Month: October 2016

Oct 25

Ask A Tutor Tuesday – 10/25/2016

Question: “My current student is in 7th grade. I had previously worked with mostly Kindergarten and 1st graders and obviously knew the answers to their work, but 7th grade assignments are starting to get challenging! If I don’t know how to do something, how should I handle it in that moment? More importantly, how can I prepare better for future sessions so I’m not in that position again?”

This has happened to me at all levels, middle through high school. Ian Chan, the Digital Learning Coordinator with School on Wheels, suggested that I first ask the student what they do know. I then tell the student we’re going to learn together by researching the problem on-line. The sites I use the most are SOW Volunteer Resources and Khan Academy. I also volunteer at a group home and have found that one of the other girls can sometimes help answer the question. I love it when this happens because both girls are learning.
– Cathie Alter

Most teachers also give out directions in a handout or write it on the board. Some students do not take the initiative in copying it down. The study habits of shelter kids is usually deficient. Urge them to always write down board instructions and always have the phone number or two of a class buddy. They probably have someone to call as they are all into social media.Make certain they know that the responsibility is on them and NOT the teacher’s fault. No responsible teacher is going to give out an assignment unless they have done the assignment before without clear instructions. Kids are big on “it’s not my fault”, but we want to encourage them to take responsibility for their learning. Even if they don’t have a cell phone, though a lot of them do by the 7th grade, there is always a pay phone. OMG!! A pay phone!!
– Pat Bayha

About the tutors:

Cathie Alter has been a School on Wheels tutor for one year. She is a former law firm Administrator and CPA.

Pat Bayha has been tutoring with School on Wheels for over a year, and also tutors at Tuba City Boarding School on the Navajo Reservation. She is a former teacher with the Montebello Unified School District and has many years of experience teaching in inner city high schools, including advanced placement students and bilingual learners.

Have a question for our Ask a Tutor feature?
Email askatutor [at] or use the #AskATutor hashtag on any of our social media sites.

Oct 21

School on Wheels is honored to announce that former student will join the Board of Directors

“I really enjoy advocating for education and being a voice for students who are normally overlooked. Education has always been important to me because it represents a springboard out of homelessness.” – Angela M. Sanchez

School on Wheels first met Angela when she was 17 and living at a homeless shelter with her dad. While living in shelters and motels, she completed high school with a 4.2 GPA and went on to college at UCLA.

Angela Sanchez earned her Master’s in Education with a focus in student affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Volunteering with School on Wheels, while an undergraduate, she established the first university faction of the nonprofit at UCLA. Angela created college admissions and financial aid workshops tailored to the students’ needs in addition to volunteer recruitment, training, donor and community relations, and development.

As a graduate student, Angela provided the evaluation component to UCLA’s Philanthropy Lab and also worked in UCLA’s Alumni Affairs, assessing scholarship recipients’ feedback to engage alumni and encourage giving. Angela currently works as the Program Analyst for College Success at the ECMC Foundation and continues to provide motivational talks for students across Los Angeles. Her impressive background in program development, assessment and community building, in addition to her unique personal experience with homelessness, will be great assets to the School on Wheels board.

“Angela is a true Renaissance woman,” says Catherine Meek, Executive Director. “She is a talented education professional, soon to be published author and cartoonist, magician (member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle), blogger extraordinaire, and passionate education advocate for our students. I’ve known Angela for over seven years, and she will bring all her experiences, knowledge and skills to enhance our mission at School on Wheels.”

“I am so excited to welcome Angela Sanchez to our Board. Angela brings with her first hand experience of being homeless and working with a School on Wheels volunteer tutor while living in a shelter. She has transformed these life lessons to become a successful role model and an outspoken advocate of our mission. We look forward to working with Angela and sharing her passion.” – Joshua A. Fein, Board President

Oct 14

Career Month Workshop

This workshop addresses the pervasive catchphrase “college and career readiness” and offers tutors age-appropriate activities to engage students in career exploration and preparation. The webinar also introduces participants to three popular online navigation systems currently used by schools to help students identify and inventory their job interests, and then apply to the appropriate colleges based on these interests.

