FREE REMOTE TUTORING BRIDGES COVID LEARNING GAP

 

4.20.2021

The Enterprise wrote a great story about the free remote tutoring program that Community Schools of Brockton launched last fall to help level the COVID learning gap.
 
See the link here: https://www.enterprisenews.com/story/news/education/2021/04/19/free-remote-tutoring-sees-success-brockton/7171617002/
 
 

Every night dozens of free remote tutors help bridge Brockton's COVID 'learning gap'

Darvence Chery
The Enterprise
 
BROCKTON — "I don't know how we are going to do it but we are going to do it," an optimistic Director of Community Schools Soraya de Barros told Brockton Public Schools Superintendent Michael Thomas.

Their conversation was about the possibility of launching a tutoring program in Brockton summer of 2020 at a community meeting brainstorming ideas to help students during the pandemic.

De Barros had the benefit of being months into the pandemic, in which Brockton Public Schools staff had already been trained in remote teaching technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Throw in the new registration software available through new online registration, a byproduct of the pandemic, the school system had everything they needed to launch the first ever remote tutoring program.

 

Research was also on her side as a Brown University study she viewed on education stated that "Tutoring—defined here as one-on-one or small-group instructional programming by teachers, paraprofessionals, volunteers or parents—is one of the most versatile and potentially transformative educational tools in use today."

As a result of the pandemic Brockton Public Schools launched and funded the Community Schools of Brockton Remote Tutoring Program, an afterschool tutoring program available to all students K-12.

With the help of de Barros, and Melissa Shepard, coordinator of the Extended Day Program and the new remote tutoring program, tutoring became accessible to everyone in Brockton Public Schools starting on Oct. 19, free of cost for students and parents.

 

Tutoring is available Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. remotely via Microsoft Teams, twice a week to students. Tutoring sessions are 35 minutes, giving tutors the flexibility to work with multiple students in one night.

The Community Schools Remote Tutoring Program offers English as a second language and math tutoring to all grades, as well as homework help for students grades 3-12.

Anywhere between 25-30 tutors are working with students on a nightly basis.

n total there have been between 50-60 tutors hired as a result of the pandemic, all of whom are current Brockton Public Schools employees.

Parents receive both text and phone call reminders about their appointments from BPS staff members.

After an initial trial phase, where students were randomly matched with tutors, parents were then given the option of choosing who tutors their children, which has proven to be "very successful" according to de Barros.

"One of our tutors told me 'I think this student books appointments just to talk to me'," added Shepard about the relationships built between tutors and students.

 

Kerry Olson, a Title I teacher at the Arnone School by day who works with students who need additional academic support, is a remote tutor at night and has been impressed with the program's accessibility and convenience.

"I love the fact that it's one-on-one instruction," said Olson on the tutoring program. "There's no downtime. The child is working for 35 minutes straight."

BROCKTON — "I don't know how we are going to do it but we are going to do it," an optimistic Director of Community Schools Soraya de Barros told Brockton Public Schools Superintendent Michael Thomas.

Their conversation was about the possibility of launching a tutoring program in Brockton summer of 2020 at a community meeting brainstorming ideas to help students during the pandemic.

De Barros had the benefit of being months into the pandemic, in which Brockton Public Schools staff had already been trained in remote teaching technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Throw in the new registration software available through new online registration, a byproduct of the pandemic, the school system had everything they needed to launch the first ever remote tutoring program.

An undated photo of the Brockton Public Schools administrative building on Crescent St.
 

Research was also on her side as a Brown University study she viewed on education stated that "Tutoring—defined here as one-on-one or small-group instructional programming by teachers, paraprofessionals, volunteers or parents—is one of the most versatile and potentially transformative educational tools in use today."

As a result of the pandemic Brockton Public Schools launched and funded the Community Schools of Brockton Remote Tutoring Program, an afterschool tutoring program available to all students K-12.

With the help of de Barros, and Melissa Shepard, coordinator of the Extended Day Program and the new remote tutoring program, tutoring became accessible to everyone in Brockton Public Schools starting on Oct. 19, free of cost for students and parents.

Melissa Shepard, Coordinator, Smart Start Extended Day, Brockton Pubic Schools, on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
 

Tutoring is available Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. remotely via Microsoft Teams, twice a week to students. Tutoring sessions are 35 minutes, giving tutors the flexibility to work with multiple students in one night.

The Community Schools Remote Tutoring Program offers English as a second language and math tutoring to all grades, as well as homework help for students grades 3-12.

Anywhere between 25-30 tutors are working with students on a nightly basis.

In total there have been between 50-60 tutors hired as a result of the pandemic, all of whom are current Brockton Public Schools employees.

Appointments are scheduled using the bookings program available to both students and parents to schedule appointments, free of charge, with students being limited to two tutoring appointments a week.

Parents receive both text and phone call reminders about their appointments from BPS staff members.

After an initial trial phase, where students were randomly matched with tutors, parents were then given the option of choosing who tutors their children, which has proven to be "very successful" according to de Barros.

"One of our tutors told me 'I think this student books appointments just to talk to me'," added Shepard about the relationships built between tutors and students.

Photo of Kerry Olson (left) on a Microsoft Teams call with Melissa Shepard (right) on April 13, before one of the Olson's tutoring appointments.
 

Kerry Olson, a Title I teacher at the Arnone School by day who works with students who need additional academic support, is a remote tutor at night and has been impressed with the program's accessibility and convenience.

"I love the fact that it's one-on-one instruction," said Olson on the tutoring program. "There's no downtime. The child is working for 35 minutes straight."

Tutors, because they are BPS employees, will sometimes have the benefit of working with students that they teach during the regular school day, something that has "helped to bridge the learning gap created by the pandemic," according to Olson.

Furthermore she appreciates the parent involvement, as the program allows for tutors to consult parents during the tutoring sessions, as well as the opportunity she gets to meet new students across all grades through the tutoring program.

"There are students I wouldn't have been able to meet outside of my school had it not been for remote tutoring," she said.

There are nearly 1,400 appointments made on a monthly basis K-12 in the year 2021, according to de Barros. There are 15,465 students registered within Brockton Public Schools.

"Literally and figuratively we had a dark winter and I think that tutoring provided a buzz, as far as the personal connection students needed," said Shepard about how popular remote tutoring became in the new year.

Remote tutoring will be offered until May 27 and will be monitored and re-evaluated as schools make the move to in-person learning.

Enterprise staff writer Darvence Chery can be reached at dchery@enterprisenews.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.


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