The Brown Memorial Tutoring Program has been a partner with Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School for decades. During all of those years, volunteer tutors at the program have provided one-on-one tutoring to students from the school who make the two-block walk to the church each week.
That partnership is as strong as ever thanks to Mt. Royal’s energetic principal, Job Grotsky, who has led the school for the past three years. Mr. Grotsky was pleased to find out about the Brown Memorial Tutoring Program when he got the job at Mt. Royal and considers the program an enormous asset to the school.
“Overall it’s just been amazing,” Mr. Grotsky says of the tutoring program. “It’s an extension of our work and a true partnership. We share the same mission for helping our students, and we have the same vision for where we want our students to end up.”
Mr. Grotsky became an educator after nine years of playing sax in a Midwestern-based rock and roll band called Domestic Problems. Eventually, members of the band moved into new careers.
With a mother who was a special education teacher for 42 years and a father who was a state and local school system administrator, Mr. Grotsky gravitated to teaching. After a decade in other Baltimore City schools, he took over at Mt. Royal.
Mt. Royal, like nearly all Baltimore schools, has an extremely high number of students living in low-income families. These students often need extra supports and attention to succeed in school, and the tutoring program helps meet that need. About 50 Mt. Royal students receive tutoring from Brown Memorial, and a large majority show important literacy gains each year. “You can clearly see growth with the students,” Mr. Grotsky says.
But he also appreciates another benefit the program brings to students – a consistent adult presence that allows children to develop a trusting relationship. And the fact that tutors work with the same child for an entire year – and sometimes multiple years – is enormously valuable.
“We always say we want volunteers, but we want the right volunteers,” he says. “With Brown Memorial, you get the right kind of tutors who have the right experience. And our kids just love that nurturing. All of the tutors have that nurturing quality, which is really important.
“The core goal is to bring them up in reading, but that social consistency is a huge benefit,” Mr. Grotsky says. “If you had tutors who turned over it wouldn’t be as successful. There’s the trust factor where kids can open up to tutors.”
Maintaining the partnership with the Brown Memorial Tutoring Program is part of Mr. Grotsky’s commitment to expanding ties with the community around the school.
“As a principal, it’s like a dream come true,” Mr. Grotsky says. “Even if we purchased a program like this, some may not be as successful. It’s a great program, and I’m ecstatic and very humble that we get to be the recipients.”