Past Secretary of Education and current EdTrust President John King recently shared an excellent idea with the country. To help kids struggling with learning while out of school during this nasty pandemic, King wants to start a national tutoring corps modeled after more famous programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. King’s idea is a worthy one, but why don’t we start small first and get quick wins early? Establishing a national tutoring corps will take a lot of effort across the country, and let’s face it, the country isn’t positioned to agree on much, including probably a national tutoring program. Starting neighborhood tutoring groups will be much easier and, in the end, have as great of impact over the long term as a national effort.
You might ask, how do I start a neighborhood tutoring corps? Well here’s a primer on doing just that:
Try to find families in the neighborhood interested in having their kids participate in a tutoring program. Interest will probably start with reading and math, but the tutoring corps could help young learners with pretty much any struggle they encounter, depending on the expertise of the neighborhood friends participating in the corps.
Once you identify the needs of your young learners, compile a list to share with folks in your neighborhood. This type of sharing can happen across social media. For example, my neighborhood sends out something called “Front Porch Forum” via email. “Front Porch Forum” is a virtual marketplace where people who need something and people who have something to give connect. “Front Porch Forum” isn’t 100% successful for either those who need or those who want to give, but most folks in my town are happy finding things they need or finding folks to give things to. A neighborhood tutoring corps could work in a similar way.
See how many of your neighborhood friends respond to your list of learning needs. These responders are your first tutors. If the learning needs list is longer than the responders, then you might need to reach out to folks in your neighborhood you know could help, but haven’t stepped up to the plate yet. I think all of us might be surprised at the wealth of talent living right around the corner or right up the stairs from where we live.
Start making a list of the neighborhood tutors volunteering, complete with dates and times they are available, their preferred method of contact, and any other information important to families accessing their service. Share this information with potential parents interested in accessing the neighborhood tutoring corps via social media outlets.
Take care of your neighborhood tutors. I don’t know if you need to pay them money, but definitely think of ways to make your neighborhood tutors feel special.
Track your progress. Pay attention to needed improvements. Celebrate your successes. Continue to recruit to the corps!
Matt and Dr. Scott stand ready to help you form and build your neighborhood tutoring corps. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or give us a call at 832-210-1200 (ext 1200).