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SLU Students Make Impact Through Summer Tutoring

07/20/2020

Whether by assisting middle school math teachers, teaching students to use technology in a new way, helping design a virtual tutoring program, or sharing their career aspirations, SLU students are impacting schools and organizations locally and across the state.

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Claire Long (photo by Katherine McLaughlin) 

Sister Thea Bowman School

Claire Long (Ed '20) spent her summer serving as a tutor at Sister Thea Bowman School in East St. Louis, working with rising 6th–9th grade students both one-on-one and in small groups to help them learn and review math skills. For the first time, this summer school program was held entirely online, and Long concluded that although it was a new type of teaching for her, the virtual program was both successful and enjoyable. She added that through the teaching experience, “I gained a nice relationship with the students that I worked closely with each day,” and that “overall, I found this to be a very rewarding experience and a wonderful opportunity to teach something out of my comfort zone. I would definitely recommend anyone who has an opportunity like this to take it because you never know where these experiences could lead you!”

La Salle Middle School

The School of Education also helped connect students from SLU’s tutoring program—Overground Railroad to Literacy—to La Salle Middle School, a charter school on the Near North Side. During the program, ten SLU students served as virtual tutors, meeting with La Salle students in a virtual classroom for attendance and introductions, and then hosting "break out" sessions in groups of one to three students per tutor, wherein students could get assistance from tutors to help finish up classroom assignments from the day or work on independent practice in Accelerated Math or Accelerated Reader, online remediation and extensions associated with STAR testing/Renaissance Learning. Also, the SLU tutors worked to teach students how to use their own technology to share assignments with the tutors for learning support. Jayne Howard—math coach, interventionist, and teacher at La Salle—stated that the SLU tutors are typically an important part of La Salle’s school day, and their help with this virtual programming served as a “continuation of that extra support.”

Dubois Learning Center

Another summer tutoring program that the SLU School of Education assisted with took place through the Dubois Learning Center (DLC), a community-based youth development organization in Kansas City. Through educational services and state-of-the-art technology, the Dubois Learning Center works to improve the academic performance of underserved communities by offering free tutorial services in reading, math, and science. Tamara Clark Skyes, their executive director, designed a two-week pilot virtual tutoring program with input from SLU. SLU went on to provide five tutors to work with nine rising 4th–6th grade students who were enrolled at the Dubois Learning Center. The SLU tutors supported the academic, social, and emotional health of the students over virtual sessions via Zoom. Skyes stated that after the success of this first experience with virtual tutoring, the Dubois Learning Center plans to “expand their offering to the full DLC community later this summer.”

St. Louis Internship Program

SLU students were also able to get involved and serve as tutors through a partnership with the St. Louis Internship Program (SLIP). SLIP is a college and career readiness program aimed at providing high school students in the St. Louis region with intensive employability skills training and a paid internship experience, coupled with various college access activities. SLIP identified several topics of interest to interns, and SLU tutors created lesson plans expanding on the topics. Several tutors led large group sessions with interns that included visual aids and time for Q&A. The interns in the program are tasked with completing a research project and enrolling in a college course as part of their summer internship, and SLU tutors provided rich information on research methods and note-taking strategies to support the interns in those efforts. In addition to academic enrichment, SLU tutors also shared and discussed their educational path and career aspirations, which helped to widen the student interns’ professional and educational aspirations.

Supporting the Community

Ben Smyth, Service Leadership Program Manager in the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, worked alongside the School of Education staff to help coordinate and design some of these tutoring programs. He stated, “now more than ever, it is important to leverage the resources of the University to support the greater community."

Developing online tutoring and mentoring opportunities is a win-win experience for both the tutor and the student receiving the tutoring and is one example of remaining adaptable during these challenging times.” 

Ben Smyth

Through these various partnerships and programs, SLU students had an opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with their communities while gaining valuable experience, connecting and working with the students. For more information about community programs, please contact School of Education Director of Community Engagement, Josh Goldman: josh.goldman.1@slu.edu