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Homework & School Project Assistance (HASPA)

EdBoost offers Homework & School Project Assistance (HASPA) for students in 2nd through 8th grade (we also admit high school students -- usually HASPA alumni -- on a case by case basis). Homework & School Project Assitance is a drop-in program -- students enroll by the day or by the month, and can attend as much (or as little) as they need to within that period. We maintain a 5:1 student to Homework Assistant ratio in HASPA ensuring that students always have an academically skilled adult to help them with their work. Homework Assistants help students complete their homework, which includes re-teaching any skills that students need help with and checking homework (including proofreading written assignments, quizzing for tests, and helping students to make their work more accurate or more complete). Students enrolled in HASPA receive full access to our computer lab, library, project room and supplies, and our Homework Assistants who are all certified EdBoost tutors.

The idea behind HASPA is to provide students with a structured place in which they can do homework and get as much academic help as they need.  We have a full computer lab, but because we do not allow social media sites or instant messaging (and students may only text with parents/guardians), students work uninterrupted by social temptations.  Homework Assistants help students when they have questions, but they also check students' work over their shoulders, making sure that they are doing work correctly and stopping them, in order to provide instruction, if they see that students are doing work incorrectly.  Ideally, we stop students before they have wasted a lot of time and reinforced an incorrect process. 

Homework assistants also push students to go beyond the requirements. We ask them questions, pushing them to understand what they are doing.  We have them do extra problems if they seem unsure, to try to reinforce material and encourage mastery.  When we proofread student work, we don't simply edit, but we sit with students and have them correct their errors and find their own mistakes.  As students continue in homework help (some students attend the program for five or more consecutive years) we get to know them and start to hold them accountable for mistakes that we know that they can correct on their own.

Many students tell us that their teachers don't care if their work is correct: they just want it completed. We believe that teachers do "care" if students do their work correctly; they just don't have time to check everyone's work. But regardless of what teachers want, we insist that work be done correctly. Students must redo work if it is done incorrectly.  

Students enrolled in Homework and School Project Assistance are asked to write all of their homework assignments on our "Homework Wall" white board when they arrive at EdBoost. With this process, we try to encourage students to write in their planners, know what their assignments are, and plan their afternoons so that they can leave EdBoost with all of their homework completed.

Once students have completed their assignments, they do tutor-assigned practice on academic skills and when that is completed correctly they may read (their own book or one borrowed from our library), write, play educational games in our computer lab, play educational games with tutors or other students, or do other tutor-sanctioned activities.   

Although students may enroll in HASPA by the day, we encourage students to sign up monthly and come every day (or as close to every day as possible). When students are here daily, we know all of their assignments (and which long term projects they are forgetting about).  We also know their strengths and weaknesses and we all get to build relationships with them. In HASPA we are often so proud to see students who lack motivation and struggle in school become kids who are organized, focused, and proud that they have raised their grades and started to feel good about their school performance. HASPA is a program that can make a huge difference in a student's academic growth and attitude -- mostly because we really get to know them and can help in so many ways when they are here every day.

Note: HASPA is not a complete program for students who have many academic gaps.  If a student is really struggling in reading, writing, or math (below grade level work) we often recommend at least weekly tutoring in addition to HASPA. Although we teach students new skills in HASPA all the time, the 5:1 ratio makes it impossible for us to spend the time necessary to fill in a wide array of gaps efficiently.