The Sarah M. Roach Tutoring Program:Private school students assist public school students through unique initiative


It all started as a conversation. Two years ago, Katy Illuminati, a kindergarten teacher at Sarah M. Roach Elementary School mentioned to fellow teacher Jason Adler, a Science teacher at

Mount Saint Joseph High School (MSJ) that it would be a wonderful idea if students at his school could tutor youngsters at her school. Sarah M. Roach Elementary is a Baltimore City Public

School located at 3434 Old Frederick Road, while Mount Saint Joseph is a Catholic college preparatory school for young men from 9th to 12th grade. Mount Saint Joseph is located just minutes

away on 4403 Frederick Avenue.

“I thought it would be great,” recalled Illuminati. “Sarah M. Roach and Mt. St.Joseph are only about two miles away from each other, but the schools are vastly different. I thought it would be a great learning experience for both sides.”

Adler moved forward with the suggestion, and with the assistance of Illuminati and others, the idea came to fruition. Every Thursday after school, students from Mount Saint Joseph High School

assist youngsters at the school in reading and other areas through the Sarah M. Roach Tutoring Program.

“I attended a private school,” said Illuminati.“I think it’s great for a private school to get involved, because oftentimes they don’t know what is going on outside of that particular school.”

Everett Jackson is a senior at Mount Saint Joseph High School. He serves as the Working Group chairperson of the Sarah M. Roach Tutoring Program for the National Honor Society at Mount Saint Joseph.

“This program creates a bond with the kids who may not get to see young positive role models,” said Everett. “For those of us who are not from the city, this program puts faces to the situation

involving the youth in the city, and opens our minds up. I don’t see this as a job. I see this as an opportunity to help the youth in Baltimore City and to have fun with them.”

Everett, 17, has worked with the program since it started. He says he will be attending Morgan State University in the fall on a full scholarship.

“I coordinate the car pools, the lesson planning, activities, and other things relative to the tutoring program,” he said “If anything comes up, I am the go-to person. I really enjoy working with the kids. This program has been great, and isa wonderful way to help the community.”

Aaron Johnson, a senior at Mount Saint Joseph is also a tutor.

This has been great,” said Aaron. “This is a neat way to help Baltimore. These youth are the future of our society, and this provides a nice way to give back and get them prepared.”

Gerard, a second grader at Sarah M. Roach Elementary School, is among the youngsters who are in the tutoring program.

“It’s fun,” said Gerard with a big smile. “I learn math, reading, and a lot of fun stuff.”

Jkahi, a nine-year-old student at the school, added, “I think it’s great. I like learning about triangles, reading, and the other activities that we do.”

The partnership initially was comprised of male students from both schools, but has since expanded to include females from Sarah M. Roach Elementary

School, who are tutored by females who attend Mount De Sales Academy located at 700 Academy Road in Catonsville. Mount de Sales Academy is an all-girls secondary school.