In addition to supporting students through daily literacy interventions, Literacy Lab tutors become involved in their whole school communities. Tiffany Clark, a tutor serving at Turner Elementary in Washington, D.C., found a way to use her passion for dancing and cheerleading in order to connect with more students!
One afternoon, Tiffany heard an announcement over the school’s intercom regarding the newly founded cheerleading team. Tiffany was a cheerleader herself when she was in school and thought it would be a fun and rewarding experience to help out with the team. It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to develop relationships with students outside of her tutoring caseload.
Tiffany now serves as the second head coach for the girls’ cheerleading team, the Turner Rockets. In addition to helping with the dances and cheers, she works to support the girls with their attendance and behavior. As a coach, Tiffany serves as a role model and teaches young girls the importance of teamwork.
Making an Impact through Cheer
Tiffany’s involvement with the team helps her build more meaningful relationships within the school. She wants to have a greater presence in the community and be a familiar face to students, staff and parents.
“Dealing with my students, I want them to defy all odds,” Tiffany says. “It’s up to us as tutors that we make a difference in the lives of our children and give them a growth mindset.”
Participating in extracurricular activities has several benefits for students, as well. Belonging to a group like a cheerleading squad can help elementary age students build confidence and respect for their peers. Along with building motor skills, research shows that students who engage in athletic teams outside of the school day are more likely to perform well academically.
Ready for Round Two
Next August, Tiffany will be returning to Turner for her second year of service as a Literacy Lab tutor. She is excited to continue her involvement with the cheerleading team when she returns! Her long-term goal is to pursue a teaching career, and she feels that her experiences as a tutor and as a cheerleading coach at Turner are preparing her for that path.
This month, the Turner Rockets are preparing for a performance at an upcoming pep rally. With Tiffany as their coach, we have no doubt that the team’s performance will be a success!