Homework Hotline Thursday March 06 2014

Penn State Berks is the first campus to launch the Penn State Homework Hotline, a pilot program in which math tutors provide free help over the phone or via email. The mission of the program is to provide free math tutoring to high school and middle school students in local school districts. This semester, it is being tested at the campus using the current student population.

Beginning in the fall of 2016, the Homework Hotline will provide tutoring sessions for local middle and high school students by telephone or email on evenings throughout the school year. Penn State New Kensington and Schuylkill also are a part of the program.

Penn State Berks students with strong math skills were hired to serve as tutors and are guiding fellow students through their homework problems by focusing on the terms and processes.

“The goal is not to deliver answers to questions but to provide students with the skills to answer the next question on their own,” said Marietta Scanlon, lecturer in engineering and director of the Penn State Homework Hotline at Penn State Berks. "If we can offer that, and at the same time help students to become more confident in their math abilities, we're providing a great service." 

Jake Latchum, a math teacher from Berks Catholic High School, leads the group of five Penn State Berks student tutors, which includes mechanical engineering majors Michael Bianco, Marie Gervasi, Josh Hawk and Jason Lehrer, and biological engineering major Olivia Fratti. Tutoring is currently held from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and Latchum is present for each session to provide assistance.

Bianco came to the Homework Hotline with prior experience in education, working as a kindergarten teacher at an international school in Japan. “My experience having worked overseas in a bilingual setting helped me to develop the communication skills that are needed,” he said. “As a former liberal arts major, I also have some degree of empathy with those who have the perception that they lack the natural ability to do math.”

The tutors began with training sessions during the first week of the spring semester and went “live” during the second week. The inaugural program focuses on math courses that lead to calculus, such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The goal is for the tutors to gain enough practice to be comfortable working with middle and high school students in the fall semester.

For Gervasi, the training has been challenging, but in a “good way.” She explained that she has always enjoyed tutoring and worked as a math tutor for international students in her high school. “The Homework Hotline has been helpful to me; it has helped me learn what I’m not solid in now," she said. "Sometimes it’s hard for people to ask for help, but once they do, they are glad they called.”

The Penn State Berks Homework Hotline pilot project is being funded by a three-year grant from Carpenter Technologies Inc.

Building on its roots in the field of engineering, Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was the forerunner institution of Penn State Berks. WPI began as a training center for workers of Textile Machine Works in Reading and provided a solid background in engineering, as well as other technical fields of study. Its facilities were offered to Penn State for the establishment of a campus in 1958. Many leaders of local industry are graduates of WPI.

Penn State Berks offers bachelor of science degrees in electro-mechanical engineering technology, mechanical engineering, and information sciences and technology, in addition to 18 other baccalaureate degree programs. Penn State Berks is the only college in Berks County to offer degree programs in engineering.

Rose-Hulman Institute Homework Hotline
The Penn State program is based on the Homework Hotline model designed by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. Founded in 1874, Rose-Hulman prepares students for careers in engineering, science and mathematics. The Penn State campuses have partnered with the institute to replicate aspects of its mathematics and sciences tutoring service.

Rose-Hulman’s Homework Hotline has helped more than 500,000 Indiana students since 1991 through tutoring via toll-free phone calls, emails and online resources. The service, supported by the Indiana-based Lilly Endowment Inc., conducted 33,500 tutoring sessions during the 2014-15 school year.

“We hope this partnership with Penn State will continue to pave the way for other Homework Hotline programs throughout America,” said Susan Smith Roads, director of Rose-Hulman’s Homework Hotline and Learning Center. “The Homework Hotline uses Rose-Hulman students, who are gifted in math and science, and trains them to help secondary students to improve their problem-solving abilities and become more confident in their math skills. Other colleges could do this as well.”

For more information on the Penn State Homework Hotline, contact Scanlon at 610-396-6126 or mrs35@psu.edu. 

Fifer Daily Bulletin for MONDAY, March 12, 2018

This week’s Character Building Word: PERSEVERANCE

This week’s Quote: “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one right after the other."  ~ Walter Elliot


--TSA MEMBERS: If you missed the meeting, please see Mr. Pierce ASAP for the monthly calendar and for some important information.

---Spring Picture Day is on Thursday, March 15th.  All students were given their forms by their 7th period teacher. There are extras in the main office if needed.  

--There will be a Young Gent's meeting in the library after school until 3:30 on Friday, March 16th. Please see Dr. Harmon if you are not going to be at this meeting.

--Rising Starz Flag Football League will be starting 5/5/18.  The groups are broken into three age groups:  9-11 year olds; 12-14 year olds; 15-17 year olds; and 18 and up Men.  Rosters are up to twelve players with 40 minute games. If interested come to the main office for a flyer or call 302-526-9377. The cost is $45 per player. 

