For the last 18 months, California Elementary School has generously hosted the Kathleen Muth Reading Center (KMRC) on its Orange campus while Chapman University’s historic Reeves Hall was undergoing renovation. This on-site tutoring has allowed the reading center to develop a close, unique partnership with its host school and the families it serves.
Part of Chapman’s Attallah College of Educational Studies, the KMRC serves approximately 50 at-risk K-5 students per year. Established in 1975, the KMRC pairs Chapman teaching credential candidates (tutors) with local children (tutees), giving them valuable one-on-one reading and writing instruction. In turn, the Chapman tutors have the opportunity to work weekly during the semester with students in an authentic classroom environment, applying their literacy coursework and knowledge into practice.
“Being on the California Elementary campus has been wonderful for our Chapman students. It’s allowed them to engage with their tutees and partner with parents in a real school environment. We’ve seen real growth in reading and writing skills,” said KMRC Director Carol Roughton.
Dr. John Albert, principal of California Elementary agreed: “It was an honor to have the opportunity to partner with Chapman University and the Kathleen Muth Reading Center. Our students loved attending, and our parents and teachers recognized the impact it made. Chapman is a great partner that is fully vested in the success of the community.”
Attallah College Associate Professor Margie Curwen explained that California Elementary School’s family members recognized the strength of the KMRC program and would encourage a cousin or a neighbor to attend. At the end of each semester, families were lining up to ask for another application to the program so their children could return.
Dr. Albert also noted that California Elementary School’s teachers saw a marked improvement in their students who participated in the program: “Our teachers have been very positive about the progress the students have been making in the class, and we have seen as a school huge literacy gains.”
With the completion of the Reeves Hall renovation in January 2018, the KMRC will return to its home — now updated with technological resources — on the main Chapman University beginning with the Spring 2018 semester.