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CLASE celebrates students, family and friends at annual Parent Night

Kathryn Kao

May 19, 2016

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Earlier this month, the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education's Tutoring and Mentoring (CLASE T&M) program culminated in a Parent Night celebration where University of Georgia volunteers, students, family and friends celebrated the accomplishments of the program's spring 2016 student participants.

CLASE's Tutoring and Mentoring program is a two-day-a-week after school enrichment program targeting third- to fifth-grade English learners at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School in Athens, Georgia. The program matches volunteer tutors and mentors from UGA with elementary students to build their motivation and confidence, as well as their academic achievement.

The program's undergraduate volunteers deliver a combination of homework help and enrichment activities centered on educational play and the development of higher order thinking skills.

"Parent Night allowed CLASE supervisors to formally recognize not only students, but also the parents of those students and the university volunteers who made it all possible," said Will Mira, a doctoral student in the department of educational psychology and a CLASE T&M volunteer. "Overall, this event was a resounding success in that it brought everyone together to eat and spend time as a big family."

At the beginning of the semester, CLASE students and their university tutors started a semester-long project designed to help bring students' home culture into the school. During the Parent Night celebration, students showed off their academic projects, which ranged from demonstrations of working volcanoes to board games and posters outlining some of the world's most famous historical sites.

These projects were displayed in a science fair-type atmosphere in which guests were able to move through the cafeteria to observe each student's work.

At the end of the night, both students and volunteers received an official CLASE certificate of accomplishment. Additionally, three guests won raffle prizes which included a CLASE bag, water bottle and a child development book by CLASE's executive director Pedro Portes titled "Making Kids Smarter: A Guide for Developing and Teaching Children Successfully."

The next group of CLASE students will join the center's tutoring program in the fall. Undergraduate and graduate volunteers in the program act as role models for these students while at the same time gaining valuable, real-world experience.