Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 8:44 am | Fair 54º


San Marcos AAPLE Academy Launches Cyber-Tutorial Program at Underserved Elementary Schools

The Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment (AAPLE) at San Marcos High School has expanded its tutoring program to reach four underserved elementary schools in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

It has taken nearly two years to launch this initiative, which hopes to reach 40 to 60 students weekly via online support in the subjects of reading, vocabulary, oral fluency and math.

“Elementary school students will be paired with an AAPLE Academy freshman, sophomore or junior on a regular basis to ensure consistency and an ongoing connection,” said Erik Nielsen, director of the AAPLE Academy.

Nielsen said he conceived of the program because he recognized a need at the elementary school level to support students, particularly those for whom English is a second language.

“Having older kids helping younger students reflects AAPLE’s core mission of instilling leadership and community service skills in our scholars," he said. "We also hope that we are helping to better prepare future AAPLE Academy applicants.”

The tutoring program, which was made possible by support from the Mosher Foundation, is becoming a signature leadership endeavor of the AAPLE Academy. It started two years ago on a small scale with several high school students coaching Vieja Valley’s fourth-grade Math Superbowl team. The team went on to win the 2012 South Coast Math Superbowl competition. Last year AAPLE Academy students coached all, three Math Superbowl teams at Vieja Valley with one of these teams again winning first place in the county competition. In addition to math, AAPLE tutors taught reading weekly and added Adams Elementary School to its roster last year.

“In an effort to reach more students more efficiently, we created a cyber-tutorial program this year,” explains Dr. Sharon Goldberg, who chairs the AAPLE community service committee.

Using iPads at San Marcos High and laptops at Vieja Valley, Hollister, Adams and El Camino elementary schools, students will utilize an internet platform linked to the AAPLE Academy website. Parent volunteers at San Marcos High and teachers at participating schools will proctor tutoring sessions. In addition, AAPLE tutors will receive instructive training educating them on effective teaching techniques for various age groups.

Nielsen explains that when his academy students tutor, they also learn.

“Tutoring the elementary-school-aged students teaches our academy students how to be effective leaders and better communicators — skills that are vital to success in many career endeavors,” Nielsen said.

Instilling a sense of responsibility to the community is also integral to the leadership aspect of the AAPLE Academy.

Now in its fifth year, the Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment at San Marcos High School is designed to offer the most rigorous four-year academic pathway in the county while simultaneously providing hands-on, leadership and service opportunities for a diverse group of the highest achieving students in the district. In addition, the program provides students with a broad spectrum of opportunities to extend and enrich the classroom experience through guest speakers, theater, summer programming and field trips.

Click here for more information.

— Ann Pieramici represents San Marcos High School.

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