SESF Sponsors Tutoring Program
The write up in the Union failed to mention that David is an SESF Board Member and the SESF is sponsoring his work.
Nevada County resident launches community-based tutoring program
When David Pistone started a student tutoring program while working for Intel more than 10 years ago, he felt it was an opportunity for him and the company to help local schools in the Folsom area educate kids who had fallen through the cracks.
Pistone enjoyed the work so much, he has made it his life’s passion.
“I left Intel two years ago to do this type of stuff,” he said. “I liked what I was doing, but I had seen a lot of issues in the educational community and things that were just not working very well, and I wanted to do more than just complain about it.”
As a longtime resident of Nevada County, Pistone got his teaching credential and began substitute teaching in local schools. In recent years, Pistone has come to the conclusion that students are being left behind academically at a young age, and never given the support to catch up.
“When kids even in the younger ages start getting behind, the schools can’t stop to say ‘What’s going on here?’” Pistone said. “They’re either left to go get tutors, which a lot of them can’t afford, or they just get left behind and sit in the class and just kind of sit around.”
“The intent here is rather than put Band-Aids on it in middle school and high school, let’s go back and prevent it from happening.”
Community-based tutoring program
At Lyman Gilmore Middle School in Grass Valley, Pistone has launched Community Led Assistance for Student Success, also referred to as CLASS, a one-on-one tutoring program focused on helping students, grades fifth through eighth, that are having academic issues in school.
Pistone says that unlike other tutoring programs, CLASS tutoring sessions will be solely provided by local, vetted community members willing to volunteer a morning or afternoon out of their day to help a student.
“There’s a lot of programs that come and go that try to fix educational issues, and everybody’s looking for the overnight success and it’s just not going to happen,” Pistone said. “I think the stuff we’re doing will hopefully show some results, but it’s going to be a long-term type of thing.”
Pistone said the focus on the younger grades comes from his observations as a high school substitute math teacher.
According to Pistone, the level of progress when comparing advanced placement courses and regular courses in high school is quite vast, and students in the latter seem to be on an irreversible path.
“The intent here is rather than put Band-Aids on it in middle school and high school, let’s go back and prevent it from happening,” Pistone said.
“That’s what the purpose for this is. It’s to say ‘Let’s go in and start at the very beginning and let’s make sure that when kids start to fall through the cracks, let’s do something to intervene and pull them back up again.’”
While Pistone plans to spread the CLASS program to several schools throughout the county, the program is launching at Lyman Gilmore and began its first tutoring session this past week.
Lyman Gilmore Principal Chris Roberts says he welcomes any program into his school that he feels will benefit his students’ academic performance and get the community involved in the process.
“Because we are in program improvement, we’re always looking to add that extra support for our kids,” Roberts said. “In this situation, our big goal is to help kids that are struggling academically. Those students that are at basic and below basic, just to get them to proficient or advanced, this is just one more piece to get those kids back on track.”
In order to enlist more community support, in collaboration with Ghidotti Early College High School and Nevada Union High School, high school students participating in CLASS may qualify to use their volunteer time as part of their senior projects and mandatory volunteer hours.
While high school students are encouraged to participate, Pistone is looking specifically for local professional adults to step up and get involved.
“Getting folks from places like Telestream, The Union and the city of Grass Valley is the ideal,” Pistone said. “Just getting more and more community members into the schools and helping students succeed is what the long-term goal is.”
CLASS tutoring sessions will run two hours before school and three hours after school, and initial subjects that will be covered include math, English and language arts.
Pistone says volunteers may choose their schedules, but are required to undergo a background check and sign a contract confirming that they will show up to their appointments with students as promised.
“This is something that we think will be beneficial to the community and helpful to get people into the schools to make a difference,” Pistone said.
For more information on becoming a tutor with the CLASS program, contact Pistone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.