When second-grade teacher Silvina Clazmer organized a homework club for her students and others at Creekside Elementary School in Sun Prairie this year, she set it up where they live.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Clazmer and a group of volunteer mentors/tutors show up at Rolling Prairie Apartments to work with about 30 elementary students who live there and at apartments across the street. They help them with their homework and reading while fostering a positive relationship.
Clazmer said the students take the bus to school and most wouldn’t have transportation home if they stayed after for Creekside Homework Club.
“Most of the parents, they work until late and they will not be able to come and get them,” she said. “We thought that was the population that needed the homework support because of the achievement gap.”
On a Tuesday afternoon last month, students and volunteers — some are older students and adults from the apartment complex — were swarming the Rolling Prairie club room, theater room and business center, which are offered to the program without cost.
“I’m more of a social person so I feel more like I’m a part of a group and when I’m with more people I can easily be more focused,” said third-grader Nick Kohlmeier, 9. “Most of the time when I’m alone doing homework, I’ll just wander off.”
Fourth-grader Isaiah Fairbank, 9, said he likes the chance to use a computer at the club because he doesn’t have Internet access at home. Students use them to play math games, read books and write papers.
Some students said when it is not a club day, they end up doing their homework alone or not at all.
Clazmer got the idea after she started a camp at Rolling Prairie three summers ago and considers the homework club an extension of the summer program called Camp Tuesday.
Snacks are provided by the Rolling Prairie management and Door Creek Church. A $1,500 grant from the Sun Prairie Education Foundation helped purchase laptop computers.
The students from homework club will get to be a college student for the day when Edgewood College sponsors a trip to campus June 3.
“When I was a kid, I would have loved it if someone was there for me, so I will be there for anyone who needs help,” said volunteer Yasmin Capia, 16, a junior at Sun Prairie High School.
Jamal Stone, 13, a seventh-grader at Prairie View Middle School, went to the summer camp where he got to know some of the students he is helping at homework club. Realizing he could help others has affected him.
“It made me feel really good about myself so that’s why I don’t like missing this,” Jamal said.