High schoolers flank the wall near the entrance of the cafeteria at Hazel Dell Elementary. One by one they pair up with second graders and find a spot at one of the long tables. First up: Breathing exercises to enhance focus. Next: From blue zippered pouches they pull out yellow skill cards and books with titles like The Perfect Picnic, Ants on a Log and All About Sharks. After a half hour, the high schoolers say goodbye to their pupils and board the bus that will return them to Hudson’s Bay High School. Three times per week they repeat this.
These tutoring sessions are an ongoing partnership between Hazel Dell Elementary and Hudson’s Bay High School’s early childhood class. The partnership started earlier in the school year, organized by Shanna Baird, Hazel Dell’s family-community resource coordinator, and Hudson’s Bay teacher Courtney Vien, with support from Noah Levine.
Second grader Roosevelt Marshall says he likes working with his tutors and enjoyed reading The Drip and Taking Care of Meli. A love of reading is one of many positive outcomes of the experience.
Senior Chloe Larimore is considering becoming a teacher and views the tutoring sessions as a good opportunity for both students. “They get to look up to a bigger peer, like myself, and experience something new,” she said.
“It’s really nice that we get to work with the students,” said Jennifer Garcia, a junior. “I really like making a connection with them and knowing that I’m going to help them learn,” she said.
Garcia also experienced a homecoming of sorts. She attended Hazel Dell for third through fifth grades and was excited to return. “This was an amazing school,” she said. “I have the most memories here, and it’s just a great environment.”