Each spring, Cluster Tutoring honors four students for exceptional work and achievement. While all of our students work hard in their own way, these four students stood out. The criteria for this award include sustained or improved grades, reading scores, attendance, and a positive attitude toward learning. Here are this year’s honorees.
Mia has been with the Cluster Tutoring program for two years and is a Tuesday student. She earned all A’s and B’s on her report card this year. According to the reading assessment Cluster performs for all students in elementary grades, Mia had a 53 percent growth in reading fluency. She had near perfect attendance, too.
A big reason Mia was picked as one of the Students of the Year was her “positive attitude,” according to Kara Kalnitz, Cluster’s executive director, who presented awards to all four students at the Tuesday and Thursday end-of-year celebrations in May. Kara also described Mia as patient, polite, and kind.
The other Tuesday Student of the Year is Shonni. She’s been with Cluster for five years and has consistently earned straight A’s on her report card. She also has consistent high NWEA/MAP test scores.
Shonni’s current school offers an accelerated curriculum, so she already has been doing high school-level work. Kara described Shonni as a hard-working student.
When she starts high school next fall, Shonni will attend Whitney Young High School, a selective CPS high school that is ranked fifth in the state. Kara said she was especially proud of that achievement. In case the name of the school sounds familiar, Whitney Young is also the alma mater of former first lady Michelle Obama.
Dillon earned straight A’s this year. He worked very hard to get into a selective CPS high school. Anyone who has been through that process knows how complicated it can be. Dillon showed that he understood what it takes to make that happen, and he worked hard to keep up his grades and his test scores.
Dillon’s attendance on Thursday nights also was very good — he missed only three sessions all year. The reason for one of those absences was that he was on an educational enrichment trip to China.
Kara describes Dillon as “curious and creative.” In fact, Dillon and his tutor, Joe, designed the thank-you card sent to Cluster donors this year.
The final Student of the Year, also on Thursday, is LJ. LJ had a bumpy start when he began attending Cluster Tutoring, but this year, he has really turned things around. That improvement shows both in his grades and in his attitude toward learning.
According to the Cluster reading and vocabulary assessments, LJ had a 90 percent growth in reading fluency and a 27 percent growth in vocabulary. That’s a lot of improvement!
LJ also had a perfect attendance record. The few times he didn’t attend Cluster was when his tutor wasn’t able to make it, so those absences didn’t count against his attendance record.