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United Boys & Girls Club rallies student teachers to help kids ace their grades in 2021

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The trend of young students slipping in their grades and overall school work is alarming, and the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County has a solution.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Baker says the clubs are preparing to coordinate two-hour Saturday sessions for elementary kids using student teachers.

The plan is a win-win.

The struggling students will get extra time to bring their grades up and the student teachers will continue to get practical experience. It is especially important for both during the pandemic.

Baker says the need is clear. The students have already shown an interest in learning in the club environment with other supervised programs that have been offered to assist them during the regularly scheduled school sessions via zoom with their teachers.

Seven sites have been involved in that program for most of last year and into this year.

The current plan would be for the clubs in Lompoc, Goleta, downtown Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

The Carpinteria location has a plan together for both the education and lunch program.

Baker said, "Just like Uncle Sam, I need you!  "

He says timing is critical.

"If we don't step up right now, they've already lost an entire year of (traditional) school, it's going to be really difficult to get them up to speed. We have to start right now," Baker said.

Even though the current proposal is for children up to 5th grade, a recent Santa Barbara school district report on Secondary school students was also an alert.

For the Fall Semester it showed:

  • Roughly a third of the secondary students are earning a D or F in at least one class.
  • There is an increase in the number of students earning a D or F in three or more classes compared to prior years.

For the younger kids especially those who are socio-economically vulnerable, Baker says "We need to get those kids not only in our facilities but get them up to speed and help fill that gap because they are falling further and further behind."

When it comes to the call for help, he says, "I know there are a lot of folks out there who are studying to be teachers, there may be some retired teachers or people who just want to volunteer we are definitely gonna need your help."

There's also a need for donations to cover some operating costs, even though the work will be done on a voluntary basis.

The bottom line is a win-win.

"Funding a teacher who is going to be a future teacher, hopefully, and it's funding the students who are going to be leading the country," said Baker.

For more information go to: United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County


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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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