Grateful for Tutors that are Changing the World

Meet Math Tutor- Grace Branger

Our one-on-one tutoring programs are volunteer led and truly life-changing. Today we want to shine a spotlight on one of our incredible math tutors, Grace Branger.

Grace is a Junior at UW-Madison and is a full-time student. She is studying Genetics with a certificate in disability rights and services.

This is Grace’s first time being a tutor!  She shared that she has ‘always been a helper’ with friends and classmates but never had the official tutor title.

Tutoring at GiGi’s Playhouse is the first time Grace has worked with an adult with different abilities. Grace was paired with adult participant, Thomas, this session.

“Tutoring has been so rewarding!”

Grace said that her time tutoring ‘has been so rewarding!’. Each week she has seen Thomas open up during their one hour together and is truly seeing his progress.  She can see the impact their tutoring sessions are making and the family sees it as well. Thomas is building crucial math skills that are helping him in every day life and at his job.


The thought of tutoring can be very overwhelming to someone that has never done it before. We make sure our tutors are fully trained and have all the resources they need to succeed.

Out tutors go through a total of 8 hours of training before starting a session. About half of their time is spent on self-led modules through our robust training website and half are with live meetings with our national office and local playhouse tutoring coordinators.

Grace said the on-line trainings laid a great base for gaining an understanding of how to tutor someone with Down syndrome. She learned how tutoring empowers the student and she learned about how people with Down syndrome learn best.

Tutors learn hands on math practices that are not typically taught in school and the in-person training at the Playhouse was helpful because she could see all the resources that were available for the program.

Our program uses something called ‘Purposeful Progressions’ that outline key areas to work on and in a specific order that give our students the most robust experience possible.  The progressions build on one another and are an easy way for our tutors to customize their tutoring lessons to their student.

Grace spends about 30 minutes a week planning for her tutoring session by utilizing the progress trackers and about 30 minutes making notes about the work she and Thomas did. In total, between planning, tutoring and notating, Grace spends about 2 hours a week on tutoring and said the support from our Math Coordinator has been very helpful.

“Grace is an amazing math tutor”

Our math coordinator, Anne Ernst,  said that “Grace is an amazing math tutor. She comes prepared by pre-planning her lessons every week but is also able to adapt her lessons to meet the needs of her student that day. She is a wonderful addition to GiGi’s!”  Our Site Director, Kelly Antonson, said “Grace is the gold standard of what a tutor should be. She utilizes all the resources given to her and brings enthusiasm to her student every week”.

Grace shared that ‘it is an honor working with GiGi’s” and wants everyone to know about it. She has seen that it’s a great place for tutoring and also a great place for families to connect.  By tutoring locally Grace feels a world wide connection because of the broad reach of our programming. She knows that she will be taking this experience with her throughout the next chapters of her life.

Thank you Grace! We love having you as an important member of our team.





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