New online tutoring program keeps Fort Worth kids from falling behind

LaTres Cole’s students were struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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She’s the principal at Sunrise-McMillan elementary in Fort Worth’s Stop 6 neighborhood, and she says 96% of her students are counted as economically disadvantaged.

“I just think that we need to be given a chance,” Cole said. “We may not have as much as other schools may have but the ability is there.”

With students learning online, there was fear they’d fall further behind.

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Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks leads the National Association of Black County Officials, and the group provided a $25,000 grant for a new online tutoring program aiming to not only keep kids from falling behind but improve their performance.

Kelly Carson’s son Jeremiah was selected to be part of an after-school tutoring program that just started last week.

“We have to keep them sharp with everything that’s going on right now, we want to make sure they get the best education that they can,” Carson said. “He interacts more. I mean I already see a difference.”

It’s a year-long program that will tutor 25 first graders at Sunrise-McMillan in math and reading twice a week with a goal to get them up to grade-level standards.

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“I’d rather look at growth than just looking at achievement,” Cole said.

“I would like to see more of the kids in this program if possible,” Carson said. “I feel like it’s a really essential tool that can help them get over the bar if they’re lacking.”

Roy Brooks said he hopes churches, businesses and other community groups will donate to help the program expand.

“We have to start somewhere and hopefully that 25 will encourage other individuals when they see the success of the program to want to kind of follow in those same footsteps,” Cole said.

Sunrise-McMillan is a low-performing school, but Cole and Carson say the community is committing to fixing that.

“Everyone wants the schools around here to do well. Everyone is willing is put in that extra,” Cole said.

The tutoring program is the chance they wanted at a time they need it most.

“Everybody has to care because they’re out next generation,” Carson said. “They’re our future.”

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