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BCS Salvation Army helps students improve grades, recover from pandemic effects with new tutoring program

Posted at 7:13 PM, Sep 14, 2023

BRYAN, Texas — Hector Hernandez, a fifth grader, sometimes struggles with math, especially when subtracting numbers with decimals, so he likes reading better.

"I'm always like really focused, and I just like to talk a lot and write a lot," Hernandez said.

But he is attending the Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station's new tutoring program every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for extra help to be successful in the classroom.

Students are at least half a school yearbehind because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Texas students improved overall on spring 2023 STAAR tests, the state-wide assessment to measure students knowledge.

The percentage of students in grades three through eight who met or exceeded grade level remained constant for reading. For math, the percentage only increased 3 percent.

The TEA says the score indicated some recovery, but the effects of the pandemic "still linger."

Corps Assistant Caroline Brummer says the organization added tutoring to its youth program to help students combat those effects.

"It was normally just music and arts related, but seeing that our kids in community are struggling more academically since COVID and everything, we decided it’s probably best to give them this free opportunity since they're already here to be able to help them," Brummer said.

Volunteers show up every Wednesday to help students do their homework, complete worksheets and practice with flashcards.

They help with any subject from math, history, reading and even help students like twelfth grader K'Dome Kelley practice the arts.

He is getting back into marching band and says the program is getting him back on track.

"With band, it’s like i just started back to it, but since I’m twelfth grader they expected me to be in the higher distance," he said.

He receives help on reading and counting music and sometimes can play his bass clarinet.

He also practices his French.

Brummer says students have improved on tests since starting the program.

"We actually have a parent that told us that their daughter got a 90 percent on their spelling test, so she only missed one question on her spelling test because tutoring is able to help her," she said.

Hernandez says he hasn't seen his report card yet.

But he like Kelley enjoys getting the help and a meal.

"I get to talk with them [volunteers], and they get to help me with things," Hernandez said.

Parents can sign their child up for tutoring by emailing Salvation Army Communication and Community Relations Chair RaeLee Caddenhead at