Strong numeracy skills lay the foundation for student success. The ability to solve problems and make sense of numbers, time, patterns, shapes and sequencing are proficiencies required in the classroom and in everyday life. EveryOne Counts ensures that young students in grades kindergarten through third, master the fundamentals of math that includes adding, subtraction, and multiplication. Recognizing that math “builds on itself”, it is important to fully comprehend the basics in order to gain a better understanding of higher mathematical concepts. Volunteers called Math Friends work one-on-one with students who are recommended by their teachers. Often when the classroom teacher needs to move to the next concept, a Math Friend is able to consistently work on the current concept until the student has mastered it. Math Friends take the “anxiety” out of studying math by creating a fun, confidence-building environment.
Math Friends must be 18 years or older, pass a background check, and attend a training. Once volunteers complete these preliminary requirements, they are paired with a student. Volunteers may choose the school for which they wish to serve; however, our North Baton Rouge schools have the most need. Math Friends commit to meet with their student at least once a week throughout the school year for 30-45 minutes depending on the student’s attention span. Following a tutoring session, Math Friends must report their visits to the staff using various digital platforms. We must be assured that students are being serviced as we do not want a participating student to experience another disappointment as a result of a volunteer failing to repeatedly show up.
Volunteers are emailed a weekly guide set by the school district’s curriculum. It outlines what is being taught in the classroom along with ideas for hands-on learning that helps to make the concepts more relevant. Many of our teachers will offer materials they would like the Math Friend to review during the session. Volunteers are invited to attend the monthly Connect meetings that present a deep dive into an area of interest or challenge discussed by our volunteers. These meetings are often led by an education instructor from one of our universities or a Math Specialist from the school district. Most EveryOne Counts schools possess a Math Bin filled with manipulatives such as dominos, playing cards, counters, place value blocks, whiteboards and fraction circles.
EveryOne Counts classroom teachers report that students who receive between 10-15 consistent tutoring sessions from a Math Friend advance from at the beginning of the school year performing below basic to at the end of the school year to performing on the basic and mastery levels.