This progress update comes from one of our 2021 Grant Recipients, Eton Academy.
Eton Academy, an independent school located in Birmingham, Michigan, began in 1980 as the Adventure School, a tutoring program for children who found it difficult to succeed in a traditional school setting due to learning and attention issues. In 2016, Eton founded the Hartmann-Eton Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). The CTL allows Eton to share its expertise with the broader community through the use of the Eton Approach®, a proprietary teaching method that looks at students as individuals and develops techniques based on their specific learning challenges.
During the 2016-17 school year, Eton’s CTL began providing free tutoring services, one Saturday per month, at the Parkman Branch of the Detroit Public Library system. They did this because they recognized the cost of tutoring was prohibitive to families of lower socio-economic status and aimed to combat that barrier. The positive response from the community and increased academic performance of the families that the program served demonstrated its potential for far-reaching success.
Then the pandemic occurred, and all the reasons why 1:1 tutoring to address students with specialized learning needs skyrocketed. Thus, Eton’s CTL, through the Impact 100 grant, launched its project: The Post-Pandemic Learning Recovery Initiative.
The Post-Pandemic Learning Recovery Initiative was designed to alleviate worry and provide families with a no-cost, effective solution to move students forward through individualized and targeted instruction in a 1:1, in-person setting.
So how has Eton’s Post-Pandemic Learning Recovery Initiative progressed since receiving the grant and now that we are at the halfway mark?
In a word, remarkably.
They have successfully launched the no-cost tutoring program at 7 libraries (Brandon Township Public Library, Walled Lake City Library, Hazel Park District Library, Holly Township Library, Oak Park Public Library, Auburn Hills Public Library, and Wixom Public Library).
The starting goal was 10 Oakland County libraries, but they were logistically unable to achieve this due to scheduling issues and post-pandemic caution. A few libraries were hesitant to return to in-person tutoring sessions and the initial collaboration was more time-intensive than anticipated.
Despite this hurdle, the Post-Pandemic Learning Recovery Initiative incorporated additional tutoring hours into the libraries that they were already serving and had the most need (Brandon Township Public Library, Hazel Park District Library, and Wixom Public Library).
Now that the program has been established for a year, the Post-Pandemic Learning Recovery Initiative plans to expand number of tutors and numbers of students served.
There is also a new Project Manager that has been hired who will maintain the current momentum of the project.
The Project Manager is delighted to report that beginning in January 2023, they will be adding the Pontiac Public Library, the Farmington Community Library, and the Troy Public Library– hitting the original goal of 10 libraries participating!
The program has served approximately 150 families to date, and 98% report positive experiences in both engagement and students’ academic performances.
Here is an example of a success story as reported by one of the Eton tutors at the Wixom Public Library:
“The 5th grade student that I have been tutoring came to us struggling with fractions. He was failing his math quizzes and felt demoralized. As I met him for our first session at the Wixom Public Library, he explained to me that he didn’t enjoy math at all and didn’t believe he would ever be good at it. After just 2 weeks of tutoring (4 total sessions), he now understands fractions, is able to add, subtract, and multiply them, and can convert between mixed and improper fractions. Most importantly, his self-confidence has returned and that he CAN do it! He also no longer has as much anxiety towards math as before and is even beginning to enjoy doing problems!”
Congratulations to The Post-Pandemic Learning Recovery Initiative for achieving and surpassing its original goals. The well-rounded approach of working with students 1:1 in a community setting will have untold benefits for children both academically and socially. Thank you, Eton Academy, for helping kids see how libraries can become sanctuaries in a post-pandemic world.