Making Sure that Each Student Has a Good Experience
FEBRUARY 16, 2021 – Bryston Jennings, who is in the first grade at Moore Elementary, is continuing to attend school remotely by going to the remote learning center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.
When he came into the center on Monday Feb. 15, tutor Ah’Nieya Bellamy was on hand to make sure he had everything he needed and to encourage. If he had a question, she helped him find the answer.
The next student to come in was a first-grader at Kimberley Park Elementary. She helped him settle in as well. Students up through fifth grade come into the center.
Bellamy is there for each of them.
Bellamy, who is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is one of 15 tutors helping Winston-Salem/Forsyth County students thanks to the N. C. Education Corps (NCEC) established by the N. C. State Board of Education (SBE) and Office of the Governor.
“NCEC was designed to deploy talented community members to aid school districts with additional student support services, either virtually or in person, beginning in January 2021,” says a press release about the program. “This was a unique opportunity for superintendents to widen the circle of support for students that extended beyond the school doors.”
Bellamy – who is majoring in Communication Studies, with a minor in American Sign Language – will graduate this year.
Bellamy plans to become a School Social Worker one day, and, when she heard about the opportunity, she thought that tutoring would be an excellent way to gain experience working with students.
“I wanted to get a chance to work with kids,” she said.
It’s been a good experience.
“This has really allowed me to grow,” Bellamy said.
“This is my first tutoring job ever. I really appreciate being put here.”
In addition to helping the students learn, she has been learning a lot herself. One thing she has come to appreciate is how important it is to understand that the needs of each student are different and, with that in mind, find out what works best for each student.
“You have to change your approach with each one,” Bellamy said.
Students receive lunch and breakfast if they want it. During breaks, Bellamy and the students might head to the gym at the community center and play.
John Torian is the Senior Recreation Center at the MLK center.
It’s clear that Bellamy loves what she does, Torian said, and the students became comfortable with her right away.
“They have taken to her very well,” he said. “She engages them.”
“She’s great…We are grateful to have her.”
In addition to serving students, this program can have fringe benefits for WS/FCS.
“N.C. Education Corps Tutor positions with WS/FCS are a great way to start a career in education,” said Heather Woodward Employment Recruitment Coordinator for WS/FCS.
“We’ve had some amazing applicants from local college and universities apply to these roles and ultimately join our team. We’ve also seen some excellent applicants from other careers do the same. Though these are short-term assignments lasting either three or six months, we are hoping some team members seek a role with the district full-time upon completion.
After being hired in December, Bellamy went through a training program that included a focus on DEI, which stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion. Bellamy began working with students in January.
Bellamy has another job as well. At UNCG, she serves as a residential advisor.
“I make sure everybody’s experience is good.”
She likes both tutoring and serving as a residential advisor because she likes helping others.
“When I contribute to something positive, that makes me feel good,” she said.
Corps members can also serve school systems in other ways. In addition to serving as tutors, four Corps members are helping district leaders track COVID cases by serving as contact tracers.