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12/10/2012 6:01:00 AM
Lab mixes milk, motor oil and Kingman students
Program helps prepare pupils for college
White Cliffs Middle School science teacher Lisa Adams shows students participating the after school tutoring program what happens when you mix milk with motor oil. Eighth- and seventh-grade students Ashlynn Smith and Seth Humphreys look on.
White Cliffs Middle School science teacher Lisa Adams shows students participating the after school tutoring program what happens when you mix milk with motor oil. Eighth- and seventh-grade students Ashlynn Smith and Seth Humphreys look on.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

Nearly 40 students at White Cliffs Middle School spent time after school Thursday hypothesizing what would happen if they mixed various substances, such as milk, orange juice and Alka-Seltzer with motor oil.

The project was part of the school's recently opened volunteer after school tutoring program, which is funded by GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).

GEAR UP came to Kingman Unified School District at the beginning of the school year by way of a federal grant managed in Arizona by Northern Arizona University. It's designed to help prepare students who come from generally low-income backgrounds for college.

Though GEAR UP is designed to have its coordinators follow seventh-grade students at these schools through their middle school and high school careers, the tutoring program is also open to sixth- and eighth-graders when there's room.

"GEAR UP tells us to fill the bus," said Krista DiBlasi, the GEAR UP coordinator at White Cliffs Middle School. "We want to get as many in here as possible."

The tutoring program includes three different sections: language arts, science and math.

In both the language arts and math sections, the tutoring is mainly one-on-one, but in the science section, which was jam-packed Thursday, it's more of a classroom atmosphere.

The school's eighth-grade science teacher Lisa Adams conducted a science lab Thursday, where students learned about the scientific method as she mixed motor oil with various substances, recorded data and communicated findings to their classmates.

When you mix motor oil with milk you can see the different components - fat, cream, protein - separate in the oil.

"It's nice because they're coming here because they want to," DiBlasi said.

As each month of this school year passes, GEAR UP coordinators at Kingman Middle School, White Cliffs Middle School and Black Mountain School work to establish relationships with the students they'll be spending the next six years with.

Though she doesn't do the actual tutoring, DiBlasi keeps a close eye on her GEAR UP students' grades, suggests tutoring to parents when there's a need and goes from tutoring class to tutoring class to see how everyone is doing.

"You have to earn the right to speak into a child's life," DiBlasi said. "I'm absolutely getting there."

She says students are coming to her more often as they're realizing she'll be a constant in their lives for the next six years.

The tutoring program gives students opportunities to experience things they may not get to during the traditional school day, DiBlasi said.

Ashlynn Smith, an eighth-grader at the school, isn't in GEAR UP. But that hasn't stopped her from staying after school for the tutoring program on a regular basis.

"It helps," Ashlynn said of the tutoring she's received.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: Questions .

Is this new GEAR UP tutoring program, different than the regular after-school tutoring that White Cliffs offers? or did they just change the name? Also, is the math and language arts really one-on-one? The normal White Cliffs after-school tutoring is a whole lot of kids (some days), with one teacher.

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