A guest post from Mia McKeown and Clea Caddell of Learn To Be.
Learning is a tough process, and it’s one made even more difficult with recent school shutdowns and remote learning stemming from the spread of COVID-19. Underserved communities, having already been held back by the American education system, have only been hurt further by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the need for support has been exacerbated for students who had already struggled with in-person learning prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn To Be is a non-profit that seeks to mitigate this inequity. By offering free, 1-on-1, online tutoring to students who need it most, Learn To Be has been working to make education accessible to everyone since 2008. The organization supports underserved students, as they strive to achieve their goals and pursue their passions and dreams, no matter their families’ income.
Students need help. They need support, encouragement, and to know that they are not alone. Whether it be catching up in basic math and reading, gaining skills such as time management and organization, or help with homework, students should not have to struggle alone. That is why Learn To Be’s services are even more vital in these times of change and difficulty. Learn To Be has seen an ~6x increase in monthly tutoring sessions in 2020. Both tutor and student applications have increased as students struggle to adapt to remote learning.
From Neeraj Kapoor, Executive Director of Learn To Be: “It’s been a really challenging time for millions of students around the nation. So many students were already struggling with in-person learning and this has just amplified that struggle. Not only has this made things more challenging for students, it has also increased the load for parents who were already doing so much. We are trying to do everything we can to support students during this very difficult time, so their learning does not stop and they can continue to move forward. Our community of tutors is more committed than ever to help these students and their families.” Learn To Be was concerned there would be an inundation of student applications without a similar increase in tutor applications to back them up. Instead, over 3,000 tutors have signed up to handle the influx of students needing support during remote learning.
Entirely virtual, tutoring sessions are flexible and accommodating, occurring anytime and anywhere. Sessions take place in an online classroom designed specifically for 1-on-1 tutoring. It’s equipped with a multi-user whiteboard, screen-share capabilities, and presentation software. With over 35,000 hours of tutoring to date, Learn To Be has helped over 3,000 families. Tutors and students across the United States get the opportunity to work together to address the students’ academic needs.
Unlike other educational services which offer subject-specific videos and asynchronous homework help, Learn To Be tutors focus on building scholar skills which contribute to continued success beyond one homework assignment or test. Also, Learn To Be tutors cater to the specific and unique needs of each student. Through 1-on-1 tutoring on Learn To Be, students see an average test score increase of 15.8% and an average GPA increase of 1.6. And, unlike other tutoring services which are often too costly for the students who need help the most, Learn To Be is completely free.
Learn To Be strives to bring equity to education, confidence to students, and consolation to parents and families, but they don’t do it alone. Learn To Be has been able to increase outreach and support through mutually beneficial partnerships. Consisting of fellow nonprofits, various foundations, and public schools, these partners have aided Learn To Be in their goal to reach as many families as possible by bringing in students and tutors.
One such partner recently said: “Our partnership with LTB has been amazing! In just a short time we have been able to engage over 300 students with tutoring. The LTB team made this seamless and easy. The platform is easy to use and any help I’ve needed has been given immediately. Our students love their tutors and can’t wait to meet with them! The tutors are eager to help not only their students but us as well! We’re so happy we decided to partner and know we will continue to grow together!”
Learn To Be is continuing to expand its partnerships and is always looking for new organizations to work with to bring free, 1-on-1, online tutoring to as many students as possible. Feel free to reach out to Learn To Be about partnering (https://learntobe.org/partnerships) or generally about tutoring (https://learntobe.org/).