QUEENS WEEKLY, AUGUST 23, 2020
Glendale education nonprofi t Excalibur
reopens for ‘COVID-19 friendly’ tutoring
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
The beginning of the school year is right
around the corner and Excalibur Reading
Program, a nonprofit tutoring organization
based in Glendale, has reopened for in-person
Excalibur, located at 80-17 78th Ave., has
been closed for in-person sessions since
March. After schools closed, they adjusted
to online tutoring and reduced some of their
fees for families.
But now that the city is slowly reopening
and school reopening plans start to take
shape, they are offering their services in-person
— but with some adjustments. They’ve
designed their programs and space for a
“COVID-19 friendly” environment.
They will be offering only two sessions
with two teachers and one student at a time,
with tables 8 feet apart.
All students, parents and teachers are
mandated to wear masks, wash hands and
make use of their table with hand sanitizers.
They are asking parents to provide a
notebook and pencils for their children so
that there is no sharing in the room between
students, but their teachers may also provide
Each teacher has a Chromebook to help
students go to their school’s websites to procure
assignments and aid the children in
their Google Classrooms or other online materials.
They will be able to print out assignments
They are also offering online or hybrid tutoring,
if parents want their teachers to work
with their children during school hours on
Zoom or Google Hangouts. If a student is in
need of internet support for after school, or
during online classes, their teachers can be
in the office to assist them.
Each session is $40 per hour and $25 per
half hour, according to their website. If interested,
parents are encouraged to call their
Angelica Harris, founder of Excalibur
and award-winning published author, said
the organization was struggling to make
ends meet during the months of lockdown, as
their revenue was cut severely but still had
rent and other bills to pay.
“After being closed for nearly four months,
revenue is very low. To be able to have the donations
to purchase these items helped us to
reopen sooner than we thought. Thanks to
so many generous people in the community,
we received donations of up to $500, and with
those funds we were able to purchase table
shields, hand sanitizers, masks and most
importantly, a CN520 Non-Contact Forehead
Thermometer,” said Harris. “Every day
when students come to their sessions, they
will be given a ‘WELLCHECK’ by their certified
teachers, before entering the room.”
Excalibur’s programs include creative
writing and business, blog and essay workshops,
pre-K classes, children’s readers theater,
Little Pages Book Club, teen and young
adult workshops, children’s and adult art
classes as well as mentoring programs.
The organization is also catering to students
who are having trouble with isolation,
as well as parents who need assistance guiding
their children through remote learning.
They have introduced a new Mental
Health program, led by their new high school
and college adviser Gaby Hatzopoulos and social
worker Andrea LoCascio.
“The pandemic has caused much strife
and confusion, and these two compassionate
women are here to help our youth and their
families with their much-needed mental
health needs,” Harris said.
Excalibur has a team of five teachers,
including Harris, who teaches creative writing;
LoCascio and James De Martini, who
teach English language arts; Lucy Molina,
who teaches ESL; and Thomas Schirling,
who teaches math.
Harris wishes her and her staff can be of
assistance in these extraordinary circumstances.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought
us so many challenges,” she said. “Thank
you again for your continued trust and support
of the Excalibur Reading Program. We
hope to help you with this transition period
of online teaching and tutoring and give to
you our very best attention to your children
For more information on Excalibur’s programs,
Photos by Angélica Acevedo
visit their website, e-mail excaliburreading@
gmail.com or call their office at
347-725-4218. The program is also accepting