Murray tutoring program needs your help

A seven-year-old tutoring program at Murray Middle School has been cut from the 2015-16 school budget due to changes in federal Title 1 funding and Principal Stacey Theien-Collins has launched a fundraising effort to reinstate the program.

St. Anthony Park resident Cindy Thrasher started the Pilot One-on- One program in 2008. The program brings tutors into Murray every day to work one-on-one with underachieving middle-schoolers who are failing in the core subjects.

Thrasher says the impetus for the program was her realization that children who misbehave in the classroom often have multiple challenges in their lives that are beyond their control. The challenges include divorce, alcoholism, abuse, hunger, abandonment and more. When faced with these struggles, it’s difficult for the students to stay on track in school.

In the last school year, 70 adult tutors came to Murray each week and worked with 60 students.

The program works. By the end of the 2014-15 school year students in the program made As, Bs or Cs in 83 percent of their core classes. This happened because of the dedicated tutors who cared about the students and showed up each week, Thrasher says. The program also includes parent coaching and home visits.

“The students experienced academic success and realized for themselves that they were very capable of doing well in school by working hard,” Thrasher says.

“For too long we have heard and read about the achievement gap in our public schools. While this is but one program in one school, we have been able to begin to successfully address this issue at Murray. It should be a program that is present in every public school in St. Paul.”

The school needs to raise $82,500 to keep the program going for another year, and it has until Friday, July 31 to do it. Bill Sands, a 1956 graduate of Murray High School, has challenged Murray’s past, current and future families and friends to help fund this program in the coming year. He will match up to $20,000 in gifts from the community, dollar for dollar.

You can donate to the program by sending a check to Murray Middle School, 2200 Buford Ave., St Paul, MN 55108 (be sure to note “One-on- One” on the memo line) or by going to givemn.org/fundraiser/Murray-Junior-High-School-1.

Want to take the St. Anthony Park Garden Tour again?

On a blog called streets.mn, Walker Angell walks us through the July 11 St. Anthony Park Garden Tour. He highlights a number of St. Anthony Park landmarks; even the Bugle gets a mention. Go to streets.mn/2015/07/15/see-a-garden-meet-a-neighborhood/ to check it out.

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