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Teen tutorials

LOHS students make Monday homework help day
by: barb randall Colleen Condon helps Silas Brady make corrections on an assignment. The two work together afterschool each Monday.

Most parents of elementary school students wouldn't be too keen on the idea of their children hanging out with high school students after school. However parents of fifth- and sixth-graders at Oak Creek Elementary are encouraging their students to do just that.

They want their children to take advantage of the opportunity to get help with homework from some of Lake Oswego High's brightest students. Oak Creek principal Karen Lachman, LOHS National Honor Society adviser Beth Elliot and Jane Lierman, one of Oak Creek's four 5-6 grade team teachers, organize the program.

'We have 18 students who are committed to coming to Oak Creek each Monday after school to help with homework,' Lierman said. The program is set up in six- or seven-week terms so that high school students don't have to commit to a whole year, unless they wish to do so.

The homework sessions begin with a snack while Lierman reviews what work each student needs to focus on during the session. She pairs each student with a tutor, and then it's time to get down to work.

'We try to have the same students working together each week,' Lierman said. 'We try to make it consistent to reinforce mentoring and to build relationships. The teens are role models for the younger students. From them they are learning the value of working hard on their schoolwork.'

'I love it,' said parent Emilia Adrangi, whose fifth-grade daughter Melina participates in the program. 'We so appreciate the extra help. I've noticed a great improvement in my daughter's grades. She is so motivated. The teens really get the kids motivated. I wish it met more often than once a week.'

She said homework sessions at home are modeled after the regime followed during the tutoring sessions.

LOHS student Tasha Jocz, who herself attended Oak Creek, has been a tutor with the program for two years.

'I like to tutor,' she said. 'It's fun to work with students and help them complete their work. You usually get the same student, unless someone is sick.'

Fifth-grader Matthew Campbell said he liked getting help from the high school students. 'You get your homework done, and they make it easier,' he said.

Sixth-grader Ryan Titus agreed. 'They help you do it right,' he said.

Fifth-grader Ado Omerovic said staying for the homework session helped him with managing his time and responsibilities between school and sports practices.

'The best part is I don't have any homework tonight! I'm already finished,' he said.

'It's helpful to start the week organized with homework, so I can have time to play, too,' said Tamara Barnett, a sixth-grader.

LOHS senior Will Waterman said he enjoys working with the younger students and felt very comfortable helping them with their assignments. 'Some things - like long division - I have to remember how to do,' he said.

Elliot said she was very pleased to have 18 teens volunteer to help with the program and recognized that they were already juggling busy schedules.

'These are the same kids who are playing sports, acting in the play, taking AP classes, etc.,' she said. 'But they can fit in one more thing each Monday to help the younger students.'

Elliot will soon begin recruiting for the next session of homework club tutors.