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Mandatory Tutoring Resumes

By Jodie Mozdzer

March 20, 2009

Only about half the students who were originally enrolled in Supplemental Educational Services, the federally mandated tutoring program in Hartford, resumed the service this week.

The district had enrolled about 2,500 students, but only 1,246 were told they could continue the tutoring.

The district suspended tutoring on March 1 (read the Cityline post about it here) while officials figured out if they had enough money to pay for all the students seeking the tutoring services.

Hartford only got enough Title 1 funds to pay for about 1,400 students. The mishap happened because more students than expected applied for the program, and the district signed them all up before it realized it couldn't afford to pay for so much tutoring.

Bethany Silver, the deputy chief academic officer for the Hartford schools, said it picked students to continue tutoring based on academic need.

The district had given estimates to providers about how many students they could afford to pay for. But in February the district reduced that number when they realized too many students were enrolled. One tutoring provider, local arts group Sankofa Kuumba, had used up the reduced amount by March 1.

Christine Dixon-Smith, who runs Sankofa Kuumba, said the organization raised money so it could keep tutoring about 45 students. (That's her at the left, in a photo from Sankofa's Web site, www.sankofakuumba.org)

"When they shut down everyone, Sankofa did not shut down. We did it without the SES funds," said Dixon-Smith, who goes by 'Sister Nandi.'

Dixon-Smith said the tutors took pay cuts, and some volunteered their time. And Sankofa appealed to people for donations to keep the tutoring program going. Sankofa tutors through traditional methods, but also by using theater, dance and music.

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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