Growth In and Out of the Classroom

“Jesús can return to his classes for the full day. We have seen incredible improvement in his work and behavior,” the principal of the school shared with Back2Back’s Education Coordination, Gabriela Nieto.

Gabriela smiled, excited to share the news of Jesús’ improvement with staff member Matt Metzger. His academic and behavioral growth is a testament to the new pilot program, “Learning with You” started at Salvation Army Children’s Home. Gabriela, a certified teacher, was hired to give individual assessments at the children’s home at the beginning of 2017.

“Gabriela is a teacher with connections in the area, and her experience has been helpful in identifying next steps for each child,” shared Matt Metzger, Back2Back staff.

Individual Education Plans were completed for each of the nineteen children living at Salvation Army Children’s Home. Gabriela suggested, at a minimum, two tutors for the home. One travels to the school during instructional time and meets individually with five children. The in-school tutor fills out regular reports, documenting progress and sharing advancement with staff in the home, as well as teachers at school. Jesús is just one child benefiting from the individualized tutoring.

A second tutor comes later in the afternoons, and meets with two children at once, giving focused attention in their main areas of need. Those times of study are also documented and reported to staff and teachers.

“Before the individualized education plans were given, there were several children at risk of not moving forward in the school year,” shared Matt. “The individualized attention for the children has ensured they will be moving forward. None of this would be possible without the help of Gabriela.

Twins, Jesús and Eduardo, were unable to complete double and triple digit subtraction and basic multiplication when they first began the Learning with You program. After a few short months of intentional tutoring time, the brothers are completing entire worksheets with no mistakes.

All of the children in the tutoring program are showing improvement, but Angel, one of the older boys at Salvation Army, has shown growth academically and behaviorally. Isaac, Salvation Army’s director, recently told Matt he could see a great deal of confidence in Angel.

“He is talking more, his attitude is more positive, and he seems happier,” said Matt. “Feeling confident in his school work is translating to feeling confident outside of the classroom.”

Child Sponsorship funds at Salvation Army Children’s Home allows Gabriela’s expertise to assist the children in performing well academically and behaviorally. If you’d like to be part of the work being done and come alongside Back2Back by sponsoring a child, visit