View/Download Workshop Slides (PDF)

About the Presenter: Janie Dam has taught middle school and high school math for 16 years. She has served as testing and data coordinator for Granada Hills Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley area since 2007. Prior to becoming an educator in Southern California, Ms. Dam practiced law in Chicago, Illinois, where she spent many hours doing pro bono work in support of incarcerated youths to attain literacy. She is currently working on her Doctor of Education dissertation at Alliant International University.

Oct 4

Heather Hemmens Talks About Why Homeless Children Need our Help

Heather Hemmens is an actress best known for her roles in The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) and If Loving You is Wrong (2014). But better to known to School on Wheels as amazing tutor, volunteer and friend. She is celebrating her 1 year anniversary as a School on Wheels tutor working with homeless students, in this short, yet powerful video.

Oct 3

School on Wheels 5K Sponsored Walk – November 19, 2016

Every year we join forces with the community in walking to raise awareness about homelessness in Los Angeles. The event is hosted by UnitedWay and is called HomeWalk. We are the largest and only team representing homeless children and youth! Join us in this annual sponsored walk (SOWALK) at Grand Park, 200 N Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012 ALL WELCOME. Once you have registered visit our Crowdrise page and start collecting sponsors!

Oct 3

Students of the Month – October 2016

Skid Row Learning Center:

Jordan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Jordan (12th Grade) is polite, respectful, and enthusiastic. He goes above and beyond his peers and provides an immense amount of assistance with projects at the Skid Row Learning Center. He works additional hours to complete tasks, and comes straight from school to accomplish his goals at the Learning Center. His dedication to helping improve the experience for other students is fantastic too!


Region 1 – East LA:

Arianna, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Arianna (3rd Grade) has made great progress and we are very proud of all her hard work. She started off shy and quiet and didn’t want to participate in group tutoring. She was matched with a tutor one on one and after a couple of weeks, Arianna started to come out of her shell. She now looks forward to tutoring and even attends group tutoring twice a week. Her mom says it’s her favorite part of the day!


Region 3 – Westside:

Andrew, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Andrew (4th Grade) – “Even though every session isn’t wildly successful, I know that every time we meet, Andrew is making progress. One of the greatest gifts is seeing Andrew’s eyes light up when he’s finally able to solve the math problem correctly or appropriately pronounce that stubborn word. One of my favorite things about our sessions is when we wrap with 10-15 minutes of group reading on the bean bags.” Sevag Salibian, Tutor


Region 4 – Long Beach, South Bay:

Gerald, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Gerald (5th Grade) is a bright, motivated 10 year old who shows up every week ready to work and learn. “The very first time I tutored with him I made up some practice math problems, and after one or two he looked over at me and said “Come on, give me some hard ones!” That demonstrates exactly the type of person he is, always curious and ready to dig into his school work. He’s a great kid and a real pleasure to work with.” Steve Cox, Tutor


Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Angel's Flight Group Home, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Angel’s Flight Group Home – This month we would like to highlight ALL the students at Angel’s Flight group home, who participate in group tutoring each week. The students at the home have been working hard to improve academically each week. They are always prepared and ready to learn. After school work is done they enjoy playing chess and putting together art projects with the tutors. Keep up the excellent work!


Region 10 – South Orange County:

James, School on Wheels Student of the Month

James (1st Grade) – “When I first met him, as a kindergartener, we shared our common interests (love of animals and ice cream, among others). I was immediately charmed and impressed. We have worked on listening, communication, reading, letters and numbers. I remind him that he is a good thinker and a hard worker.” Ann Buckley, Tutor


Online Tutoring:

Montia, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Montia (12th Grade) – “First of all, I’m so, so proud of Montia. YAY! She is awesome! I remember when Montia told me about receiving extra credit on her test, she was so ecstatic. We sat in front of our screens just cheering. It was such a genuine moment. Montia has so much potential to achieve great things in the future. She has developed a great work ethic, and she has a kind heart. I am fortunate to be her tutor and mentor.” Carol Wang – Online Tutor