Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation (NOATF)
The Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation (NOATF) has recognized Sondra Purdy of Ponca City as its outstanding mentor of the year for Oklahoma Mentor Day.
Purdy is a retired first grade teacher, having taught for 32 years. Now, she graciously offers her time to work with children.
Almost as soon as she learned about the program, she jumped at the chance to become involved. A year ago, she was matched with seven-year-old Payten. Twice a week they meet so that Purdy can tutor her in math and language arts.
“Payten is full of energy and makes me laugh,” said Purdy. “I love to see her light bulb come on when she has success and gets a word decoded or can move to the next problem without help. That look of confidence in her eye is priceless.”
Purdy uses her experience as a first grade teacher to craft age-appropriate activities for Payten to help her learn and master different concepts. For example; she made vocabulary flashcards for Payten to take home and practice with. Payten’s grandmother said that her granddaughter loves the vocabulary cards and pretends to play school with them.
“Mentoring is a way to share with a child; not just academics but to have a conversation and form trust and a friendship,” Purdy said. “I enjoy coming in to hear her say ‘there’s my teacher!’ It warms my heart.”
NOATF is a partnership between local churches and elementary schools in Ponca City. Students in third–fifth grades are paired with a tutor to meet with them weekly as they work on improving their math and language arts skills.