Jacksonville schools launch TutorMate partnership with JP Morgan Chase

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Duval County Public Schools has teamed with Innovations for Learning and JP Morgan Chase to connect volunteer reading tutors with students over the Internet, the districtannouncedtoday, the third annual  National Digital Learning Day.

Seventy volunteers from Chase are dialing into first-grade classrooms in seven of the district’s elementary schools to share an interactive reading session with students using Skype technology and Innovations’ TutorMate program.

Employees are paired with a first-grade student and volunteer 30 minutes of their time, once a week, to read with them from wherever they have a computer and access to the internet. Innovations for Learning provides the technology and software in the classroom to connect students to caring adults throughout the community to help them improve their reading.

“I am looking forward to watching this program grow along with our student success,” said Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti.

“The triumvirate we are forming between the district, IFL, and our leading corporate community partners is an exciting venture with the potential of changing the learning experience for many of our youngest students throughout the district.”

The program is currently in classrooms at Andrew Robinson, Fishweir, Henry F. Kite, Lone Star, R.V. Daniels, San Mateo and Windy Hill elementary schools.

“We are thrilled with the reception the program is receiving at all levels across the district,” said Seth Weinberger, Executive Director and Founder of Innovations for Learning.

“TutorMate enables civic-minded corporate employees to reach directly into the classroom and provide much-needed one-to-one support for youngsters learning to read. Students, teachers, and tutors are excited.

“TutorMate will be made available to more students in the district as awareness for the program grows within the corporate community of Jacksonville.”

One student from Nilda Allen’s classroom at Windy Hill Elementary School summed the benefits of the program: “I like reading with someone. It makes it fun!”

“The students really enjoy reading with the tutors on TutorMate and are excited when their tutor calls,” said LaToya Jackson, first grade teacher from Henry F. Kite Elementary School.

The Chase volunteers also see the value of the partnership.

“Faith was excited and engaged while reading and doing the activities,” one volunteer said of his student. “She was even able to recognize rhyming words and appears to be using different word strategies to help her sound out different words. Both of us are looking forward to next week’s session.”

Michael Butler, market president for JP Morgan Chase  said “supporting this program is very rewarding and important work for us.”

“The stronger our students get, the stronger our communities get,” he added.

To learn more about the program and how your organization can become involved, contact Kim Whitten, Innovations for Learning Executive Director of Florida, at kim@innovationsforlearning.org.

Duval County Public Schools is one of the nation’s largest school districts, serving 125,000 students in over 160 schools.

Here’s the district’s press release:

DCPS – TutorMate Launch

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