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Math-Tutoring Initiative With a Twist Aims to Help Chicago Youths

An initiative that blends intensive math tutoring with a group-counseling intervention to keep kids from getting involved in violent activity will soon be offered to up to 1,000 adolescent boys in a dozen Chicago public schools, according to a press release issued yesterday.

The tutoring component is based on a program developed in 2004 at the Match public charter schools in Boston, where math tutoring is incorporated as a period in the school day. Several districts in Massachusetts and beyond have since started to replicate that program, including Houston and Denver.

In Chicago, the press release says, the math tutoring will be offered alongside the Becoming a Man program, a school-based counseling and mentoring initiative that focuses on violence prevention and educational enrichment for urban youths.

The schools targeted for the joint initiative are located in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, the release says. The idea of combining the two programs was piloted this academic year at Harper High School in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.

The University of Chicago will conduct an evaluation to gauge the joint program's impact on student achievement and involvement in violent crimes. The new initiative is a collaborative effort of the University of Chicago and Match Education and is receiving financial support from the MacArthur Foundation.

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