Teacher/AmeriCorps volunteer Chelsey Markel is making a difference at TAHS

March 9-12, 2015 is National AmeriCorps Volunteer Week


Most Tyrone High School students and faculty know Miss Chelsey Markel as the math tutor.  It’s her job to help students who have not passed their Keystone math exam get ready for retakes by providing individual or small group tutoring.

What most people don’t know is that Markel is also an AmeriCorps Volunteer.

AmeriCorps is a federally funded program that puts paid volunteers in positions to help their communities in three priority areas: education, environment and human needs.  The program provides valuable work experience for its participants and a vital community service to the organizations that it serves.

Markel works with TAHS students Shelby Gantt (left) and Shania Adkins.
Markel works with TAHS students Shelby Gantt (left) and Shania Adkins.

Markel, one of three AmeriCorps volunteers in the Tyrone Area School District,  is a member of the Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps, based in Ebensburg and administered by Intermediate Unit 8.

The Mountain Service Corps is part of the national civilian service corps, which was first created by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression.  AmeriCorps members like Markel work a full time schedule but aren’t paid a regular salary. Instead, they earn a living stipend and receive some college loan deferment benefits.

Markel graduated from Tyrone High School in 2008 and from Penn State in 2012 with a degree in math and secondary education. After graduation, she served as a daily substitute teacher at Tyrone for two years.  This summer she had the opportunity to join the staff as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

The funding for her position comes jointly from the Intermediate Unit 8 and the Tyrone Area School District.

“This job has been a great opportunity for me to give students the extra help that they need.  It’s made me a better teacher and really opened my eyes to planning lessons that reach all students,” said Markel.

“She has really taken her job seriously, she has spent many hours both with students and working with data to identify students that need help,” said Tyrone Director of Curriculum Leslie Estep. “ We are extremely lucky and happy to have her.”

Last semester Markel identified and worked with 31 students who had previously failed their Keystone math exam, some had failed multiple times.  With Markel’s help 14 of them passed the test on their very next try. She also assists with the seniors who haven’t passed the Keystones with their 100 required questions on Study Island, an online math practice program.

“I didn’t pass the Keystones three times but with Miss Markel’s help, I finally passed,” said sophomore Josh Maceno, “I go to her for help all the time, she’s great.”

Markel achieved this success by working with the students two or three times a week during their study halls or electives. They spend time together either one on one or in small groups of no more than five students.

“Sometimes its hard to work around student’s schedules,” said Markel, “We don’t want them to miss classes too much for tutoring, so we have to be creative with scheduling, but most of the students appreciate the help and are very cooperative.”

“Chelsey has been a huge asset to the math department,” said Tyrone math teacher and department chairperson Michele Marasco. “In addition to working with the students who need remediation for the Keystone Algebra 1 exam, she has also been able to work with students who need additional help with the material in their math class.   Students have had a great benefit from her help.”

Chelsey has been a huge asset to the math department…Students have had a great benefit from her help”

— Math Department Chair Michele Marasco