‘R1SE’-ing To Academic Success
R1SE: Education and Recreation in Midland & Freeland
“I have a drive, I guess, to do more. Help more students, help more families. So this enables me, personally, to make a greater impact.”
“Let’s get after it. Let’s get you ready for tomorrow. Let’s help you understand things that maybe you didn’t understand in the classroom, set you up for success,” says Szafranski.
After spending years inside the classroom as a teacher… He started ‘R1SE‘ — an after school tutoring program– in Freeland and now Midland.
Szafranski explains, “We’re a tutoring facility, first and foremost, but I think that comes with a negative connotation. It’s like, oh the student struggles in so you kind of help them, no- like we tutor. But we do it in an entirely different way. I want to create an environment that still works for the student that likes a desk, and likes to sit for two hours at a time and study in a book. But I also want an environment that really helps to facilitate creativity, innovation, collaboration.”
It’s not just about the student alone– he really focuses on the family’s experience– as a whole.
“We always say we’re giving family time back. So they get to go home and have dinner, go to practice. Their are monday through friday becomes less about survival and more about actually living and enjoying their life,” says Szafranski.His homework was done, I didn’t have to think about it.
For Connor and Rochelle Leaman, R1SE eased the burden of schoolwork when life became tough.
Connor Leaman shares, “I started going to R1SE in eighth grade, after one of the worst years of my life. I had my dad die, I was really not doing well in school. I was getting E’s, D’s, missing assignments. I was just in a really bad place.”
“I knew my son could do better. I know I’m not good in math, so for them to do his math homework, and Mathia was a huge, huge weight off my shoulders. The transformation was immediate. By the end of the year he was so much more confident, and he found himself,” says Connor’s mother Rochelle Leaman.
R1se offers homework help, test prep, and help with projects– for the MacIntosh family, R1SE has influenced future plans.
“I’ve always been an a/b student, but now that I go to r1se, I’m an a/a- student. It’s really important for me to have good grades for high school. If I learn it earlier on to have good grades, then I’ll get scholarships in high school, and college is really expensive so that would be important,” says Haylee MacIntosh.
But here– playtime is also pretty important…
“You got a movie theater, we have what we believe is the best video game lounge in the entire state. We’ve got nintendo switch rooms, we’ve got infinity table rooms that bring classic board game realism to life. And we got a computer lab as well,” says Szafranski.
Ava MacIntosh says, “After you get your homework done, you have something to look forward to.”
He explains, “We help students to become good communicators, we teach students how to make friends, what a good friend is, how to communicate with friends so you can keep them. We’re going to help them academically, but then we’re also going to help them become better people too so that when they go out into the real world, they are the kids that everybody wants to be around.”
And clearly he’s doing something right…
Szafranski says, “The kids that come in, they are so fired up. They beg to come here. We literally have kids that cry when their parents come to pick them up.”