Posted by Bill Selzer

This article will highlight the history, stories, and impact of the tutoring program. Thank you, Jan Constable, and ERC Tutors past and present, for providing the history and sharing your recent experiences at the 95th Street School.

Program History:

 In 2008 Tony Consiglio was serving as President of the Elmbrook Rotary Club. As a new community service project, he asked club Rotarians to determine if there was a way to get club members involved in a literacy project. A small group was formed to act on his request. After several meetings the group decided to investigate three activities. The three activities were tutoring inmates at the Waukesha Huber Jail, tutoring at an elementary school, or starting our own after school student tutoring program. The group met with representatives of the Huber Jail and the Executive Director of the Capitol West Academy a Private Charter School located in Milwaukee. After additional discussion we decided on the Private Charter School. Meeting with the Executive Director of the school, we asked first that we be assigned to teachers that wanted tutors, second, that when tutoring in reading we also include comprehension and vocabulary. And third, that we tutor the students that are in the lowest 10% of the class.  ERC members and spouses tutored at the Capitol West Academy for 12 years. Each year 15 to 20 ERC tutors supported the school. In addition, each year the ERC held a school supplies drive for the school. During the 12 years, three ERC members served on the school’s Board of Directors.

While ERC members were tutoring elementary students, members were also tutoring adults at Literacy Services of Wisconsin. Literacy Services of Wisconsin is an adult literacy center located in downtown Milwaukee.
In 2020 the ERC decided to move the tutoring program to the 95th. Street School, which is a Milwaukee Public Elementary School, and is in the same neighborhood as the Capitol West Academy. Unfortunately, COVID delayed the start of tutoring until 2022. Each year during the COVID period the ERC held school supplies drives to support all the student’s taking classes from home. Over each of the last two years 10 Rotarians and spouses have been tutoring students at the 95th Street School.
Thank you to all of you who have been part of this program prior switching to the 95th Street School!
Tutors Stories and Comments:
“I have an incident that warmed my heart I'd like to share with you. I stopped in the bookstore at the airport earlier this year to buy something.  Before I had taken out my credit card to pay, the clerk at the counter said, "Hi, Mrs. Engle.  It's so good to see you!"  He was not wearing a name tag, so it took a while for me to figure out who it was.  It turned out to be one of the boys I tutored at Capital West Academy in 2008/2009.  He recognized me right away and came out and gave me a big hug.  It was so amazing that he recognized me from that long ago and I was so touched that he asked to give me a hug. Then he said he'd be sure and tell the other boy I tutored with him that he had seen me.  It was so heartwarming.” - Jensy Engle
“I have found that many students who struggle in a busy classroom thrive in a quiet one tutor to one student learning session. As a student’s knowledge grows so does their self-confidence and self-esteem. Throughout my 14 years tutoring elementary students, I have yet to come upon a student that didn’t want to succeed in their classwork. In fact, the more they found themselves succeeding, the more they wanted to learn.” – Jan Constable
“It is so rewarding when you are working with a student on a math concept and suddenly it clicks and he says with a big smile, “I get it!”. After a reading session, my fourth-grade student said, “If it weren’t for you, I would still be reading at a 1st grade level”. I am not sure that really is the case, but the kind words were appreciated. Every session I can see growth in the level of confidence in mastering reading and math. They are engaged and focused, even though there are many distractions nearby.  We as tutors, can only hope that our time spent with our students each week is having a positive impact, even though it may be ever so small in their education journey.” – Bill Selzer
“I LOVE tutoring at 95th St School! I have worked with Mrs. Shields in 4th grade this year and last. I am working with the students in Math.  Last year I worked with 4 students and this year I have 5 students. I work on Tuesday mornings from 8:45-10. This is honestly a highlight of my week. When I arrive the students always seem happy to see me and I am happy to see them.
We work on multiplication facts and then the lesson for the day. Time flies!
It may not always be easiest to find a place to work with them, but I now have a table outside of the classroom that is available for me. 
The teacher shared with me that one student at conferences said that he is improving because he gets to work with Mrs. Thurner (that really made me smile)
Overall, the tutoring experience has been a fantastic one for me. I love that I can use my former teaching skills to help the kids and I have some little hints for them to help them learn and retain. I would highly recommend this tutoring experience to anyone that has the time and patience to help make a difference in a child's life.” – Jackie Thurner
“Over the past 12 plus years of tutoring, I believe that tutoring every week makes a difference on the growth of students, especially when tutoring starts no later than 2nd or 3rd grade. It is amazing to watch the transition in growth and skill development. You can see it in their eyes when giving positive reinforcement... they just love it, even when they are struggling. Doing the right thing warms his heart… a wonderful experience I hope the kids get something out if it honestly, I think I get more.” – Wally Smanski
The benefits of tutoring are numerous, but some stand out:
  • Tutoring gives individualized attention to the student, allowing for a give and take that provides immediate feedback.
  • Tutoring helps a student develop study skills and skills for more independent learning.
  • Tutoring assistance frequently improves the student’s attitude about a school—what was once frustrating and embarrassing is now a source of success and pride.
  • Tutoring improves self-confidence and self-directed learning as the student gains more and more mastery in a subject.
  • Many students work better in the quieter, less distracting tutoring session than in class.
  • Tutoring aids in identifying learning challenges and brings a method for improving learning difficulties.
  • This environment often feels safer for the student when asking questions.
Thank you, Jan for leading this effort, and this year’s Tutors are:
  • John & Jeanne Allen
  • Jensy Engle
  • Jack Hill
  • Wally Smanski
  • Jackie Thurner
  • Bill & Cathy Selzer
  • Jan & Darcy Constable
For the 2024-2025 school year it was mentioned that the school would like another three ERC Tutors. If you are interested, please contact Jan Constable.