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Tutor Connection Program Wins Service Learning Awards

Sherry Freeborn, John Edwards, and Michelle Bailow with their awards

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Tutor Connection program, and its program supervisor, Michelle Bailow, were both recently honored with service learning awards from California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).  

Bailow received the Stellar Community Partner award and the CSUSM School of Education received the Outstanding Service Learning Faculty award for its support of the Tutor Connection program. CSUSM student John Edwards received the Trailblazing Student Leader of a Service Learning Course Project for his course project with Tutor Connection. (Pictured from left to right: Sherry Freeborn, John Edwards, and Michelle Bailow with their awards.)

Tutor Connection is a community-based program that provides high-quality tutoring to youth currently or previously in foster care in San Diego County. The program is operated by SDCOE’s Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program (FYS).

“I have been running Tutor Connection for 15 years now and winning three awards in one year obviously makes me feel amazing,” Bailow said. “I am honored and humbled to be a part of this program and amazing team that supports this work, including universities that have embedded this program into their classes. Besides the awards, I am so proud of the students that do the work with these youth and give their heart and soul every week throughout the semester.”

Tutors in Tutor Connection are students enrolled in a teacher education course within the College of Education at CSUSM.

“Tutor Connection is a program that has so many positive outcomes not just for foster youth but also future educators,” Bailow said.

The course is designed as a service learning course, with the tutoring as a component of Community Service Learning. Co-taught by a CSUSM professor and a FYS program staff member, the curriculum includes instruction on tutoring from an educational framework and is complemented with information about trauma, abuse, neglect, foster care, professional boundaries, behavioral management and the laws related to the education of students in foster care.


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