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Volunteers sought for Clayton tutoring program

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

A tutoring program for Clayton County students is in danger of not taking off, if volunteers do not come forward, according to one of the program's organizers.

The program is the product of a partnership among the University of Georgia Clayton Archway Partnership, Clayton County Public Schools, Clayton State University, and the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department. It is scheduled to begin Oct. 26, and last through May 12, 2011.

According to Clayton Archway Professional Gail Webb, Clayton County middle and high school students would be tutored in core academic areas, including language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. But, Webb also said no volunteers had signed up to be tutors, as of Monday.

"We're trying to get enough volunteers to do tutoring ... because we can't do any tutoring, if we don't have tutors," Webb said. "We're hoping some people will sign up soon, though. We've had some people say they plan to volunteer, but they haven't registered, yet."

Webb said a decision could be made as early as next week about whether the tutoring program will, in deed, take place this year. The decision will be based on the number of volunteers who have signed up by that point, she said.

Clayton County Public Schools Director of Special Projects Delphia Young, who is also working on the program, said the tutoring program will essentially work by having people in the community, who are knowledgeable in a particular subject, work with students to help them succeed in school.

"This is a good way for schools, and the communities they serve, to work together," Young said. "It's an opportunity to reach children within their own community."

Webb said all volunteers will have to go through a two-hour training course, which will be provided by the school system and the Archway Partnership.

According to Young, volunteers will have to clear a "rigorous" criminal background check, conducted by local law enforcement officials, to serve as tutors. The school system's web site, www.clayton.k12.ga.us/, also states that volunteers must have completed at least two years of college course work.

If enough people sign up to be volunteers, tutoring will take place at the Jim Huie Recreation Center, at 9045 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro, and the Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, at 1475 East Fayetteville Road, in Riverdale. The tutoring will be available from 5:30 p.m., to 7:30 p.m., on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week.

Young said parents will be responsible for getting their children to, and from, the tutoring sessions.

Webb and Young said they will be consulting with Clayton State's AmeriCorps chapter, which has been conducting its own tutoring program in Clayton County high schools in recent years. Young said AmeriCorps members can volunteer as tutors in the Archway Partnerships' program, although they will not be required to do so.

Volunteer, and student participation forms can be downloaded from the Clayton County Public Schools web site. Completed forms should be faxed to the UGA Clayton County Extension Office, where Webb is located, at (770) 473-5438. The extension service office is located at 1262 Government Circle, in Jonesboro.

For more information, call (770) 473-3945.