Menlo Park volunteers provide summer online tutoring through All Students Matter

by Contributed Content on August 12, 2020

When Ravenswood City School District schools closed in mid-March, it might have also meant the end of the classroom tutoring program All Students Matter (ASM) which provides classroom support for TK-5 students throughout Ravenswood. Instead, a group of ASM volunteers moved quickly to develop new ways to tutor and mentor elementary school students using online tools, working with nearly 50 families to provide extra tutoring for their students in reading, writing and math.

Keri Tully (pictured top), a longtime ASM volunteer, was eager to continue tutoring her students. “I wasn’t ready to say goodbye in March, and I wanted to stay connected with the students as they finished the school year. My sessions with the students are the highlight of my week.” Keri joined her teacher’s Zoom classroom, working in a virtual breakout room 1-on-1 with assigned students. “I was able to continue helping students with their reading, using the same techniques I always do to build vocabulary and comprehension.”

Another Menlo Park resident, Kerrin Meinhard (pictured below), was also able to connect with her usual students this spring, continuing to build their reading skills. “One student had been reading a long chapter book with me when her school closed. Both of us were so happy to reconnect in the online classroom so we could finish the story together. In fact, she and I continue to read together this summer.”

Keri, Kerrin and nearly 40 other volunteers continued to tutor Ravenswood students this summer in a new program ASM developed together with the school district. Families requested a tutor and ASM matched students with volunteers. Being able to run a comprehensive pilot program this summer will enable the organization to design a new online tutoring program for the fall to support students who need it most.

ASM’s Executive Director Angie Holman was eager to find a way to effectively support students knowing that the switch to online classrooms would be difficult for many Ravenswood families.

“Having an at-home learning model can be challenging for students, families and teachers,” she said. “We are partnering closely with the school district to enhance the online classroom experience so that students can continue to build important academic skills. The teachers are the real heros and we are delighted to support them with an online program for students who can benefit from a tutor and additional personalized assistance.”

ASM volunteers will be back in the classrooms when it is deemed safe. In the meantime, online tutoring is proving effective and rewarding for both the students and volunteers. ASM’s goal is to offer excellent support to students, teachers and principals no matter what school will look like in the coming year.

To learn more about volunteering with or supporting ASM, please visit the organization’s website.

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