continued Romano’s experiences as both a teacher and mother of five prompted her to go ahead with the center.
“I know from experience that particularly eighth- to ninth-grade boys, you’re going to lose them if you don’t do something,” she said.
When she can, Romano recruits tutors from her own family.
“I make my kids, Abby and Anthony, tutor when they’re home from school, because they’re really good at math,” she said. “Whenever they’re home, even on a break, if we’re operating, I tell them, ‘Don’t make any plans. You’re coming to tutor.’”
But with her kids in college, Romano often finds herself short on certain subjects. She generally recruits volunteers by putting up fliers at the church. This year, she stepped up her efforts by sending fliers to some of the schools near the church. That’s also how she gets students.
“We get some regular students, but most of them just come once or twice and then we don’t hear from them again,” she said. “We’re just volunteers. I don’t call people.”
Students are asked to sign up for tutoring times so that Romano knows how many tutors to have on a given afternoon and in which subjects. Participants range in age from elementary school to adult. Tutors help with any homework subject, from math and science to English and social studies. Students taking English as a second language are also welcome, and the center also provides help studying for citizenship and GED exams. Students are required to bring some sort of work with them.
“The rule of tutoring is that they really are supposed to be in a class, or they have something that they’re working on,” Romano said. “We do not do lesson plans. I wouldn’t be able to get the tutors that I get. There are tutors that do prepare stuff at home. As a tutor, I don’t do that. I may go to the library and see if there’s something I can use. I’ve been down to the CYO where they do the intense ESL down there, and BOCES has free ESL classes. A lot of the students are coming from BOCES, and they get all this paperwork and this homework and they bring it here because they don’t understand it, so we help them with that.”