Muskegon – For decades the U.S. Department of Education has cited sound research data that a well-designed tutoring program can be effective in improving children’s reading and academic skills. Students show significant gains when compared with similar students who do not receive tutoring from a high-quality tutoring program.
The Muskegon Maritime Academy(MMA) is rooted in such a belief.
“I operated a free reading and math tutoring program for over a decade inside my youth boxing club. I know firsthand the benefits of tutoring and I was offering it free of charge without government funding” states Muskegon Maritime Academy founder Franklin A. Fudail. “I have never publicly discussed the fact that my program tutored more young people between 2004-2015 than any community group in Muskegon County and we did it without grants, without strong community support, or fanfare”. Fudail cited that the only consistent and impactful supporter the program had was Scott Meats owner Craig Hindes.
Fudail said all MMA students will be tutored at some point during the school year at no cost to families. He said tutoring is not just for struggling students, but a tool to help all students. “Our focus will certainly be on students with the most needs. However, no student is so advanced that they can’t benefit from tutoring”, states Fudail. He also stated that when all students are involved with the program it eliminates the stigma that tutoring is just for struggling students. He says MMA intends to make tutoring a normal part of their system. “Students will look forward to being tutored at MMA”, he said.
Fudail first experienced the value of tutoring as a young college student in Ohio. “At my university, we had a Saturday morning math tutoring program conducted by two Math Professors. It was very informal, you just show up Saturday morning with whatever issues you were having in math and they would help you. I was a Dean’s List student and I still attended weekly because I was trying to advance my learning”.
Fudail also cited a conversation with a Professor in 1992 that registered with him.
“When I was an undergrad in college, I had an Economics Professor from Nigeria. He had a Ph.D. in Economics and his wife was a Medical Doctor. He told me his children have never received less than an A, yet in spite of their academic success, he said when they come home from school there is a tutor working with them 3-days a week. He told me that 30-years ago and it always stuck with me”, stated Fudail.
Fudail says he would eventually start tutoring students in college in various subjects, but mostly math. “At our University, you had to take an exit exam to graduate. Part of the test was math and a lot of social science and even education majors were having a hard time passing the exit test. I helped quite a few students pass the exam and my reputation spread to the extent the University hired me to work in the tutoring lab. At the time I was making $4.25/hour working at a local restaurant as a cook. The University paid me $10/an hour. It was a big deal, considering I had been tutoring for free”.
He says a new Michigan law is a wake-up call for schools and that it requires a strong plan of action. In 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed a law that requires schools to identify learners who are struggling with reading and writing and to provide additional help. The law states that third graders may repeat third grade if they are more than one grade level behind beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.
“We will not accept children being held back a grade because our school did not allocate all the necessary resources to help them. We will move mountains to help every single child that enrolls at our school”, states Fudail. He also emphasizes that MMA will expect parents to have the same zeal to help their children.
“We consider Parents and families as the most important component of this process. Parents will find that MMA will go the extra mile to help their child achieve. They will also find that our school puts more expectations on Parents than any school. We all have a role and responsibility to carry out. We all must uphold our roles and responsibilities to make sure our students maximize their potential. With a committed group of teachers, strong parental support, a buy-in from students, and a robust tutoring program, we can’t lose”, asserts Fudail.
To enroll at Muskegon Maritime Academy go to www.MuskegonMaritimeAcademy.org.