Student Launches Teaching Assistant Program in Middle School - Kingswood Oxford

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October 18, 2023

Student Launches Teaching Assistant Program in Middle School

One of the directives in developing the new KO academic schedule was to unify the Middle School and Upper School, allowing for more opportunities for collaboration and connection. Seizing on the opportunity to build community, Chelsea O’Donnell ’24 designed a Teaching Assistant (TA) Program to allow US students in Forms 4 through 6  to help out in MS classrooms during their free periods. Students may aid with a writing workshop, listen to presentations and give feedback, provide support during a lab, or anything else the teacher deems helpful for either the entire class or just a portion of it.


Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford has a teaching assistant program


“I had the idea initially last spring, but it was a chaotic time,” she said. “I pitched the concept to Ms. Loeb and met with Ms. Scig and Ms. Hayman-Gross. Once they announced the new schedule, I said, ‘We can do this!’”


Last week, O’Donnell trained a team of close to 20 students who were interested in the program. They filled out a spreadsheet indicating the subjects they would like to help in – science, English, math, technology, life skills, and more and when they were available to work. She read through an example of a middle school essay to familiarize the TAs with the type, style, and quality of writing, acknowledging that the students are fresh out of elementary school with not a tremendous amount of writing experience.


The TAs will be available to the teachers on an as-needed basis. Not every class at every period will be assigned a TA. The goal is for the teachers to have an extra set of eyes in the classroom when they need it.


The TA program differs from the long-established Wyverns Helping Wyverns program in that Wyverns Helping Wyverns runs after school with more individualized tutoring.


In addition to aiding the teachers, O’Donnell hopes that the program builds mentors that the middle school students can look up to.

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