Homework program goes statewide

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2005

After surviving a successful three year run at local schools and libraries, the homework assistance website, first used at 10 Shelby County libraries, is now being offered statewide.

Gov. Bob Riley announced the programs’ statewide adoption last week at the Pelham Public Library where he touted the website as a vital part of Alabama student’s academic success.

&uot;We can transcend the walls of our classrooms,&uot; he said. &uot;Today’s technology offers new ways to improve students achievement and give our children the one-on-one help they need.&uot;

The interactive homework help website, www.homeworkalabama.org, is powered by Tutor.com, a program that connects students to teachers, graduate students and college professors who have passed extensive criminal background checks, Riley said.

Students will be able to access the site seven days a week from 3 p.m. to midnight at any state library or home computer by using their zip code as identification.

A $300,000 federal grant, secured by Alabama Public Library Services, funded the program, which will allow the service to be offered at the 219 public libraries in Alabama.

Tutoring will be available in English, social studies, science and math for fourth graders through college sophomores, and Barbara Roberts, director of the Harrison Regional Library, said the tutors will guide students through their subject matter instead of doing their homework for them.

Roberts added that the program will give all students an opportunity to receive academic help, regardless of their background.

In Shelby County, the program has improved study time at juvenile correction facilities, aided local high school teachers and given adults the opportunity to finish their studies, she said

&uot;This service will help all of our children, because it helps struggling as well as gifted students, students from affluent areas as well as impoverished areas,&uot; she said.

Danielle Whitfield, a 12th grader at Vincent High School, said she helped teach the basics of the program at her school’s library and saw that program was a tremendous help for herself and her classmates.

&uot;I took an advanced placement English course and (the tutors) proofed my essay,&uot; she said.

&uot;If the students of Alabama use it as much as the students at Vincent did, it will be a success.&uot;