Free tutoring services from Charlotte nonprofits to play important role during remote learning

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Right now families across the Charlotte area are preparing for more remote learning this fall.

It’s a daunting prospect for some students who may already be struggling academically or socially.

Several nonprofits in our area offer free tutoring for low-income students and their services might be needed now more than ever.

Emily Gaffney, executive director of Heart Math Tutoring says as students move back into remote learning, they’ll need more individualized tutoring than ever. Staff at several CMS schools identify students in need of additional support in math and refer them to Heart Math Tutoring.

“Teachers are going to be strapped to have individual time with students, particularly in the virtual environment,” Gaffney said.

Tutors typically meet with students in the classroom, but now it will be via computers.

“Using a shared whiteboard they can move objects around on a shared screen, and also just holding objects like trains up to the camera to work on the hands-on aspect,” she said.

According to CMS, 70,000 students already have either an iPad or chromebook provided by their school at home.

They have also delivered 12,000 hot spots to students, with 4,000 more available this fall.

Local nonprofit Augustine Literacy Project is also switching to a virtual model to continue supporting students learning to read.

“The relationships between the tutors and students are really critical to the success and the ability to reach children,” executive director Alison Houser said.

They will continue to build those relationships through screens.

“If a child is not reading on grade level by third grade they’re four times more likely to leave without a diploma,” Houser said. “We always need more tutors. This year the effects are just compounded.”

None of this can happen if students do not have access to internet.

According to CMS back in May, 3,000 students had not had any contact with their teachers since schools closed in March.

WBTV is waiting on a response from CMS regarding how many students they are expecting a disconnect with this fall and their plans to lessen the digital divide.

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