Ms. Balbuena Burckhalter Elementary School Oakland, CA
Ms. Balbuena has taught for the Oakland Unified School District for 11 years, and at Burckhalter Elementary School for 6 years. She graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002. She has 25 students in her 1st/2nd grade classroom. To ensure TutorMate is a success in her classroom, Ms. Balbuena chooses and trains student greeters, makes and regularly updates a working schedule, and creates excitement for each tutoring session.
Ms. Balbuena loves having TutorMate in her classroom because her frustrated readers get the opportunity to have fun with reading and have one-on-one attention. All of her enrolled students have improved their reading levels this year. Ms. Balbuena’s favorite children’s literature is anything by Peter H. Reynolds, including Ish, Sky Color and The Dot, because his books allow students to see they can be themselves and be creative.
WHAT MAKES THIS CLASSROOM SUCCESSFUL
Ms. Balbuena takes several steps to ensure her students have productive tutoring sessions with their tutors. She has shown exceptional achievement in the following areas:
Scheduling: Carefully blocks out periods for breakfast, prep, and early dismissal. She updates her online online calendar whenever there are changes to the schedule so the tutors know when not to call.
Student Greeter info: Ms. Balbuena has trained a student to bring the requested tutee to the TutorMate PC when the tutor calls the classroom. The student does this silently, minimizing disruption to the class.
Classroom management: Cultivates helpful habits in her students, such as teaching them to use their tutoring voices and respecting the “Quiet Please” sign.
Teacher-Tutor Messaging: Messages tutors whenever unexpected events cause students to be unavailable.
Frequency of Reading Stage Updates: Updates her students reading stages every two weeks, ensuring they are working at the appropriate reading level with their tutors.
Reading Stage Growth: Most students have grown 5 or more reading stages since they began the school year.
Dan Oaks and his student Pharaoh met for the first time on May 7 after tutoring together for 7 months. Pharaoh has made enormous progress in reading this year, and formed an important bond with Dan, calling him “my best friend.”
Did you know that Ms. Balbuena teaches at an outstanding school? Click here to learn about Burckhalter Elementary!