A dark classroom is full of students. The projector is beaming on the wall, instructions are posted on as background. Students are chattering on about math problems, asking their peers for help and clarification while Geoffrey La Pointe walks around, clipboard in hand. He walks up to a table full of students and leans over their shoulder to take a look at their finished problem before quickly saying, “Good work.” A small smile appears on his face briefly, then he moves to the next table where a student is raising their hand.
The teacher staff at Da Vinci Communications work hard to make sure students are understanding the content and are engaged in class. However, it could be difficult for every student to get the attention that they need in a full classroom. The academic coaches at DVC, like Geoffrey, are those that provide that extra push for students to work better inside and outside the classroom.
“We are in the classroom as aids, mostly as in-class tutors,” La Pointe said. “We’re there to help them [students] out in any capacity possible.”
Students can often look to AC’s when teachers aren’t always available to answer any immediate questions. Some of the time, students can also find AC’s outside of the usual classroom who are assisting with other activities outside of school.
“Most of us have seminars when we aren’t helping out in classes,” said academic coach Stacey Espana. “When there’s coverage to be needed, we will go out and help in certain classes. So we just really multitask with a lot of different things.”
La Pointe usually spends his time in Geometry, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes. Later on in the school day, he leads Math support as a seminar where he does his best to help students excel in a subject they might feel they are struggling with.
“Most students are visual learners,” La Pointe added. “We have teachers that do a great job of making it more of a visual learning environment, not so much book oriented. And so I try to just reinforce whatever the teacher is trying to put forth with the students.”
Espana and La Pointe both noted that ACs will help students out with whatever subject that suits them best.
“I think that a lot of us really help in the different subjects that we excel in. I would say that my strong suit is English and writing so I help the kids a lot when it comes to giving them feedback,” noted Espana. “Last year I gave a lot of kids feedback for their applications for college. I would read through a lot of their personal statements as well.”
Academic support is important, however, these academic coaches have found a way to support students outside of a classroom as well. Making a connection with those that they are close to.
“A lot of the kids, I like to talk to them during lunchtime or passing period,” Espana added. “Sometimes they’ll come to look for me if they’re having a bad day and they want to talk. I’ve really been able to create some incredible relationships in the time that I’ve been here.”
While having an AC around has left many students with more opportunity to seek out help, many AC’s have also sought out the opportunity to take another step in their academic career. Espana has announced that she will be a new teacher at DVC in the upcoming school year.
Espana said, “I think that this is such an amazing school to work at and I’m grateful to be here every single day. Knowing that it was such a great place to work when I was an academic coach made it that much easier to make a decision to apply for a job here for English next year.”