Whether you’ve got a precocious pre-schooler or an overwhelmed college freshman, these organizations offer support beyond the classroom
Savvy parents and students know that a lot of learning takes place well outside the classroom — and we’re not just talking about hitting the books after hours at the dining room table. From free tutoring services to little-known scholarship opportunities, there’s a veritable library of educational support programs out there for growing young minds. Check out this list for ways to power up your children’s educational experience — and move your striving student to the head of the class.
What you need: A scholarship to preschool
What you should do: Call the United Way of Southern Nevada’s Tuition Assistance Preschool Scholarships hotline at 892-2361 in mid-June
What you’ll get: The folks at the United Way of Southern Nevada know the importance of a strong educational foundation. They’ve got studies! According to their research, students who are performing well by the third grade will generally go on to graduate from high school on time. This is why the United Way has brought HighScope, a child-initiated active learning program — think high-octane preschool — to 18 early childhood education centers in the valley. But that’s not all: The United Way’s Tuition Assistance Preschool Scholarships have 350 scholarships available annually for Nevada preschoolers. The roughly $3,000 scholarships cover half of the annual preschool tuition due. Qualifying families must meet federal poverty guidelines, have one full-time working family member, and agree to volunteer 100 hours at their child’s preschool. The next round of scholarships is available July 1.
Extra credit: The United Way also has Family Engagement Resource Centers in five Vegas schools, including Silverado, Eldorado, Sunrise Mountain, Western and Clark. These centers function as cozy places for students to put in extra studying, get tutoring or even to find solace from the pressures of high school.
What you need: Homework help
What you should do: Go to lvccld.org, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s surprisingly awesome website
What you’ll get: A live tutor to walk you through that math or science problem that has you stuck. These BrainFuse teachers are available daily 1-10p to help students in preschool through to college — even those enrolled in adult education courses. There are also online practice tests to help sharpen your skills. You can even upload your English papers to the site and, within 24 hours, a teacher will read and return it to you with suggestions for improvement. Literary classics are also available in Ebook form, so the whole class can check out the same book at the same time, meaning no more running all over town in search of that last precious copy of “East of Eden.”
Extra credit: In April, 77 percent of students surveyed said that the library’s BrainFuse service helped them to improve their grades, and 88 percent said that it gave them more confidence in their school work. To access these tools, all you need is a library card. (Students under 15 years of age will need a parent’s signature.)
[HEAR MORE: Who will lead the school district now? Hear a discussion on KNPR's State of Nevada.]
What you need: Pencils, eyeglasses, a meal or any number of things to ensure kids stay focused and succeed in school
What you should do: Pop into the Communities in Schools of Nevada resource room at your high school, before, during or after school
What you’ll get: Part of America’s leading drop-out prevention program, Communities in Schools will connect you with the community resources you need to graduate, whatever those needs may be. “We offer snacks, access to the food pantry, clothing, hygiene products, school supplies and a caring ear,” says Jenni Lopardo, site coordinator at Chaparral High School. Their coordinators can also hook you up with tutors, behavioral assistance, medical help and more. Their resource rooms can be found in 12 different schools in Southern Nevada and three in Northeastern Nevada. They also have coordinators working in certain elementary and middle schools. Can’t find them in your school? Consult your guidance counselor.
Extra credit: Like many students throughout the valley, Rancho High School senior Ty Gonzalez depended heavily on the assistance of CISN. “Without Communities In Schools, I wouldn’t be standing where I am today, getting ready to graduate.”
What you need: Academic support at UNLV
What you should do: Check out UNLV’s Academic Success Center on Facebook
What you’ll get: An up-to-date, subject-specific tutoring schedule. The Academic Success Center offers tutoring at no additional cost, six days each week during the school year and five days a week in summer. Tutoring for your more common subjects, like math, chemistry, Spanish, biology and accounting, is available pretty much all the time. For more specialized subjects, like Japanese or organic chemistry, see the schedule. Tutors — current students who have been recommended by faculty and selectively screened by staff — meet UNLV students in a corner of the library on the second floor for drop-in labs where students are grouped by subject to work together with the help of the tutors. Commonly, supportive study groups and friendships develop as a result of these sessions.
Extra credit: In April alone, there were more than 2,000 visits to the tutors’ corner of the library. Academic success coaching is also available for incoming students. Mentors will review course selections with you, suggest techniques for studying and offer counsel. To get your own personal “academic” trainer, contact the Academic Success Center through Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you need: Scholarships for your higher education
What you should do: Visit the Public Education Foundation at ccpef.org and click on “Scholarships”
What you’ll get: A good shot at taking a bite out of the high cost of college. Since 1994, the Public Education Foundation has doled out more than 4,200 scholarships, totaling $9,000,000, to Southern Nevada seniors heading to college, either in-state or out-of state. Today, it’s got more than 140 different scholarships available, ranging from $500 to $10,000, provided by local businesses and organizations, community leaders, individuals and families. The criteria can include academic or athletic accomplishments, planned areas of study, enrollment at a particular high school or financial needs. Review committees select recipients based on applications, then recipients are notified and invited to a fancy scholarship recognition luncheon where recipients and donors have the chance to meet each other before the students head off to conquer the collegiate world. To apply, you’ll need to submit a transcript detailing the first-semester grades of your senior year, a personal essay, letters of recommendation and an online application form.
Extra credit: This year, 440 scholarships totaling more than $920,000 were awarded to 333 local seniors. Both Erica Bennett from East Career and Technical Academy and Kayle Anowlton from Foothill High School received the coveted Opportunity Scholarship (from an anonymous donor) valued at $60,000.
“Look and see which ones you qualify for and start writing those essays now,” suggests Clarice Donnelly, PEF’s Grants and Scholarships Coordinator. Next year’s applications must be submitted by February 2014, but will be accepted as early as November.