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SIU is looking for tutors for new statewide tutoring initiative to address learning loss

Students walk on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus.
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Students walk on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus.

Illinois is launching a statewide tutoring initiative to help K-12 students who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The initiative is looking for college students, retired teachers and community members to become paid tutors and work regularly with kids.

This program is a collaboration among multiple universities and school districts across Illinois. It is being led by Illinois State University, and two local universities are coordinating the effort in the St. Louis region. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently announced they were selected as partners.

“This is an opportunity for us to help bring together some additional support to those students that may not have been able to get to school if school was open or may not have had access to the internet or other resources,” said Christie McIntyre, the director of teacher education at the Carbondale campus.

The program will be funded by $25 million in federal pandemic aid money over two years. That will include the cost of paying tutors and training them.

“Federal relief funds are being used as part of the tutoring initiative to help students who experience disruptions to learning stay academically on track and to get the extra help they need in reading and math,” said Stephanie Bernoteit, executive deputy director with the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The state has identified school districts that were disproportionately affected by pandemic learning loss. The districts will select students who would benefit the most from one-on-one help and will also help decide what will be taught. In all, the state hopes to reach 8,500 students.

The plan is to provide “high impact” tutoring, in which tutors will either meet one-on-one with students or with small groups of up to three students. Students will receive at least three hours of tutoring per week for at least eight weeks, although some may receive tutoring for the entire semester.

Research has shown this model of tutoring is effective, McIntyre said.

“Because it's research based, if we're all doing a consistent process, then we're more likely to have the results we hope to achieve,” she added. “We're hoping to deploy about 400 tutors between the two institutions.”

Tutors will be paid $20 an hour for one-on-one tutoring and $30 an hour for small group tutoring, McIntyre said. Tutors will also be paid for the time they spend planning for their sessions.

“We're inviting college students to apply as tutors as well as community individuals who would really like to be part of this important work to help student learning in their school districts,” Bernoteit said.

People who are interested in becoming tutors can find more information at the Illinois State Board of Education’s website. There will also be information available on the SIU websites.

Follow Kate on Twitter: @Kate Grumke

Kate Grumke covers the environment, climate and agriculture for St. Louis Public Radio and Harvest Public Media.