggling students learn new effective study habits from their contemporaries, while tutors serve as role models who communicate to students in their language as opposed to the more formal style of adults.
By being paid, tutors experience responsibility and the satisfaction of earning money using their mental skills, Cauffiel said.
“It has changed the lives of thousands of children who for various reasons found learning difficult in the public school environment. Many of those students were at risk of falling through the cracks of society,” he said.
He first introduced the program to Perrysburg Schools in 1989 when the district became the original adopter. It has used the tutoring program annually, according to Kadee Anstadt, director of teaching and learning for the district.
Anstadt reported the district is helping about 135 middle and high school students with the SOS program funded by Cauffiel and additional students at the elementary level with a similar program funded by the Perrysburg Rotary Club.
Seventy-eight students participated in the SOS program in Springfield Local Schools during the 2009-2010 school year.
With the help of 42 high school student tutors, the third through fifth graders earned an average gain of 13 percent in test scores.
The Springfield district used title funds to assist with the program as the total number of students needing the tutoring service was larger than normal, according to a report filed by Todd Cramer, director of instruction and technology for the district.
Cauffiel was honored by the Springfield Schools at its May 25 meeting for funding the SOS program in the district for 21 years, said board president Kenneth Musch. They presented Cauffiel with three posters signed by 78 students expressing their appreciation for the program.
Evergreen Local Schools used the SOS program to provide tutoring to 33 elementary students during the 2009-2010 school year.
Preliminary results from the Ohio Achievement Assessment confirmed the strides students at Evergreen Elementary School in Metamora are making with the SOS tutoring program, according to Principal Scott Lockwood.
“We just finished another after-school program for this school year with 58 students enrolled. We’re very grateful to Mr. Cauffiel for his support,” Lockwood said.
The SOS program helped to provide student tutors from Evergreen High School for one-to-one tutoring in 30-minute study periods.
Bedford Public Schools in Monroe County has used the SOS program every year since 2004 to tutor approximately 10-15 students in grades K-5 for one hour five days a week at Jackman Road Elementary School. The program began in November and ran through the end of the school year.
“It has been a powerful program for us and we have seen a substantial increase in reading assessment scores with better attitudes toward their studies and classroom performance,” said Janice Gibson, reading specialist at Jackman Road Elementary.
Cauffiel said Toledo Public Schools used the SOS program in the past at Burroughs, Glendale-Fielbach, Nathan Hale, and Whittier schools with tutors from Libbey, Start and Waite high schools. He said that only some TPS Schools continued the program due to a lack of funds for the after-school program that requires a teacher to coordinate it.
Burroughs Elementary School in Toledo Public Schools provided 3,487 hours of tutoring to students in grades three through six during the 25-week program in 2009-2010, according to a report filed by the school.
Whittier Elementary had fifth graders tutoring second and third graders with the SOS program, eliminating the need for high school students to travel to that school. The tutored students who had previously failed the Ohio Proficiency Test raised their average score in five months to the accelerated or above-average proficient range, according to Cauffiel.
The inspiration for SOS came when Cauffiel was a freshman at Libbey High School in danger of failing algebra. A math teacher introduced him to an older student who tutored him in algebra and helped him become a math and engineering whiz, Cauffiel said.
Cauffiel is founder and CEO of Cauffiel Technologies in Toledo, which serves the steel processing industry around the world. He has established five subsidiaries and holds 25 patents.
“Like most businesspeople, I still have a burning desire to continue to prosper. But why make more money unless you have a noble objective? With the SOS program, I’ve tried to create a legacy from which children all across the country can benefit,” he said.
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