Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sorority starts tutoring program

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The sorority club is back.
'The hiatus is over,' said Ethel Flowers of the Delta Sigma Theta Temple branch. 'We're getting back on track.'
As a community service project, DST has adopted Meridith-Dunbar Elementary School in Temple.
'We are all educated African American women, most of us went to Meridith,' Ms. Flowers said. 'So we want to see these students succeed like we did. And they only way they're going to do that is get their grades up.'
So to improve TAKS scores and classroom performance, DST has launched an after-school tutoring program. Focusing on reading, writing and math, it meets 3:30-4:15 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in a classroom by the gym.
'All the curriculum is provided by the district,' said Veronica Moten, the Delta sister who initiated the sorority's adoption of Meridith-Dunbar. 'Students will be identified by counselors and teachers according to academic need.'
The tutors are the 16 women of the Delta sorority.
'It's a fine community service effort,' said member Paula Townsend.
To qualify as tutors, the DST sisters had to learn how to teach the curriculum from a Meridith-Dunbar instructional aide.
'And we had to have background check,' Ms. Flowers said.
That's routine for anyone who works within the Temple school district, both professionals and volunteers.
'We aim to finish out the school year, taking turns switching out the time slots,' Ms. Flowers said. 'The ration is one volunteer to three students.'
The tutoring program is for all grades, PK-3.
'The goal is to have them at the level they need to be at by May,' Ms. Moten said. 'We're going to practice with them together until they get it right.'
About five children attended the first tutoring day on Oct. 5. All of the youngsters were working on their ABCs.
'Not all of the students have been identified yet,' said Ms. Moten - who also works as the school's physical education teacher. 'In a few weeks, there'll be enough kids here to fill the room.'
The tutoring room is called the Delta room. Posters with reading tips and math hints hang on the chalkboards. And like the outfits the four volunteer tutors wore, the posters and signs were in red.
'Red's the sorority color,' Ms. Flowers said, smiling. 'Goes good with purple.'
Purple is the school color for Meridith-Dunbar.
So far the tutors are enjoying the project.
'It's very self-fulfilling,' said member Paula Townsend of Temple.
Cecilia Curtis of Temple nodded.
'It's a great way to use my knowledge to help others,' Ms. Curtis said. 'I'm grateful to have the chance to be able to give back to the community.'
And the project has breathed new life to the club.
'We're remembering what it means to be a Delta sister,' Ms. Flowers said.
The bylaws of Delta Sigma Theta call for a commitment to economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health and political awareness and involvement.
'Adopting Meridith puts us in the arena for a lot of those areas,' Ms. Flowers said. 'We're seeing how useful we can be.'
Clubs or individuals wanting to join in the tutoring effort at Meridith-Dunbar are welcome to contact the school or Ms. Flowers at 780-7703.
'It's a great program, and we can always use help,' Ms. Flowers said. 'Great things are always accomplished by a lot of heads focused on one thing.'

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