The Vassar After School Tutoring Program (VAST)
For the past 15 years, Vassar College has operated an afterschool tutoring/mentoring program at the Poughkeepsie Middle School, designed to increase educational opportunity in the City of Poughkeepsie and foster a connection between Vassar College and its immediate community.
The Vassar After School Tutoring Program (“VAST”) recognizes that teachers, parents, Poughkeepsie Middle School scholars, and the Vassar community are important partners. VAST provides individual mentors between 40-50 scholars to promote interest in academics, love of learning, and creative self-expression. VAST also helps prepare students for high school and Vassar College’s Exploring College program, which is offered in Poughkeepsie High School to guide students through the college application process.
For PMS Students
VAST is a one-on-one academic mentorship program between Vassar College students and Poughkeepsie Middle School (PMS) scholars. VAST begins immediately after dismissal (2:55pm) at PMS on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and ends at 4:30pm each day. Scholar applications are received and accepted on a first come first served basis, and will be available in the PMS Main Office at the beginning of each semester. Once accepted, applications are valid for the whole school year, and scholars must reapply at the start of each academic year.
The program aims to provide not only homework help, but access to fun and exciting academic curriculum through collaboration with Vassar College organizations. Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for academic work; if a scholar does not have homework, or has finished work early, then they must be engaging in an academic activity. In years past, these activities have included:
- Debate Team
- Improv Comedy
- Short Film Workshop
- Cooking Class
- Literacy Through Latin
- Student Theater
- Environmental Science Contest
- Arts and Crafts
Fridays are our fun days for outdoor games and sports (weather depending).
The program is run by Coordinator Maximilian Cordeiro, and Vassar College Urban Education Initiative Director Phoebe Magee, who are on site for VAST every day. If you are a parent who would like to enroll your scholar in VAST, please email email@example.com or speak to your scholar’s guidance counselor.
For Vassar Students
The VAST Mentor plays an important role at the program. You will:
- Assist scholars in their homework
- Promote academic engagement through VAST activities and making personal connections.
- Act not just as tutors but as mentors, building a relationship with your scholar, and perhaps share your experiences with pursuing higher education.
Vassar Mentors will be picked up from Main Circle between 2:30pm and 3pm for a ride to PMS, and will dropped back off at Vassar at 4:30pm.
VAST also offers 10 paid work-study positions per year, as well as many volunteer and field work positions. If interested in work-study, please look for the VAST Mentor application through the Off-Campus Job Search on Jobx. Applicants will be interviewed and accepted based on merit and prior experience with the program.
- Those interested in receiving field work credit should speak to Lisa Kaul in the Community Engaged Learning Office in Main 165, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students interested in volunteering should email email@example.com, or come by the office in the Old Observatory for an application.
- Work-study, CEL, and volunteer mentors will equally be required to attend a minimum of two VAST days per week, two mandatory Training sessions (per year), and a short online feedback form once a week on the behavior of their scholar.