HOPE volunteer seeks reinstatement of one-on-one mentoring

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To the Editor,

I have only been a resident of Tecumseh for 20 months but in that time I’ve volunteered at Patterson Elementary School both in a classroom and with the HOPE reading program.

I was completely shocked and disappointed that the HOPE program has been terminated from the Tecumseh Schools system.

These students obviously needed a little “one-on-one” help with their reading skills. Being a mentor for this program brought me great joy, especially seeing students looking forward to meeting with their mentors four times each week. Each student was taken out of their classrooms for 30 minutes to work on their reading skills.

It has been proven time and time again that classroom distractions hold these students back as they sometimes have difficulty concentrating in the regular classroom environment.

Trying to now do all this special reading within the classroom environment I feel is going to be a big mistake, one that will be regretted down the line.

We mentors were, of course, not given the chance to express our feelings or to offer any input when this decision was made… nor were the HOPE coordinators at the schools. We were just told that the program was being dissolved. Many of us have retired from other school districts and have first-hand knowledge of the success of such reading programs across the country.

The school district has told us they hope our “talents” can be used in other ways when school resumes this fall. Many of these mentors have been with the HOPE program since its inception and they expressed to me what joy they have found watching these students “graduate” out of the HOPE program and back into their classrooms for their reading activities.

I believe it’s been proven time and time again that without proper reading skills no one is going to excel when it comes time to enter into society. Reading is the backbone of our educational existence.

I just wanted to state my case for reinstating the HOPE program back into our elementary schools (even though it won’t happen).

Ginger Poczatek

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