Supplemental instruction program launches to support student success

By Mandi Enger

Creating new opportunities for Nevada State College (NSC) students to both engage in their coursework and achieve academic success; the Student Academic Center (SAC) has launched a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. SI is a free student service that focuses on historically difficult courses, such as math and biology, and encourages students to take advantage of highly interactive, peer-organized study sessions.

According to Jill Weigel, SAC director, the program aims to increase course retention, student grades, as well as the overall graduation rate of the college's students. Students that attend SI sessions on a regular basis increase their chances of passing a class successfully potentially a letter grade higher than their classmates that do not attend. We look forward to the seeing the positive results of this semester's SI implementation.

Each regularly scheduled SI session follows a lesson plan developed by the Supplemental Instruction Leader; a student tutor that has previously excelled in the session's course. Leaders additionally sit in on regular classroom lectures to take notes and participate as model students.

Allysa Starkweather, math and statistics tutor said, "SI is a great opportunity for students to get a more hands-on grasp of the material that is being covered in class. The sessions are fun and make difficult content obtainable for students at various levels of understanding."

The SI program empowers students as it encourages them to explore a variety of alternate routes and methodologies to increase their learning and discovery, added Weigel. We also aim to enhance the creative aspect of learning by using games, models, drawing, and aural learning strategies to encompass a variety of learning styles.

After participating in an International Center for Supplemental Instruction supervisor training at the University of Missouri-Kansas City last spring, Weigel developed the program for NSC. SI was initiated at the college during the Nepantla Program: Summer Bridge in July and launched to the full campus during the fall semester. Fabian Meraz, a math tutor and a SI Leader for the Nepantla Program stated, The Supplemental Instruction program allowed me to get to know the students on a more personal level. The program helped me individualize the content in a way the students can understand."

The fall SI scheduled includes sessions for American Sign Language 145, English 101 and 102, Biology 223, and Math 93 and 95. To-date, the sessions have attracted an average of 10 student participants per meeting, with room for expanded participation.

The SI program creates a community of learners for our college, benefiting both students and tutors, said Teresa Carey, tutor coordinator. Carey additionally serves as an English tutor and SI Leader. We are excited to share this opportunity with all students and see the program grow in participation as new sessions are developed.

The spring 2014 SI schedule is in the planning stage with new sessions are planned for English 100, American Sign Language, math, technology, and biology courses.

For full schedule details or to learn more about attending a program session contact the Student Academic Center at 702-992-2990.

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