By Gloria Murray
The COVID-19 pandemic touched everyone, no one person nor institution was exempt from this public health emergency. The effects on education and student learning will continue to reverberate for many years. As a result, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) aggressively sought innovative solutions to address the learning loss attributed to the closing of schools and the disruption of learning for Indiana students.
The bottom line is that a vast majority of Indiana students exhibited some degree of negative impact due to the pandemic. To tackle the problem, IDOE launched the Student Recovery Grant program.
IU Southeast is one of several Indiana University regional campuses to receive funding to support a Student Success Corp (SSC) program funded by the Student Recover Grant. The SSC program consists of IU Southeast education students and students from different disciplines across campus and community members, including two bus drivers, who tutor and mentor students in New Albany Floyd County Schools (NAFC).
Using tutoring and mentoring best practices, SSC tutors/mentors serve all students including special needs students, ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged students, and English learners. Work began in the fall of 2021 as school principals and counselors identified the students best served by SSC. However, when schools began the fall 2021 school year by limiting who could come into the buildings the program was not able to do face-to-face work until the spring semester.
Since the spring semester of 2022, the SSC program has served 125 students using 80 tutors/mentors including 67 from the School of Education and 13 hired to work with the students in NAFC schools. In total, over 700 hours of tutoring/mentoring have been completed to two middle schools, one high school, and three elementary schools, with another elementary school joining in April 2023.
The level of commitment and care the tutors/mentors have given to the children of NAFC is amazing as witnessed by them spending several hours each week working with students on academics and social-emotional learning. The tutor/mentors are required to write up their engagements with their students and have shared many rewarding moments. They feel strongly that they are making a difference. Comments from teachers and administrators also indicate that the SSC work is important and that the program is helping kids recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faculty interested in using SSC tutors/mentors as part of a required service learning assignment in their course next fall can contact Gloria Murray at email@example.com.