Ms. La Rose & Mr. Zguro Marcus Garvey PS 44 Brooklyn, NY
Ms. LaRose has taught for 18 years, and at Marcus Garvey for 4 years. She graduated with a Master’s in Special and General Education from Brooklyn College in 2013. Marcus Garvey has a predominantly African American and Hispanic population, and this classroom, in particular, has a high percentage of English Language Learners and special education students. The classroom integrates special education and mainstream students, which adds an extra challenge to the classroom’s literacy landscape due to the widely varying reading levels.
Ms. Larose’s favorite Children’s Literature author to read to her students is Patricia Polacco. Ms. LaRose shares that her students so look forward to their calls from tutors that they know the tutor schedule better than she does! She most appreciates her students’ opportunity to hold weekly conversations with an adult completely focused on them. This also helps her ELL students practice conversational English. She says she has noticed significant increases in her students’ reading levels. “It’s not only decoding and sight words,” she says. “They’re making inferences, and their comprehension has gotten better.”
“The tutors are completely focused on one individual child at a time, which is wonderful because most of the time I have to work with a lot of students at once.” - Lana LaRose
Mr. Zguro has taught for 25 years at Marcus Garvey. He taught Physical Education for 24 years and due to budget cuts and population drop was placed in the classroom this year where he has excelled. He completed his undergraduate degree at St John’s University in 1990 and complete his Master’s at NY Institute of Technology in 1997. Mr. Zguro and Ms. LaRose’s classroom, in particular, has a high percentage of ELL and special education students, and Mr. Zguro says that TutorMate is ideally suited to meeting this challenge: “Being able to have students who read at Level B tutored alongside students who are at level H is terrific.”
Mr. Zguro has coached the Marcus Garvey basketball team in the local AAA Brooklyn Public School basketball association, winning the championship title three times. He brings a coaching presence and mentality to the classroom, where he teaches with energy and enthusiasm and establishes a strong work ethic with his students.
WHAT MAKES THIS CLASSROOM SUCCESSFUL
The teachers take several steps to ensure students have productive tutoring sessions with their tutors. They have shown exceptional achievement in the following areas:
Scheduling: The teachers carefully block out breakfast times, prep, dismissal, etc, and update the online calendar whenever there are changes to the schedule. Mr Zguro also puts the daily schedule on a dry-erase whiteboard so that the kids can see the schedule as soon as they walk through the door
Student Greeter info: “The unspoken hero in this classroom is Jasiah, our Computer Specialist, who answers every call and then walks and informs his fellow classmates that the call is indeed for them.” -Mr Zguro.
Classroom management:“The kids all know not to interrupt a tutoring session and nobody bothers the students when they’re on. They also know that once Jasiah taps them on the shoulder, it’s their turn. We put the TutorMate station in the corner of the room – if we’re doing something super loud, we will at times make the area “sound proof” by positioning our dry erase board A-Frame writing easels that we normally use during the class around the tutoring computer. We still have a visual on the kids, but it knocks some of the volume down.” -Mr. Zguro
Teacher-Tutor Messaging: Messages tutors whenever unexpected events cause students to be unavailable
Frequency of Reading Stage Updates: The teachers update their student's reading stages on a regular basis.
Reading Stage Growth: “All of the kids have improved. Some of them have made dramatic improvements. At this age, a bit of extra attention can help the kids make massive jumps.” – Mr. Zguro
Teacher Responsiveness: Ms. LaRose and Mr. Zguro take attendance in TutorMate every day: “The tutors are busy professionals – we don’t want to waste anybody’s time. If the kids aren’t in the classroom, we want the tutors to know so they don’t have to call at their scheduled time and can plan to do something else.” – Mr. Zguro