By Tina Jenkins Bell
BAPA School Liaison
Recent studies have shown, despite the valiant efforts of schools, teachers, and staff during the pandemic, many Chicago area students fell behind academically, particularly in math. Students primed for in-school learning since kindergarten were required to adjust the way they learned from in-person to remote interactions. For many, academic stress, excessive screen time, environmental distractions, anxiety, social isolation, trauma, and grief tilted their academic progress in negative directions. For some, the instabilities accompanying food and housing insecurity increased the negative impacts.
But there is good news. Experts believe tutoring will be key to helping students who experienced learning gaps or deficits, and even those students who did well, progress.
“Tutoring has been known to boost scores by 12 percentage points,” according to the collegeexpress.com article, “The Impact of Expert Tutoring on Academic Achievement.” Tutoring has been reported to increase the grades and scores for eight out of ten students, and, in 45 of 52 studies, tutored students outperform untutored students. That’s a rate of 90%.
Benefits of Tutoring
There are many benefits of tutoring. Tutoring offers a unique and individualized learning experience; increases good study habits; improves academic performance, retention, and personal growth; encourages higher level of thinking; improves self-esteem; helps students become independent learners and empowers students as learners.
CPS Tutor Corps
Area educators and organizations are aware of the challenges presented by learning remotely and will offer tutoring services for students in need. In a web article about their upcoming, on site tutoring services, CPS wrote, “We know COVID 19 has had a disproportionate impact on our students and school communities. One of the ways we’re lifting up those impacted is by launching a first-of-its-kind, equity-based academic initiative.”
CPS will train hundreds of Chicagoans to serve as literacy tutors in grades kindergarten through 5 and math tutors in grades 6 through 12. Tutors will receive paid training and work on site during the day at schools across the city, particularly on Chicago’s south and west sides. Tutoring services are set to start in fall.
BAPA Volunteer Tutors
In response to the pandemic, last year, BAPA initiated a volunteer tutor program to help school families whose children needed assistance. The approximately 12 volunteer tutors were able to help 15 families and approximately 20 students. Assistance in reading and math were the primary requests though some families sought help with languages, like Spanish and French.
The Volunteer Tutor Corps will continue during the 2021-22 school year, beginning Oct. 4. Tutors are available to help students in kindergarten through grade 12. BAPA also has a volunteer tutor who specializes in handwriting and motor skills and another tutor whose expertise is Spanish.
Paid Tutoring Services
Paid tutoring services are also available for school families. The going rate for tutoring can be $30 to $40 per hour, although rates can be higher based on the tutor, level of experience or agency’s services. Throughout the fall, BAPA will profile member tutoring services, but experts suggest screening and interviewing prospective tutors prior to hiring them.
A Bit of Advice
One prominent positive from the pandemic is the increase in parental engagement in their children’s daily learning processes. When engaging a tutor, whether paid or volunteer, parents should voice their expectations, set goals, and monitor progress. Additionally, when using off-site tutoring services, parents should make sure tutors have everything they need to guide and assist the student, such as syllabus or course overview, books, copies of work, and grade histories. Finally, parents and their students should commit to agreed-upon schedules. As it relates to tutor-student engagements, be early or be on time. Just do not be late (or absent).