Services for Students
Tutoring and Homework Help
Why? When Masa moved to Mott Haven in 2006, parents told us over and over: I am struggling to help my children with their homework. For parents who are learning English and, in some cases, have little formal education, supporting their children with homework can be a frustrating – sometimes seemingly impossible – task.
Masa volunteers help students complete their homework and really learn the material, and also teach parents how to support their children’s learning.
What? To support our students’ educational attainment, Masa offers free homework help and tutoring to students of all ages. Volunteer tutors work one-on-one or with small groups of students grouped by grade. Whenever possible, volunteers work with the same students from week to week, nurturing a mentorship relationship between the tutors and their students. This mentoring also helps the parents to learn how to support their children’s education.
Volunteer tutors support students in completing homework thoroughly and well. They also help students develop critical academic and study skills. After homework is done, students read and engage in other educational activities. Tutors also promote parental involvement in the learning process.
High School Readiness Workshops and SHSAT Classes
Why? Choosing a high school in New York City is no easy task. There are lots of options, and it can be difficult to figure out which schools will work best for you and your family.
What? At the request of Masa’s parents, to ensure our middle school students are prepared to apply to local high schools, Masa now offers a series of workshops that familiarize students with City high schools and help them think about the high schools that would work for them. The workshops emphasize setting goals and creating a feasible plan for high school and beyond. We work with families and the Dept of Education to help them make the best choices. In addition, we offer SHSAT preparation classes for middle school students to prepare them for the Specialized High School exam.
CUNY College Application Workshops
Why? Applying to college can be overwhelming, and it is hard to get reliable information.
What? CUNY Admissions counselors describe the process of applying to college, and offer students and parents actionable information, and follow up support.
Why? Opportunities to think and act creatively help Masa students express themselves in new ways, develop their innate inquisitiveness, and relieve stress.
What? In collaboration with FreeArts NYC, Masa has offered an intergenerational arts program, in which whole families work together with facilitators and trained volunteers to develop creative arts projects that require collaboration of ideas and sustained teamwork. During the school year, we plan to offer weekly arts-based workshops as a creative outlet for students.
Why? At Masa, we want our students to be excited – and knowledgeable – about science. We feel strongly that the sciences help students develop a firm grasp on the world around them, including the communities in which they live. Since Summer 2011, we have offered science workshops for all ages during our summer program, and plan to expand this programming during the 2013-2014 academic year. It is worth noting that Latinos, including Mexican-Americans, are sorely underrepresented in the sciences – so we would be thrilled if our programs helped foster the development of future scientists from Masa’s community!
What? Every summer, MASA offers a series of science workshops geared toward exposing students to the sciences, and applying that knowledge to their local community. For example, in 2012, our summer science program focused on environmental science, and culminated with students writing a letter to the local Borough President about a local environmental issue important to them.
Early Childhood Education
Why? Research shows that lifelong success in school starts with a solid early childhood learning experience. To help prepare toddlers for the world of pre-school and kindergarten, Masa runs a weekly playgroup for children aged two to five, as well as a home visitation early literacy program for children 18 months to 30 months.
What? Through simple, age appropriate learning experiences conducted in English and social interactions with their peers, young children gain the foundations needed to succeed in their first years of school. Currently, the playgroup is run every Tuesday. Children aged two to five years are welcome. Parents are welcome to stay with their child and are encouraged to do so.
Services for Parents
Why? Many of the parents of Masa’s students are eager to develop their English skills. Not only do these language skills make navigating local institutions more manageable, but they also allow parents to aid their children with homework.
What? Currently, we offer two weekly ESL courses for parents, both led by TESOL-certified volunteers who generously donate their time to support Masa’s families. Each course targets parents with different literacy levels in Spanish.
Civic Engagement Workshops
Why? Navigating New York City’s local institutions – especially the public school system – can be an overwhelming task for any parent. By providing civic engagement workshops, Masa helps parents develop the knowledge base they need to understand local institutions and advocate for themselves and their children.
What? In collaboration with Advocates for Children, Learning Leaders, the Family Resource Center, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, among other organizations, Masa offers workshops on a variety of topics, including:
- Tenants’ rights
- Immigrants’ rights in New York City
- Understanding the difference between public, private, and charter schools
- Understanding their children’s IEPs