Recent DCPS graduates return to classroom as tutors

D.C. high school graduate Chenier Beale works as a tutor in Pre-K class and reads to a student, Monday, March 20, 2017 (Kellye Lynn/ABC7 )

D.C. high school graduate Chenier Beale works as a tutor in Pre-K class and reads to a student, Monday, March 20, 2017 (Kellye Lynn/ABC7 )

WJLA ABC 7 reports that a new program is offering a pipeline of recent DCPS male graduates of color to participate in a strict and innovative literacy intervention. According to Program Coordinator Antwan Perry The Leading Men Fellowship program is a nine month fellowship where graduates work in a DC Pre-K, 3 or 4 classroom to focus specifically on literacy. 

Eighteen-year old Chenier Beale began working in a pre-kindergarten classroom only a few months after graduating from Eastern High School in Northeast Washington. "It's just played a big part in changing my view on what I want to do with myself," he told ABC7 News.

The literacy tutors follow a structured curriculum as they help prepare young students for kindergarten. Before the fellows step into the classroom they must undergo one week of summer training and continue to be coached and monitored while they serve as tutors. Ashley Johnson is Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Literacy Lab; an organization that trains the fellows. 

"About 40 hours of intensive training. That's followed then by about another 60 hours of training throughout the school year to learn how to work with young children, how to implement the interventions, do the assessments, and interpret that data," Johnson offered.

C.W. Harris Elementary Principal Heather Hairston appreciates the extra assistance. "The fact that we have an additional teacher, an additional person working with students to provide them with supports in the early grades is very, very helpful," she said.

The tutors are paid $13.85 an hour and upon completion of the program receive a $5,000 scholarship. "We hope that some of the fellows, if not all, will perhaps be inspired to want to become early childhood education teachers themselves," Perry added.

Beale isn't sure if he'll pursue a career in teaching, but enjoys having an impact. "My presence in the classroom has really made a difference on the kids and I like that; so I want to continue on making a difference," he said. Read more here.