All students planning to play sports need to be advised that they are REQUIRED to have current physical as of April 1, 2017 to be eligible for all Fifer Athletic Programs. Click here for valid forms: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/students_family/diaa/forms.shtml

TRACK & FIELD:  3/21 (A) Woodbridge MS; 3/28 (A) Dover Central MS; 4/11 (H) Chipman MS; 4/13 (A) Jim Blades MS Invitational @ Lake Forest HS; 4/18 (A @ Smyrna MS) Tri-Meet; 4/25 (H @ CRHS) Postlethwaite MS; 5/2 (A) Georgetown MS.

GIRLS SOCCER:  3/21 (H) Chipman MS; 3/26 (H) Milford MS; 3/28 (A) Chipman MS; 4/11(A) Dover Central MS; 4/16 (H) Dover AFB MS; 4/18 (H) Smyrna MS; 4/25 (H) Seaford MS; 4/30 (A) Beacon MS; 5/2 (A) Georgetown MS; 5/7 (A) Woodbridge MS; 5/9 (A) Postlethwait.

LACROSSE: 3/26(H) Dover Central MS; 4/11 (H) Caravel Academy; 4/16 (H @ Kent County Rec) Postlethwaite; 4/18 (A @ CRHS) Postlethwaite; 4/23 (A) Mariner MS; 4/25 (A) Beacon MS; 5/2 (A) Dover Central MS; 5/7 (A) Caravel Academy.

BASEBALL:  3/27 (A) Dover AFB MS; 3/29 (H) Chipman MS; 4/9 (A) Selbyville MS; 4/11 (A) Woodbridge MS; 4/16 (H) Georgetown MS; 4/18 (A) Millsboro MS; 4/23 (A) Dover Central MS; 4/25 (H) Sussex Academy; 4/30 (H @ CRHS) Postlethwaite; 5/7 (A) Smyrna; 5/9 (A) Laurel Intermediate MS.

SOFTBALL:  3/27 (A) Dover AFB MS; 3/29 (H) Chipman MS; 4/9 (A) Selbyville MS; 4/11 (A) Woodbridge MS; 4/16 (H) Georgetown MS; 4/18 (A) Millsboro MS; 4/23 (A) Dover Central MS; 4/25 (H) Sussex Academy; 4/30 (H @ CRHS) Postlethwaite; 5/7 (A) Smyrna; 5/9 (A) Laurel Intermediate MS.


Homework Hotline Instructions:  1) Call the school phone number after 4 pm 698-8400; 2) When the message begins, push the room number of the teacher you want to hear; 3) It will ring approximately six (6) times; 4) Listen to the teachers' daily message; 5) If you are interested in another teachers' assignment, push #22; 6) This will take you back to the beginning of the school message; 7) Push the room number of the next teacher you want to hear; 8) Continue this until you have all your assignments to complete.


Home Access: Want to be up-to-date on attendance, missing work, testing results, grades and teacher comments. 1) Go to https://hac.doe.k12.de.us/HomeAccess/Account/LogOn?ReturnUrl=%2fhomeaccess 2) Switch to Caesar Rodney 3) Login is 1st three letters of first name, first three letters of last name, last three numbers of student id (no spaces or capitals); 3) Password is 1st letter of first name capitalized, 1st letter of last name lower case, student id (with leading zeros if needed to bring number to 7 digits), followed by dollar sign (no spaces).  Example: Login: caerod567 Password: Cr0123456$.  If you are a guardian or parent and do not have your own login and password, please stop by the main office and they can set you up with entry to this information.


The cafeteria is accepting money for your students’ lunch accounts. If you have any money (cash or check), report to the cafeteria as soon as you enter the building in the morning. If paying with check, please write the child’s full name, team, and grade level on the check. PLEASE do not wait until lunch time. If you are paying online, please go to http://www.PayPAMS.com. Stay informed about your student’s lunch account at your own convenience.


ALL Students: You must turn in your absent and sick notes when you return to the school to AVOID lunch detention. It needs to be turned in immediately first thing in the morning as you enter the building. Stop by the office and see Mrs. Henry to turn in or if you have any questions on this issue.


FIFER SCHOOL STORE has all the school necessities. Open during lunch time in the cafeteria on WEDNESDAY's! You can see a list of everything available on the Fifer Website under Programs. If you have any questions, please see Mrs. Hartman in Room 127





3/11 -- DAYLIGHT SAVINGS -- time changes to loose one hour -- spring forward
3/15 -- Spring Picture Day -- have your forms ready with payment

3/19 -- Teacher In-Service SCHOOL CLOSED

3/20 -- Board of Education Meeting at FMS at 7 pm

3/21 -- National World Downs Syndrome Day -- wear your crazy socks
3/23 -- School dance 6 - 8 pm
3/30 -- SCHOOL CLOSED Spring Break


TO SUBSCRIBE:   Want to receive the Fifer bulletin on your email account. This will keep you up with the school happenings your students tell you about hearing during the day. Please send a request to FiferPTO@yahoo.com .

TO UNSUBSCRIBE:  Please email your request to fiferpto@yahoo.com. Write that you want to be taken off the email list. Mail is checked weekly.

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