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District 218 officials say Shepard, Richard students using lunch-time tutoring

By Laura Bollin

Community High School District 218 officials are reporting that data from the first semester of the 2012-13 school year shows students are using a lunch time tutoring program known as the Cool Place.

The program is offered at all three District 218 schools including Shepard High School in Palos Heights and Richards High School in Oak Lawn. The Cool Place which allows students to get help in any one of 15 subjects including English and driver's education while they eat, and is staffed by part-time and retired teachers.

Students during the first semester logged 17,000 visits, including multiple or regular visits by the same student, officials said. The figure represents an increase of nearly 3,000 visits from last school year, when visits during the first semester numbered 14,243.

Juniors have used the center the most this year with 5,744 visits, compared to 5,613 for sophomores, 3,263 for freshmen and 3,183 for seniors. Most students sought help in mathematics, with 8,450 visits across all grade levels. The second-most visited subject was English, with 5,415 visits.

In a memo to the school board, District 218 director of data assessment Kathleen Gavin stated "the program meets the goal of a high percentage of usage," and that current educational literature says it is important to give students an opportunity to receive tutoring during the school day.

"This support, embedded during the school day, may provide students with increased confidence and motivation to take ownership over the learning," Gavin wrote.